Tag: Health Insurance

SCOTUS Isn’t Our Only Option; Pray, Witness, and Starve the Beast

 

The recent leak that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade has injected a wave of hope for pro-lifers across the country. It is almost surreal for those of us who have long supported the culture of life through prayer, financial support, and personal witness. But regardless of the legal outcomes, Christians have another tool in our boxes to support life: defunding the abortion industry by taking our hard-earned health care dollars elsewhere.

Over the past few decades, forces have worked to move abortion from a tragic occurrence to a health insurance line item many unwillingly support through premiums. Word gymnastics and vague, euphemistic language have blurred the procedures included in standard health insurance plans. But the reality is different: if we have health insurance, we’re involuntarily funding the abortion procedures that run counter to a culture of life and Christian Biblical values.

Many of us have felt trapped in a Catch-22, with what we thought were our only options for healthcare. We’ve looked to the law — which certainly requires an admirable degree of faith — to right the wrong. However, as we have clearly seen, many in office have placed little to no concern on what are considered dated moral values, let alone simple and affordable healthcare options. Eight years ago, we realized that legal protections don’t have to be our only option to protect the lives of the unborn.

My Medicare For All Question

 

Having watched the Democratic debates a few weeks ago, there is one thing I cannot understand. There was a lot of talk about Medicare For All, and most of the candidates want some version of this. Although I disagree with people who want MFA, I can understand the motivation for it. A low-income Democrat – or even Republican – might say, “If the plan necessitates an approximate doubling of federal income taxes and I’m currently only paying $2500 a year in said taxes, who cares if those taxes double? I’ll be paying an extra $2500 a year, but saving $5-12K per year by not having to buy health insurance. Yeah, it stinks for the people who are already paying $100K in income tax and will see that double, but that’s not my problem.” If they are a hardcore leftist, they may see that as a feature, not a bug.

I don’t condone this kind of selfishness, but I understand that a lot of people will be motivated by it. Here’s what I don’t understand. Why do politicians like Bernie Sanders and Bill DeBlasio insist that we also outlaw private insurance? What harm would be done to the public if a small percentage of Americans decided that they want to keep and pay for their current health insurance policies? Either way, they’re still paying the taxes for MFA. And if they are using private insurance they’re not costing the government any money at all, like those who are signed up for MFA would be. I should think that such people would be applauded.

Member Post

 

For those unfortunate enough to be “covered”* by an ACA insurance plan, paying cash at an out-of-network practice, apparently, constitutes an act of fraud. Never mind that a thousand financial-planning websites advocate exactly this practice. No, it’s fraud. Evil. Contemptible. Horrible. Hideous. A family member of mine learned this great, undeniable truth recently, after she […]

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On this AEI Events Podcast, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich discuss their proposal to stabilize the individual insurance market and to make a series of other health reforms with Vox’s Sarah Kliff. The two governors stressed the importance of stabilizing the individual insurance market in the near term and maintaining a bipartisan approach. They spoke of the need for compromise as the health care debate moves forward.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed how the health insurance market works, making coverage available to everyone regardless of their health status. This year’s premium increase and the departure of insurers from some local markets have raised concerns that those markets are unstable. Uncertainty about the federal government’s commitment to promoting this market and paying insurers for new cost-sharing reductions required by the ACA has created new concerns for 2018.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have good news from Wall Street: stocks are soaring, regardless of the chaos in Washington.  Transcripts of President Trump’s January phone calls to the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to the press this week, and Jim and Greg react both to Trump’s comments and the blatant leaking and publishing of classified information. And they have little sympathy for health insurance companies who are forced to bail on the Obamacare exchanges after losing huge amounts of money, but the vanishing coverage is leaving many Americans in a terrible position while Congress accomplishes nothing.

Opioid Crisis! Alarm! Panic!

 

The opioid crisis has struck America. I know, because my health insurance has notified me of such. It’s Cigna’s “goal to offer access to coverage for safe, effective and affordable medications.” They want me to know that starting July 1st, they will restrict my coverage to amounts that they consider to be safe.

I was shocked, just shocked, to see that “accidental opioid overdoses reportedly kill more people than car accidents.”

It’s Time to Uncouple Health Insurance from Employment

 

It’s a little-known fact in the great outside world — although probably widely known among Ricochet readers — that employer-paid health insurance is an artifact of the Roosevelt administration.

When employers were prevented by law from raising their employees’ salaries, they compensated by offering benefits, such as health insurance, to make it more desirable to stay on as employees.

This Isn’t the Obamacare Repeal You’re Looking for

 

After years of dawdling, we finally have an “official” rough draft by Republican House leaders for repealing and replacing Obamacare. I thought I’d share my take (I work in regulatory affairs for the pharmaceutical industry) — especially since there seemed to be a fair deal of uncertainty among Ricochet members about what this bill really means. Instead of getting into too many nitty gritty details, I’ll use some broad brushstrokes to illustrate my opinion.

As the title of this post says, this bill is definitely not what most conservatives probably have in mind when they imagine “repeal” of Obamacare. Now technically, that was never the intention: because of the filibuster, Congressional Republicans always planned on using the reconciliation process to eliminate specific crucial, budget-related provisions of Obamacare. And since the law resembles something between a Jenga tower and a Rube Goldberg machine, this strategy should eliminate enough key pillars to render the rest of the law unsustainable or irrelevant. So did Congress succeed?

