Saturday, November 02, 2013

How's HOPE Working for You Now?

"If you like your health insurance plan, then you can keep
your plan.  If you like your doctor: you'll be able 
to keep your doctor."

That "Hope" thing not working so well for you these days? Lucky for you, your opportunity to enact meaningful change is rapidly up & coming: this Tuesday, Nov. 5th, at your nearby polling station: Your VOTE has the potential to usher in some serious> CHANGE!! Out with the old, ineffective, non-representative, and in with the new.  Time to restore true accountability in government once again, I think.

Personally, I'm hoping to see  a lot of INFORMED voters at U.S. polling stations this upcoming Tuesday!*

==> For me "Change" is going to equal a VOTE FOR MANY REPUBLICANS.<==
(*Unfortunately, the mid-term elections for Congressional seats won't be until Nov. 2014.  That's when REAL CHANGE can occur!)

You know, if nothing else comes out this entire healthcare law fiasco:  I would hope that our lawmakers have learned never again to pass any law without first knowing "what is in the law" (i.e., the important details of the law --like the fact that millions of Americans would likely lose their existing healthcare insurance coverage under a new set of bogus* health insurance standards).  Furthermore, it is my sincerest hope that the voting citizens of this nation will from this point moving forward hold their congressmen (and women) to the latter standard in the future.  That is to say if you don't know the details of what's going to be in a proposed law, then you (members of Congress) have no business whatsoever to move forward with said law's passing.  This has got to be one of most basic, common-sense tenants of elective representation.

It will be interesting to see if the number of people, previously "uninsured", who actually opt to sign up for healthcare plans on the Obama-care exchanges --as opposed to paying the nominal penalty for declining insurance coverage-- actually winds up coming close to the number of people who previously had affordable coverage prior to ACHA and wind up losing their coverage.  Will also be interesting to see how rapidly the quality of healthcare in America declines in response to the large influx into a system ill-equipped to handle this influx. Socialized medicine here we come?
[* Like a 60 year-old woman needs maternity coverage? Or even more outrageous: a 60 year-old man's individual policy  --or any man for that matter-- needs maternity coverage? And people with grown or no children need pediatric coverage? We're not all stupid you know:  these ridiculous standards had to be 'added to the law' via back channels, in 2010, after passage of the initial AHCA healthcare law in order to create (thereby forcing insurance companies which offered policies that did not include the latter types of coverage to cancel said policies for being supposedly 'sub-standard') the large and varied exchange pool needed in order to make this AHCA system capable of having any real chance of working.  The upgrade to these 'new standards' was deemed necessary by the administration so that insurers would be forced to cancel existing policies, thereby forcing more people (i.e., young and healthy individuals, with stream-lined, low-cost existing coverage plans) into the exchanges for Obama-care plans.  The latter would, in theory, work to keep the overall costs down for everyone participating in the exchange pools.  Also keep in mind, if an insurer made any change to an existing plan after the 2010 passage of AHCA (even a change as simple as a $5.00 increase in the required patient co-payment for medical services) then that plan would be required to be cancelled per the CMS directive as well.  The problem is these 'new standards' were not implemented by means of standard congressional channels.  They were written and implemented after the initial law was passed by Congress (late in 2010), by means CMS directives written by the Health and Human Services Secretary.  Furthermore, the information regarding the grounds for health insurance policy terminations was not given directly to most members of Congress or to the general public until now: during the implementation of the actual 'mandated' phase of the law --in October 2013, as the 'individual mandate', with the 'employer mandate' implementation phase to begin in October 2014 due an executive order delay issued by President Obama.  

The above is why we have the present chaos unraveling with respect to 5 million++ (and climbing daily!) Americans losing their individual healthcare plans (and these are just the preliminary numbers for people losing plans in the 'individual' market, some analysts predict these individual numbers will pale in comparison to the number of people losing group plan insurance plan coverage when the employer mandate kicks in next year.  Experts estimate the number of people likely to lose healthcare coverage when group plans are cancelled, next October 2014, may well exceed 50 million people losing coverage.  And we should keep in mind that all of these cancelled plan policy holders were repeatedly promised by the President himself, members of his administration and by Democratic members of Congress that they would be able "to keep their plan if they liked their plan" ... But sadly, now these poor people are scrambling to try to find new coverage --during the holiday season no less-- while having to contend with a ticking clock as this year draws to a close and in many cases trying to find new healthcare providers as many doctors are not participating in the exchange plan networks, and bonus: the federal healthcare exchange website is still not yet fully functional or secure. I guess, it's up to you to decide, for yourself, whether such a glaring omission of fact constitutes an outright lie. 

11/15/2013 Despite the questionable constitutionality of his statement today, it appears as if the President has issued a new CMS directive allowing insurers to re-instate their cancelled policies for an additional year.  Of course most State Insurance Commissioners, if not the actual insurance companies themselves, will likely challenge this directive for obvious logistical, legal and cost reasons.  Thus it would appear as if the President and his administration are likely hoping to merely shift the blame from themselves onto the insurance companies, without providing any real substantive help to people who have had their health insurance policies cancelled (and they can't get new policies because the government-run websites aren't yet fully functional! And bonus, new policies via the exchange with new standards will likely cost more than the policies they will replace in most instances) :  the net result being the exchange pools will likely have a better shot at attaining the large and varied --w.r.t. to age and health (i.e. young and healthy)-- numbers of enrollees necessary to make the exchanges actually work.  In sum, the people who have lost healthcare policies effective Jan. 1, 2014 are simply 'acceptable casualties of war' (an ideological war) in the eyes of the Obama administration. And don't feel too bad for the insurance companies either, who will now likely shoulder the majority of the blame for cancellation of policies: if you read a little further on down into the CMS directive, you will see that the insurance companies will be getting some hefty subsidies which should more than make any up shortfalls in their revenue or perceived damage to their reputations moving forward.]

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