ACA Insurance Coverage Cost Update from CBO

Estimated insurance coverage costs revised downward.

From the CBO, Updated Estimates of the Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, April 2014:

cbo_aca_newest_apr14

Figure 3 from CBO, Updated Estimates of the Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, April 2014.

Relative to their previous projections, CBO and JCT now estimate that the ACA’s coverage provisions will result in lower net costs to the federal government: The agencies now project a net cost of $36 billion for 2014, $5 billion less than the previous projection for the year; and
$1,383 billion for the 2015–2024 period, $104 billion less than the previous projection.

The estimated net costs for 2014 stem almost entirely from spending for subsidies that are to be provided through insurance exchanges (often called marketplaces) and from an increase in spending for Medicaid…

Those estimates address only the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA, which do not generate all of the act’s budgetary effects. Many other provisions, on net, are expected to reduce budget deficits. Considering all of the provisions—including the coverage provisions—CBO and JCT estimated in July 2012 (their most recent comprehensive estimate) that the ACA’s overall effect would be to reduce federal deficits.

Note that the overall budgetary effect of the ACA is to reduce federal deficits. As indicated in CBO’s 2012 estimate, repeal of the ACA would have resulted in a ten year increase in budget deficits of over $100 billion.

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104 thoughts on “ACA Insurance Coverage Cost Update from CBO

  1. Steven Kopits

    So it’s only going to cost $1.4 trillion, rather than $1.5 trillion. This is progress, is it?

    1. Hans

      Progressive progress, Mr Kopits…And we all know how accurate the CBO projections are.

      http://docstalk.blogspot.com/2014/04/oc-charts-obama-doesnt-want-you-to-see.html

      Hear is the real truth about BarrockOcare.

      http://freebeacon.com/issues/obamacare-only-enrolled-1-4-million-previously-uninsured-individuals/

      This is so typical of the Progressos, bad program or not we will double down instead of admitting a
      mistake…Ask the Kulak what happen to farm production after the Collectivist farms became operational.

      1. Nick G

        Hans,

        You may find it hard to believe, but ridicule, like “BarrockOcare” and “Progressos” makes your arguments less credible, especially on a website like this, with fairly high level discussions. It make be fun to say things like that to people who already agree with you, but it will never convince anyone of your ideas – quite the contrary.

        I mention it because it makes the conversation unpleasant…

    2. Nick G

      Sure, why not? Why isn’t higher health care spending good? Do we really need more cars and TVs? Do we need more gambling? If the economy is to grow, where is the best sector? How about more services, like healthcare, education, and child and elder care?

      In particular, I’d like to see an enormous expansion of medical research, to give doctors better tools to work with. Right now the National Institutes of Health are funding only 17% of research grant applications: they don’t have nearly enough money. It’s a tragedy.

      1. Hans

        Nick, I am sorry you find it so distasteful….

        Then you would agree, that the “Affordable Care Act” is no less absurd
        in name or character as is BarrockOcare or for that matter ObamaCare?

        1. Nick G

          No, I haven’t seen evidence that the coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act is not affordable. Certainly some parts seem to be, such as the additional coverage of children up to 26, the elimination of pre-existing conditions, and expanded Medicaid coverage.

          But, that’s beside the point. The Affordable Care Act is the actual, official name. If you don’t want to use a name that has modestly positive connotations you could just call it the ACA.

          The point is: let’s talk politely to each other, and learn from each other.

          1. Hans

            “No, I haven’t seen evidence that the coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act is not affordable.”

            Nick, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, with 71 billions (per year) in reductions from Medicare to
            pay for Nationalized Health Care.

            One of my clinics is no longer taking any new Medicare clients because of reduced reimbursement.
            The doctor informed me, that the clinic is losing money with each and every medicare visit…Another clinic,
            the doctor told me, Medicare cut her surgery fee a second time.

            Nick, how about those massive deductions most policyholders will be required to carry?? How about those
            subsidies “folks” will receive making their policy free from any payment or subsidies which greatly reduces
            their premium costs? Who will pay for that?

            “let’s talk politely to each other,” I have never diss anyone on this website nor ever will, but you and others
            continue to insist that I follow standard prodigal and not deviate from proper political labeling, such as the assuming Affordable Care Act.

            If the Affordable Care Act is not affordable, should it then be repealed ? Do you not suffer any guilt, when forcing your neighbors to join an association which they do not wish to be a member of? Requiring the
            funding of the morning after pill, upon those of Christian faith…It will only be a question of time, when
            abortion will also be mandated.

