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The ACA: Bad for American Business? October 4, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Money.
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There are allegations that the Affordable Care Act is bad for American businesses. The key questions are  more nuanced – which ones and when?  The ACA will prove to be disruptive, says  former insurance executive Wendell Potter.  But the last 4 years have been good for people holding insurance stocks on their retirement plans and mutual funds. According to a report shared across the country by the AP, 5 major health insurance companies have benefitted greatly since the recession and with the prospect of millions of new customers. For example:

The good news: CIGNA stock up 477% since 3/9/2009 (as reported by the AP-not a solicitation to buy or sell shares). For comparison, the Standard and Poor’s 500 index was up 151% in the same time period.

The bad news: According to Wendell Potter (formerly of CIGNA), this may not continue as the exchanges alter the traditional insurance marketplace.

English: Wendell Potter in 2010

English: Wendell Potter in 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And what if the American public benefits as a whole because of fewer ER room visits, with more people insured and using preventive care?


Speaker Boehner on Exemptions: Fact or Fiction? September 30, 2013

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous.
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Today Speaker Boehner mentioned an Obamacare exemption for Congress. For the umpteenth time, Congress members are NOT exempt from the ACA coverage aka  Obamacare. There are many sources that dispel this notion, including in the ACA itself. But, under the ACA rules, people who have coverage through their employer weren’t necessarily going to shop for plans on the exchanges. Here’s one.

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the weekend, an entry one of my Congress member’s Facebook page read:I’ll sign up for Obamacare when you do!”

The Congress member replied: “I’ll be joining the same exchange as my constituents on January 1. My staff will get their insurance from the exchanges as well.”

And in this factcheck.org post, they remind us that since 2010, they’ve been debunking the exemption myth. Since it isn’t true and probably the Speaker knows that; I’m guessing that this is dog-whistle code (only certain members of the base can hear it) for raising money.

English: A yellow dog whistle

English: A yellow dog whistle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, it got more confusing and is evolving as I post. Let’s see if I can get this right:

Since some employers including the federal government, offer 75% or more towards the cost of each employee’s health care, Republicans construed that as a subsidy in the ACA. So they wanted that subsidy taken away (unlike for other major employers). In August then there was a proposal to remove the employer subsidy.  Some people describe this as ‘throwing the staffers under the bus”. This has been called an exemption-I find that confusing.

Grabbing Congressional staffers money

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20 Things to Know about the ACA (Obamacare) September 23, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Money.
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A special section was published in The Seattle Times on September 22nd and has valuable information for Washingtonians and others.

One valuable section of the ACA allows for subsidies:

If you make up to $45,950 ($94,200 for a family of four) you may get a subsidy that will decrease your premiums.

Some of us will just be happy to save a few bucks per month to apply to our increased deductibles. I’m not blaming the ACA for that-your $250 deductible (as recently as 5 years ago) seems to be gone forever.

However, people who earn less than an adjusted gross income of $45,950 per year may very well immediately reallocate any savings  to other parts of their budget. Deductibles, groceries, retirement savings.  This could be good for our collective economy.
Here is one link to a subsidy calculator that anyone from across the country can use.

If you receive a subsidy how will you use the money you save? Tell us in the comments.


From Senator Kyl to Senator Cruz August 21, 2013

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, huh?.
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Remember Senator Kyl? He of the “that was not intended to be a factual statement” statement, and one of the Senators who voted against the Affordable Care Act. (PPACA).

Is this new model more of an enemy of PPACA than the retired one?

Senator Cruz wants to “defund Obamacare”; he voted against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because

“the federal government does not need to be dictating state criminal law.”  And yet he is pro-life.

No right is more precious and fundamental than the right to life, and any just society should protect that right at every stage, from conception to natural death. (from the Senator’s web page)

He says right there that he is for the ‘right to life at every stage’.

Must be only “for some people”.

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Got Pre-Existing Conditions? Romney or Obama Health Plan? October 4, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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As seen on Slate.com this morning-about pre-existing conditions and Obamacare.

Here’s an admission from Governor Romney’s advisor, Eric Ferhnstrom:

Pressed by TPM’s [Talking Points Memo] Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

“We’d like to see states do what Massachusetts did,” Fehrnstrom said. “In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing conditions.”

[emphasis added by me]

If you have a pre-existing condition, the President’s plan (already the law), provides for no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions (think chronic conditions, cancer, diabetes etc.). But if Governor Romney is allowed to repeal Obamacare, then each state would have to push through their own versions of protections instead.

No guarantees there.

The Republicans are big on freedom. Before PPACA was passed, you could be trapped in your job with employer-provided health coverage, if you had a child with epilepsy or diabetes and they had been born AFTER you began work at your current company. Why? Because they would have been uninsurable with an individual plan or for a period under a new employer plan.

I knew two people who could never change jobs before PPACA was voted into law.

No freedom for them.

There is now.

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Care Quote of the Week: The conservative case for Obamacare October 2, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week.
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I can’t add very much to this NYT Opinion piece, save to say that its’ conservative credentials are impeccable. And the writer believes that the President’s health care plan (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is a wonderful piece of legislation, not for  liberals but conservatives.

