The Not Good Enough Legacy

Here are some stats regarding Obamacare’s impact on our poor, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

More than one in three of taxed [via the individual mandate penalty] households earned less than $25,000, which is roughly the federal poverty line for a family of four.

And

More than 75% of penalized households made less than $50,000 and nine in 10 earned less than $75,000.

And

Fewer families paid the tax in 2015 than in 2014, yet government revenues increased to more than $3 billion from about $1.7 billion, as the financial punishment for lacking coverage increased.

Some Thoughts on Graham-Cassidy

These are…triggered…by Thursday’s Wall Street Journal piece on how the Graham-Cassidy Plan Would Change Health Coverage.

The Congressional Budget Office has said that, without a rule requiring insurers to charge all customers comparable premiums, health plans could become prohibitively expensive for some people with pre-existing conditions.

The plans wouldn’t be insurance plans, either, since the premiums wouldn’t have anything to do with the risk being transferred.  The plans would be welfare plans.

Separately, states could also waive a requirement that insurers provide a set of medical benefits like mental-health services and prescription-drug coverage. If those benefits aren’t required, people with costly medical conditions could have difficulty buying insurance with the relevant services or medications.

Medicare for All

Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) is beating that drum, again, and has support from some Progressive-Democratic Party Senators.

The health proposal, dubbed Medicare for all, would offer the same suite of medical benefits required for some insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act and eliminate most out-of-pocket costs. Mr Sanders argues that although taxes would likely rise to support the new system, families would save money by no longer needing to purchase health coverage. The government, he says, could also secure lower prices for medical services.

Republicans and Obamacare

Too many now are begging for surrender on repeal and replace.

[F]ew congressional Republicans have signaled they are ready to let the health-care market deteriorate while their constituents are still battling higher premiums and fewer insurers to choose from on the individual marketplace.

This means those Republicans are signaling that they don’t have the stomach to repeal Obamacare at all, which would be the ultimate deterioration of it.

This is a betrayal of their constituents along two dimensions: the cynical destruction of their promise to repeal and replace, and their decision to continue inflicting Obamacare with its steadily increasing premiums and fewer insurers to choose from on their constituents.

The VA Fails Again

This time it’s the Marion, IL, Veterans Administration clinic.

In 1971 Kirby Williams went to Vietnam as a US Army draftee and worked as a finance clerk. In 2010 he went to a Veterans Affairs clinic in southern Illinois where a radiologist took a scan of his kidneys.

Unfortunately, the radiologist missed a 2- to 3-centimeter mass in one of his kidneys, and by last December that mass had grown to between 7 and 8 centimeters. Now the 66-year-old has, at most, two to five years to live.

Williams isn’t the only victim.

Human Gene-Splicing

Some scientists have successfully spliced some genes into a human embryo to correct a mutation that causes heart disease, proving the possibilities open to us and our health (and potentially eliminating health coverage provision as a Progressive-Democrat tool of welfare entrapment [/snark]).

Experts noted that the newly successful process could cure more than 10,000 genetic diseases, including some types of cancer and early-onset Alzheimer’s, sickle cell anemia, and cystic fibrosis.

“We have to be very delicate with how we use this because it’s very, very powerful,” Alice Benjamin, a clinical nurse specialist said on Fox & Friends.

Collapsing Obamacare

These data are from the Kaiser Family Foundation.  There was such hope by the health care coverage providers at the start; then the realities of the “market” place hit, and hit hard.  Following the early expansion of coverage providers into ObamaMart, the drop-off in companies between 2016 and 2017, and the resulting collapse of choice—in too many counties, even of any availability at all—is stark.  It’s expected to get worse in 2018 and 2019, too.

The State-by-State drop off is presented in the table below, constructed from KFF‘s table at the link.  The average drop-off across all States is nearly 23%.

Rule of Law

The DC Circuit Court stacked by President Barack Obama (D) seems to be iffy on the thing.  In an appeal concerning whether the monies the Federal government pays to health care plan providers as subsidies so the plan providers will hold down premiums and deductibles can actually be paid—the funds never were appropriated by Congress, so the payments aren’t legitimate, ruled the trial court—the Circuit Court ruled in part:

The States have shown a substantial risk that an injunction requiring termination of the payments at issue here…would lead directly and imminently to an increase in insurance prices, which in turn will increase the number of uninsured individuals for whom the States will have to provide health care[.]

A Bit More on Health Care Coverage

Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) is worried about health care plan availability to our poor, which she thinks would be endangered were President Donald Trump to act on his thoughts regarding cutting off the funds the Feds pay to health coverage plan providers to get them to charge (artificially) lower deductibles and copays from the poor.

It really would be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens if those payments were cut off. They’re paid to the insurance companies, but the people that they benefit are people who make between 100% and 250% of the poverty rate.

Obamacare and Choice

There are 3,142 counties and equivalents (Louisiana has parishes, Alaska has boroughs, three States each have an independent city, Virginia has 38 of them, and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations does things entirely differently) in the US.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects that 40 of those counties will have no health care coverage plan providers at all in 2018, and 1,332 of those counties—over 40% of them—will have only one such provider.