— David Freddoso (@freddoso) April 24, 2014
Hold on, let me make this clear. Cover Oregon is no more. (more…)
Jason Altmire, new muckity-muck in Florida Blue (used to be Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida), had this to say about his company’s business under Obamacare in Florida:
Altmire said “most” Florida Blue consumers who signed up for exchange plans have paid their first month’s premium, which is required to activate a plan. But he said many consumers remain uneducated about the health law.
“A lot of folks,” he said, “thought it was going to be free.’’
The New York Times is getting a little nervous, based on its recent examination of people who have decided that Obamacare is not worth the price. I want to walk through this particular example, because it was about the only one that had any actual numbers involved:
Ms. Williams, who earns less than $40,000 a year at a small marketing firm in Seattle, said she did not want to hand over what little discretionary money she had after rent and other living expenses to an insurance company. She has been uninsured since moving a year ago from Ohio, where she had a job with health benefits.
She qualified for a subsidy to help buy coverage through Washington’s marketplace, but said that she still would have had to pay around $135 a month for the least expensive plan, with a $6,000 deductible that she said made it unfeasible.
OK. $135/month = $1,620 a year. After subsidies. That was Ms. Williams’ cheapest plan available, and it has a $6,000 deductible. Obamacare tax = $300 a year (1% of income over $10,000) for this year, will go up eventually to $750 a year. As long as Ms. Williams has less than ($1,620 + $6,000 – $300) , or $7,320 a year in medical expenses, it makes sense to her to not pay the tax. Even when the tax goes up to 2.5% she’ll still have to incur more than $6,870 a year in expenses before she would have been better off buying a plan. (more…)
OK, here’s the situation. There are three major elements to healthcare plan decisions:
OK this is something that should make the White House clear its schedule for the rest of the week.
Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday.
Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.
I’ve been waiting for Megan McArdle to cook off over the news that the administration just casually made it impossible to assess the effects of Obamacare on insurance rates; and hoo, boy, but she’s unhappy.
I’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded. It’s not that I am opposed to the changes: Everyone understands that the census reports probably overstate the true number of the uninsured, because the number they report is supposed to be “people who lacked insurance for the entire previous year,” but people tend to answer with their insurance status right now.
But why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years? The answers would seem to range from “total incompetence on the part of every level of this administration” to something worse.
There are a lot of people in the health care pundit business who are screaming about this piece of news right now: “The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.” Basically, the questions have been changed in a fashion that supposedly will make the census data collected more accurate, but will almost certainly bring in a result where the percentage of uninsured will be ‘officially’ deemed to be lower. As the New York Times (rather glumly*) had ‘officials’ put it: “it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.”
Funny how that works. (more…)
The video itself is of interest (short version: local Maryland supermarket won’t hire more people, thanks to Obamacare):
…but it’s this screen shot from the clip that makes me feel all warm, fuzzy, and productive:
Megan McArdle finished up her article on Vermont’s single-payer woes by pretty much saying that, but I already knew it anyway. The basic problem? It’s going to cost at least $1.6 billion a year (or about 59% of Vermont’s current annual budget)… and there’s no way to pay for it except via massive tax hikes. Megan notes that Vermont’s taxes aren’t actually high at all right now, and that implementing single-payer would immediately skyrocket that state’s rate to the highest in the country. And then she got puckish:
Now, you can argue that people should be glad to make this trade-off, not just for peace of mind, but because they will trade higher taxes for lower (no) insurance premiums. You can also argue that poor people in America should be laughing and dancing and singing all day because every one of them is economically better off than starving farmers in drought-ridden regions of Africa. Neither argument will do you much good, however, because that’s not how people think.
We are pretty much at the “marvelous cynicism” part of the Obama era arc at this point: the punditocracy has stopped taking the President seriously and has started to visibly not care if he likes the way that they talk about him. I mention this, not because Charles Krauthammer has ever been shy about knocking a Democrat, but because he is increasingly losing his status as a voice in the wilderness in that regard. Expect more people to be this casually dismissive in the future:
Well, isn’t that cozy.
Background: this is from a 2009 judgement by the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals on an appeal by tech firm Accenture alleging a most traditional conflict of interest in a job bid process (a process that Accenture lost, and a firm called ACS won): “According to Appellant, [then-Chief Information Officer for the Maryland Department of Human Resources] Ms. [Isabel] FitzGerald is married to a Mr. Paul FitzGerald who Accenture claims “is a Principal at the firm Deloitte, LLP, and ACS identified Deloitte as a subcontractor for ACS on this procurement.”” Turns out that the appeals court didn’t buy that argument. OK.
Now let us fast forward to 2014. The existing Maryland state exchange is collapsing, and the state is desperate to salvage what they can from the wreck: “…the board overseeing Maryland’s health exchange voted unanimously Tuesday to ask federal officials for their approval — and $40 million to $50 million more in funding — to hire Deloitte Consulting to replicate its work on the exchange in Connecticut.” And, yes, Mr. Fitzgerald is still at Deloitte. And where is Mrs. Fitzgerald? Still the MD DHR CIO?