Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’

24 Million Losing Health Insurance? Not Really.

Monday, June 12th, 2017

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), as The Washington Times noted, is “a public policy flop of epic proportions.”

It is costing much more and insuring far fewer Americans than projected, while adding a huge government bureaucracy to the healthcare system, which was heavily regulated even before the ACA. Even though every American must either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, many are choosing to pay the penalty instead. In spite of heavy subsidies, the number of Americans insured under the ACA is millions short of the number projected.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasted In February 2013 that 26 million Americans would be insured through the ACA by 2017. Instead, only 10 million Americans are insured through the ACA – in spite of government subsidies and penalties requiring enrollment.

Meanwhile, new research from the Health and Human Services Department shows that, on average, premiums in the individual market have more than doubled since 2013 in the 39 states where Obamacare exchanges are federally run.

In spite of sharply rising premiums, insurers are bailing on the ACA (aka Obamacare), because they are losing money on it. Blue CrossBlue Shield of Kansas City, for example, has just withdrawn its Obamacare plans for Kansas and Missouri, citing losses of $100 million. In many markets, Americans who use the federal exchanges to purchase insurance have only one insurer from which to purchase insurance. In some cases, insurers have withdrawn completely. (more…)

Obamacare Resuscitated

Monday, March 27th, 2017

“If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog.”

So said a cover of National Lampoon back in 1973. We’re reminded of the infamous cover when we reflect on the ignoble fate of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was meant to replace the widely disliked Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.National Lampoon

Republicans in Congress were faced with a similar choice last week. While the Republicans gained a majority based largely on the promise of overturning Obamacare, polls showed the AHCA was also unpopular. A Quinnipiac University poll found that only 17% of American voters approved of the AHCA, while 56% opposed it.

About one in a thousand voters knows what’s in the American Health Care Act, but given media propaganda about Americans being left to die without government-subsidized health insurance, it’s understandable why the act was unpopular.

It didn’t help that the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the proposed legislation would result in 24 million Americans lacking health insurance by 2026 (note: the CBO also predicted that, thanks to Obamacare, the individual market would enroll 26 million by this year. Instead, enrollment is just 10 million). (more…)

Boomer Budget Busters

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

In our last post, we demonstrated that baby boomers will not be inheriting the trillions that experts predicted would create the wealthiest generation of retirees in history.

Even worse, boomers face enormous expenses, even without considering the potential cost of healthcare reform,   

The U.S. Census Bureau says there are more than 77 million baby boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.  By 2030 all boomers will be over 65 and will represent an estimated 20 percent of the population.

The addition of that many retirees is bound to put a strain on both the Social Security system and Medicare, not to mention the long-term care industry.  And that strain will be exacerbated if boomers live longer than previous generations, as expected.

Long-term care.  Consider the cost of long-term care, for starters.  Many of today’s boomers have parents receiving long-term care and it’s costing, on average, $72,270 a year, based on national statistics from the 2009 MetLife’s Mature Market Institute.  Long-term care is not covered by health insurance, Medicare or any other government program, so most baby boomers will have to use their personal savings to pay for long-term care.

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information estimates that 70% of people over age 65 today will need long-term care services.  If baby boomers live longer that today’s seniors, the percentage needing long-term care may be even higher.

Social Security.  Social Security is a pay-as-you go system, meaning that the money you have been paying into the system throughout your working life is paying for someone else’s retirement.

When boomers retire, a greater percentage of the population with be retired and a smaller percentage will be working.  That means fewer people will be paying to fund Social Security for a much larger population of retirees.

In addition, when people live longer, they collect Social Security for a longer period and that puts further pressure on the system.  When Social Security was created, retirement typically lasted only a few years.  Today, a person may live for 20 years or more during retirement.

In 1950, there were 16 workers to support each Social Security beneficiary.  Today, only 3.3 workers are supporting payments for each retiree so, not surprisingly, the Social Security tax is 70 percent higher than it was in the 1950s.  The Social Security Administration projects that the ratio will drop to 2.2 workers per retiree by 2025 and to 1.8 workers per retiree by 2070.

Medicare.  Medicare is “headed for a financial abyss,” according to The New York Times, which notes that the trust fund that pays hospital bills will likely run out of money by 2019, “leaving Medicare to limp along with payroll tax collections that would cover only 78 percent of estimated hospital expenditures.”

The Times adds that the trust funds that pay for doctors’ services and prescription drugs is also face rising costs that will drive up premiums and require more funding from general tax revenues.

Will healthcare reform solve this problem?  Don’t count on it.  To keep the overall cover of reform in the $1 trillion range, Congress is proposing a reduction in Medicare funding by up to $500 billion over the next 10 years – just as boomers are retiring and signing on for Medicare coverage.