          2. baffling

            hans,
            i would think you are happy for cuts in medicare spending. do you want a medicare program that simply writes a blank check? nothing wrong with controlling the cost of medicare

          3. Nick G

            Hans,

            I’m puzzled – do you like Medicare or not? Keep in mind, Medicare is far more “nationalized” than the private insurance policies that people are buying in exchanges.

            I’m also puzzled about the idea of “forcing your neighbors to join an association”. You’re aware that you belong to a lot of different “associations”, none of which work on 100% consensus? If you belong to a professional society, it spends money on stuff that all of it’s members have to pay for. If you belong to a homeowner’s association, you may have to pay for flowers at the entrance, even if you hate flowers. When you pay taxes, you pay for wars like the one in Iraq, even if fighting such wars offends your conscience and/or religious beliefs.

            Finally, the ACA doesn’t require anyone to use contraception, morning after pills, etc. It does say that employers can’t force their religious beliefs on their employees by refusing to pay such things.

    3. Bruce Hall

      Steven, the good news is the rate of increase for cost to the government is less than the previous estimate; the bad news is that the absolute increase is still rather substantial. This post, however, only provided half the picture from the CBO report. You can read a bigger picture report here:

      http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45229

  2. Hans

    Not only did BOCO have to rape the Medicare system to fund “his” universal
    health care, but they guarantied the insurance industry 80% of all underwriting
    losses.

    Even Robert Gibbs, BOCO’s press secretary, stated before an audience that
    the employer mandate will never go into effect; which will result in Barrockocare
    complete failure and abandonment..

    1. Nick G

      FYI-It’s been 3 years since Gibbs was Press Secretary.

      Interesting, it appears that both the economy and the Affordable Care Act might be stronger without the employer mandate:

      “…many health economists aren’t particularly fond of the employer mandate….That’s because health economists have long advocated for a way to transition people away from employer-sponsored coverage and onto individual policies.

      Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute argued in congressional testimony last July that if enough people moved off their employer-based plans the deficit would actually decrease. He cited a 2012 CBO report that estimated that if an extra 14 million workers moved from their employer-based coverage to plans on the exchanges, the deficit would actually decrease by $13 billion over ten years. “This is because the increase in exchange subsidies is offset by a reduction in lost revenue from the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance,” Roy said. –

      http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/04/09/Drop-Obamacare-s-Employer-Mandate-Lose-149-Billion#sthash.TGXiB6xu.dpuf

      1. Hans

        Nick, thank you for the correction…

        The whole purpose of socialized health care was to incorporate
        everyone into the plan..So so now, you have a partial health care
        plan, which continues to suffer from one delay after another, with
        our dear leader modify legislation out of the White House, a clear
        violation of the US Constitution.

        There is nothing that BO and his cohorts will not do to save this foundering
        program.

        It is a national disgrace.

  3. Rick Stryker

    Supporters of Obamacare will be tempted to look at this report as vindication of the belief that the policy is efficiently reducing health care costs, i.e., that it’s working Before jumping to that conclusion, it’s instructive to look at the details of why the CBO has revised its projected ACA costs down. The downward revision is not produced by the ACA reducing health care costs by introducing some efficiencies. Rather, the downward provision is produced by a feature of the ACA that many critics (including me) have predicted–costs are lower than expected because Obamacare is restricting access to doctors, hospitals, and care more than the CBO expected.

    Previously, the CBO had assumed that the ACA-plans would resemble insurance that people get from employers. The public assumed that too, since they were told that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” However, the CBO, like the public at large, came to realize, in the words of the CBO report that “the plans being offered through the exchanges this year appear to have, in general, lower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans do.” As a result, premiums turned out to be lower than the CBO expected.

    The lower-than-expected premiums imply a $165 billion reduction in subsidy costs, which is balanced in the CBO’s view by reduction in penalty revenue of $61 billion produced by the Administration’s various delays of Obamacare requirements. The net downward effect explains the lower cost. The lower cost, is produced then, by Obamacare insurance that restricts access to doctors and hospitals, restricts use of health care, and that imposes higher deductibles.

