Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

03 July 2016

ObamaCare Continues to Lose Altitude with Crash Inevitable

The biggest problem with ObamaCare is the loss of the fundamental ownership of your own mind and body. ObamaCare is primarily a declaration that no one has individual rights. According to the ObamaCare philosophy one is nothing but an infinitesimal part of the Collective. Some persons in the Collective did not have health insurance or had health insurance that was not approved by the Regressive Elitists who controlled the government with a claim as benevolent caretakers for the unwashed masses  such as you and me.  That claim bears a great similarity to that of the aristocracy of medieval times to the Divine Right of Kings and Aristocrats justified by their supposed service to the People.

ObamaCare caused millions of Americans to lose the insurance they were happy with.  They were forced to pay higher premiums, higher deductibles, travel greater distances, and accept lower quality health care than they previously had. A recent Mercatus Center study reveals that qualified individual health plans had claims to premium income ratios of 1.10 in 2014, while non-qualified individual health plans had claims to premium income ratios of 0.83.  The group qualified health insurance claims to income ratio was 0.82.  To cover the cost of claims, individual qualified health insurance plans would have to have had premiums about 30% higher than they were.  Many insurers have stopped offering ObamaCare qualifying individual health insurance plans in many states due to these unsustainable losses.  Those who have continued to offer plans have done so with some combination of increased premiums, increased deductibles, and narrower and narrower networks of providers.  In many areas of the country, patients have to travel much greater distances for the limited health care their health insurance provides.

The chart above is from a Kaiser Family Foundation report of November 2015.  The average percentage of uninsured less than the age of 65 in the pre-recession years 2000 to 2007 is 16.5%.  The 2014 uninsured rate for the non-elderly population, including illegal aliens, has been reported to be down based on interviews.  In January 2014, a Gallup poll found that 16.1% were uninsured.  In September 2014, the New York Times reported that the number of uninsured fell by 8% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 2013, which would make the percentage of uninsured about 15.4% or only 1.1% less than the pre-recession average for 2000 through 2007. A CDC study based on interviews from January to September of 2014, claimed the nonelderly uninsured rate was 13.3%.  The government has a history of exaggerating the insured rate of coverage since ObamaCare was passed and people now have reason to fear telling a government agent that they do not have qualified health insurance, so the federal interview technique may be inclined to return a low value for the uninsured. In addition, having been forced to sign-up for health insurance many do not want and do not think they can afford, many do not actually pay their insurance premiums.  The only reliable way to determine how many people are insured is after the year is over and the insurance companies report on how many they had insured, but such data does not yet seem to be available.  ObamaCare supporters often like to attribute the decrease in the uninsured due to the glacially slow recovery from the Great Recession to ObamaCare, so this reference to the fairly stable uninsured rate prior to the recession is important if one is not to overstate the effect of ObamaCare on reducing the percentage of uninsured.

Many of the newly insured are actually those wealthy enough that they had very reasonably self-insured themselves and their loved ones, but are now forced by ObamaCare tax penalties to buy the insurance they did not need.  The very small reduction in the uninsured was also accomplished in large part because the rates being charged in 2014 were much too low and unsustainable.  Premium rates went up dramatically in 2015 and again in 2016, and will go up dramatically again in 2017, even as deductibles have continued to rise for many and health insurance choices have greatly diminished.  Some large insurers in Georgia are planning 65% premium increases in 2017, while some in Pennsylvania plan increases of 38%, some in New Mexico 32%, and some in Oregon 30%.

That small 2014 decrease in the uninsured rate will not be maintained. Young and healthy people cannot continue to subsidize less healthy people by taking on ever-rising insurance premiums they cannot afford even as they cannot benefit from the insurance for many of their health needs because they have insufficient money left to also pay the ever-increasing deductibles.   Even in 2014, the young and healthy were failing to provide the support to ObamaCare that it critically needed and their rapidly rising health insurance costs will inevitably result in more and more healthy people choosing the ObamaCare tax penalty over qualified health insurance.  Meanwhile, many insurance companies are trying to sue the government to make the government cover their losses.  The only way these insurers are likely to be reimbursed their losses is if the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.

ObamaCare was always insane and unsustainable, as programs tend to be that ignore the essential fact of the individuality of humans and their sovereign individual rights.  Just as the aristocracy of Medieval times failed most of the people most of the time, so are the Regressive Elitists of our time failing most of the people most of the time.  It is impossible for self-proclaimed elitists to competently manage the lives of those they do not even know.  Just as the aristocracy of Great Britain failed to manage the American colonies competently in the 1760s and 1770s, our hone-grown aristocratic elitists of the Obama era cannot manage the health needs or anything else essential to the American individual of today.  A real Declaration of Independence from a government dominated by a self-proclaimed aristocratic elite and their chosen special interests, such as the health insurance companies who in 2009 backed ObamaCare, is long overdue in the struggle for the interests of the individual and his much maligned sovereign rights.


Merjet said...

Several sources report that the uninsured rate has dropped significantly since 2013 to about 10%. How solid the data is is questionable.
Another aspect - probably relevant - that the Forbes article doesn't mention is the so-called "shared responsibility" payments. More literally, these are penalties for not having minimum essential coverage. The penalties only started in 2014 and were phased in. The maximum individual penalty for an adult was $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016. Penalties may also apply to employers of such individuals.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

The penalties are a bit more complex:

2014: Greater of 1% of income or $95/adult and $47.50/child, family max. of $285 unless 1% of income is greater.

2015: Greater of 2% of income or $325/adult and ?/child, family max. of ? unless 2% of income is greater.

2016: Greater of 2.5% of income or $695/adult and ?/child, family max. of $2085 unless 2.5% of income is greater.

The percentage penalty tax will certainly prevent most wealthy people from being self-insured, which many families in America actually could afford to be prior to the penalty tax. There are a few million Americans who could very reasonably simply pay for their own medical care without health insurance.

With a median family income of $53,657 in 2014, the 1% penalty tax might be $537, though I expect normal exemptions and deductions apply before the 1% is applied. The 2.5% penalty tax this year will make the penalty much worse.

I have heard that more recent numbers indicate more people have acquired health insurance, but the Obama administration has had such a record of exaggerating these numbers that I do not know what we can believe. Also, fewer people in polls will want to be honest about their insurance situation, since it is effectively a crime to be punished if you do not have ObamaCare qualified insurance. People who are being forced to buy expensive insurance they do not want, or cannot afford to use due to high deductibles, or who have to travel such long distances for service that they will not do so, are inclined to stop making their premium payments. You cannot just count the numbers of people who signed up for insurance on an exchange.