But here’s the dirty little secret:

“This explains why the health insurance industry has been quietly supporting the plan all along. It levels the playing field and expands the potential market by tens of millions of new customers.”

To which I would add, check your health insurance stocks, mutual funds and ETF’s. Are their shareholders complaining about performance in the last three years?

(This post is not a solicitation to buy or sell securities)

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ASU Student Gets “Full Coverage” – After CEO Answers Tweets September 23, 2012

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance.
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I am a little late to this story, but did you hear about the ASU student health plan and it’s, shall we say, ‘irregularities’?

Read this blog post from the NYTimes.

Excerpt: Arijit Guha, 31, a New York native who was raised in Ohio, learned he had cancer in February 2011 after developing debilitating stomach pain following a trip to India. During surgery, the doctors found the cancer had spread to his abdominal lining, and they removed most of his colon, leaving him with a colostomy. Since then he has undergone more surgery and chemotherapy or, in his words, been “filleted, disemboweled and then bathed in hot poison.”

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.
Aetna Inc., via Associated PressMark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.

A doctoral student at Arizona State University, Mr. Guha was insured under an Aetna Student Health plan for which he paid $400 a month. The plan initially covered his care, but in February, Mr. Guha’s treatment costs reached the $300,000 cap on the insurance plan, leaving the student with $118,000 in medical bills. read more

Thank you so much Arijit Guha.

  • For taking the time and energy to act for both yourself and the rest of the ASU health plan participants during your illness.
  • For being willing to share the details of your illness @Poop_Strong on Twitter
  • For serving as a catalyst for Aetna to take action on the plan for  all ASU students
  • And alerting all of us to this ridiculously low lifetime cap that could be attached to our college students’ health plans. $300,000 before-$2,000,000 now.

@Poop_Strong, I salute your persistence,  and your continued good health!

Pre-Existing Conditions and PPACA January 19, 2011

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous.
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Full Coverage is written by a cancer survivor. It is 25 years since my first diagnosis and 12.5 years since my second diagnosis. I have lived a long time since the first diagnosis and have had a pre-existing condition for many years. As I listen to various members of the House discuss how bad this legislation is, my mouth is constantly dropping open while listening to Republicans discuss my “reduced” choices because of PPACA. (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)

My choices have increased due to this legislation.

  • I now do not have to stay in a job only in order to keep my health insurance
  • My chances of being discriminated against in the insurance world are greatly diminished
  • My opportunities for affordable coverage without a small lifetime cap on treatment are increased, not decreased.

I can perhaps even reveal my “chronic condition” to a potential employer without fear of being “too expensive to hire” or jeopardizing their insurance plan that has few workers.

This part of the Patient Care and Affordable Coverage Act is a good step forward for the more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors that were alive in 2007 and today.

(On January 1, 2007, in the United States there were approximately 2,591,855 women alive who had a history of cancer of the breast. This includes any person alive on January 1, 2007 who had been diagnosed with cancer of the breast at any point prior to January 1, 2007 and includes persons with active disease and those who are cured of their disease)

Health Care Bingo-Play Along At Home January 19, 2011

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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Having spent the better part of two hours watching C-SPAN today, I can report that some new sound bites will emerge. House members are using a variety of speaking techniques to regale a small live audience with sound bites for the home crowd.Create a bingo card and listen for these words and phrases:

Contrary to media reports-the legislation has not been changed to read “Job-Destroying” instead of “Job-Killing” in the Thomas system for Congress.

I just heard a new alliterative term, “Trillion-dollar tragedy” from a Republican member.

A Democratic member from Oregon, Representative Wu, finally brought the D’s into the rhyming fold with two phrases, “Amend, don’t end!” He also used “Mend, don’t end!”

I could pay my monthly COBRA premium with a dollar for the number of times I have heard the phrase “donut hole” and “hurt small businesses” today, from both side of the aisle.

Rep. John Fleming (R-FL) from the 4th District created a new phrase in calling the bill’s accounting system, a “Disney fantasy”. Did he mean the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report?

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) from the 7th District used a repetition technique when describing the effects of a repeal:

NO CARE, for young people under 26

NO CARE, for pre-existing conditions

NO CARE, if you are in the donut hole (extra square here)

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) from the 6th District used the phrase “Enron accountant”, thus linking a previous scandal linguistically to the current legislation.

A Democrat,  Jay Inslee (WA-1st District) gets the last word here for giving a floor speech without using any of the previous phrases, but introducing sport to the House Floor by suggesting that PPACA asks “Americans to jump without a parachute”. He did go on to mention some health successes in the state of Washington, which include Providence Everett hospital reducing the stay of cardiac patients by almost one full day; and reducing the rate of infection by almost 50%.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), of the 13th District began his speech with this statement:  “This bill …has nationalized 1/6 of the national economy!” Since all of the for-profit health care and insurance stock prices went up immediately upon passage last March, I hardly think that is the case.

Good day for English majors and bingo players-lots of fiction on the floor today, some rhetorical devices, a little poetry and some ,but not enough non-fiction.

For the center Bingo square: feel free to use “let’s be clear”.

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