Member Post

 

With President Trump and Congress gearing up to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a more market-driven alternative, we thought it’d be useful to revisit all the reasons why the law has failed — and how these problems can fixed with better, conservative and market friendly and consumer driven options. 1. It […]

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Richard Epstein looks at recent setbacks to Obamacare — including the implosion of state exchanges — and describes what Congressional Republicans can do to reform the system without compounding uncertainty.

Richard Epstein breaks down the complicated path to replacing Obamacare without destabilizing America’s healthcare system.

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Why Isn’t Obamacare Working? An examination of the recent Health & Human Services brief reveals soaring costs, fewer choices for consumers, and no solution in sight. Health Insurance Premiums Rise, Insurers Quit The White House released a brief stating that health insurance premiums for states using the federal HealthCare.gov exchange for “Obamacare” plans will increase […]

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“It doesn’t matter what your card says. We’re not taking patients.” Or the Joys of Obamacare, Part 320,349

 

Today, I finally decided I was low enough on my standard medications for my chronic illnesses that I would finally contact that new doctor I signed up for in August. It didn’t take effect until September 1st. See, I had to fire my last internist. After a (literal) 5 minute appointment with the man for my yearly evaluation, I was told that he was very busy, one of my other specialists could do my labs and investigate any further issues (that being every issue, since he did nothing). That was the extent of the appointment.  After he rushed out, I was nearly in tears which does take quite a lot for me these days.

 

Rational Responses to an Irrational System

 

Kathleen_Sebelius_Secretary_of_Health_and_Human_Services_nominationObamaCare is not proving to be the boon insurance companies expected (I know, I know; the poor dears). Via Megan McArdle, one of the many causes is that a number of health providers have figured out some very clever ways to game the system:

This weekend brought a new suggestion across my desk. At Forbes, Bruce Japsen writes that insurers think providers are funding nonprofits to pay Obamacare premiums for high-cost Medicaid patients, thus sticking insurers with a lot of big bills for a lot of very sick patients.

Why would they do this, you may be asking yourself? Because Medicaid reimbursements are extremely low. If you have a patient who is consuming tens of thousands of dollars a year worth of care, reimbursed at the rock-bottom rates that Medicaid permits, then it may well make financial sense for you to pay the premiums to switch that patient onto private insurance, where your services will be reimbursed at much higher rates. Since insurers are no longer allowed to charge sick people more for insurance, the insurers have to take them — and then pay their enormous bills. And since, needless to say, this only makes financial sense for patients who are extremely sick, that will have the effect of skewing the Obamacare risk pool in a very expensive direction.

End the Obamacare Prohibition

 
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“Pssst… hey, lady! You wanna plan with a moderate deductible?”

When the government tries to ban a product people want, they’ll often go to great lengths to get it. That’s true for morally dubious products like drugs, but it’s also true for … short-term, selective, limited, family health insurance plans. Via the WSJ, more and more people are exploiting loopholes in Obamacare — and risking the tax penalties for doing so — to purchase exactly the kind of policies that the ACA promised to do away with:

A Health Care Story

 

shutterstock_136718327A couple of years ago, I had a sebacious cyst on my back. It was relatively small because it drained freely, but my wife was disgusted and ordered me to have our doctor remove it. At the time, I was on my company’s PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) health insurance, so I simply had the procedure done, paid my co-pay, and went about my business. I subsequently received an explanation of benefits in the mail some time later describing the amount paid by insurance, the cost of lab work done to examine the cyst afterward, and some other information regarding deductible expenditures.

Well, as sometimes happens, the doctor failed to get the root of the cyst and had sealed up the drain. So, a couple of years later, what was formerly a tiny hole was now a bulbous mass on my lower back which was steadily growing. Thus, I made an appointment at the general surgeon’s office for a routine cystectomy.

In the intervening years, my wife and I decided to switch our insurance coverage from a PPO to a HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) with a HSA (Health Savings Account). Under this system, my company provides $1500/yr to our HSA and we benefit from considerably lower premiums and the opportunity to save for future health care tax-free. We did this because we viewed it as an opportunity to save for our future rather than simply washing our premium money down the drain from now until eternity.

No, Congress is Not a Small Business

 

shutterstock_52991284Was Barack Obama worried that if legislators had to live under Obamacare they might be more sympathetic to the law’s critics? Many believe that’s exactly why the President administratively arranged a special waiver for Congress. Their “waiver” contravenes unambiguous language in the Affordable Care Act that defines Congressional participation. But how do you administer such a patently illegal exemption? Through the friendly DC Small Business Exchange of course.

Congress must be the biggest “small business” ever served by the DC Small Business ObamaCare Exchange. The application was signed by someone from the Senate and someone else in the House (their names have been redacted) and the fact that they each swore (upon penalty of perjury) that each body has only 45 employees – since 50 is the legal maximum – is being studiously ignored by all involved. (Scroll down here to see the redacted documents received by Judicial Watch from their FOIA request.)

Apparently, giving them a special waiver that goes through a small business exchange is just “small potatoes” as far as the Administration and legislators are concerned. In fact, Rand Paul (!) recently led four other Republican Senators in opposing a Senate committee’s subpoena to uncover who actually signed the perjured application. They joined together with nine Democrats so that Small Business Committee chairman Senator David Vitter’s motion to uncover the signers failed.

Member Post

 

On Tuesday March 24 I went to my ophthalmologist for my yearly eye exam. (My Dad lost sight in one eye because his optometrist failed to diagnose his glaucoma, so given that family history, I go to an ophthalmologist from Will’s Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.) I write this because when I approached the counter to […]

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