    It’s important to distinguish government-paid health care subsidy costs that are lower than the CBO expected from health care costs that are lower than the pubic expected. The public, of course, expected that health care premiums would be $2500 lower per family, with the same access to doctors and hospitals, since that’s what they were promised. But what they got instead, at least from the exchanges, is lower access and higher premiums, premiums that will partly be subsidized by the taxpayer, depending on the situation. In fact, a recent survey of 148 insurance brokers found that premiums have in general risen dramatically compared to pre-Obamacare insurance, with some eye-popping numbers in some states: Delaware up 100%; California up 53%; Florida up 37%; and Pennsylvania up 28%.

    1. baffling

      Rick,
      Your complaining still sounds like a sore loser. Get over it. You have good, affordable health insurance. Why do you hate your fellow Americans enough to want to take away their health insurance. Shameful.

      1. baffling

        stryker, anonymous and hans,
        i never expected prices to drop $2500 per family. this is an expectation put out by the anti crowd, as a means to produce a rallying point. i don’t think any reasonable supporter of the ACA was arguing they wanted the ACA to save $2500 per family. most were arguing they wanted access to health insurance without needing to get it through an employer and without pre-existing condition limits. and i would imagine many folks who obtained health insurance under those conditions found significant savings compared to their previous options. the rest of us who already had good health insurance through work were not expected to have such a large decrease in premiums, because we already had access to health insurance which mitigated the group health and pre-existing condition risks.

  4. 2slugbaits

    Steven Kopits Yes, it is progress. The bottom line is that if the GOP had it’s way and abolished Obamacare, then American taxpayers would end up poorer. I call that progress.

    Rick Stryker The Administration never made a secret of the fact that penalizing overly generous “Cadillac” insurance plans was central to bending the cost curve. I have no problem with penalizing the “Cadillac” plans of the wealthy. I think there’s pretty much near unanimous agreement among healthcare economists on this point. It’s also well known that single-payer plans (like Medicare) have been holding down healthcare costs. Look at the growth rate of private plans relative to Medicare over the last dozen years. And lower payments to providers is not unexpected either. In fact, hospitals were very worried if Obamacare flopped because they had already agreed to lower charges and fees. That was part of the deal. How the hell else do you think the cost curve will be bent? Are we supposed to shed tears for those poor doctors who won’t be able to rack up fraudulent billings?

    And why are you surprised that independent insurance brokers would say stuff like that? In a post-ACA world they’re Dodo birds.

    Obamacare is a success story. There are 9.5M more people with insurance today that didn’t have it last year. That’s a good thing. No more pre-existing condition exclusions. That’s a good thing. No more lifetime caps. That’s a good thing. Keeping your kids on your insurance plan until they’re 26. That’s a good thing. Penalizing free riders in the Stryker family. That’s a good thing. The only people who are actually worse off under Obamacare are higher income folks that feel entitled to taxpayer subsidized “Cadillac” plans for themselves (and only for themselves). And the free riders in your family…they’re worse off too. Of course, I’m talking about the GOP base.

    1. Hans

      “Obamacare is a success story.”

      And that is why it is mandated, with police powers and fines!

      1. baffling

        hans, police powers and fines are used to enforce all the laws of the land. nothing special about your comment!

        1. anon and lazy

          Baffle –when will police powers and fines be used against Obama since he refuses to enforce ALL the laws of the land?

          1. baffling

            anon and lazy, quit your whining! you are a repeat from a right wing conservative tea bag talk show!

          1. baffling

            hans, that comment is silly. as i said before, police powers and fines are used to enforce all the laws of the land-not just obamacare!. me thinks you want to argue for the sake of arguing, without any real point!

      1. baffling

        hans,
        so your argument revolves around the obviously nonpartisan Forbes magazine, with an oped from an obviously nonpartisan author who is
        “Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle and Replace Obamacare”

        let’s see, i’m selling a book about repealing obamacare. do i have any bias in my commentary?

        you are getting your information from a book advertisement, and trying to act as if it is fact!

          1. baffling

            hans. not distasteful but very biased and unreliable if you actually want facts. kind of like getting advice for alcoholism from a bar. but if you find comfort getting your “facts” from an infomercial for a book, have at it. but wipe off the incredulous look on your face when people then challenge the integrity of your arguments.

  5. steve

    ” because Obamacare is restricting access to doctors, hospitals,”

    Nope. Obamacare does no such thing. When insurance companies need to compete openly on the basis of price, a rare thing absent Obamacare, they do so by increasing deductibles or narrowing networks.

    Steve

    1. Hans

      Steve, the reason the networks are much smaller than before is
      the formed conspiracy between crony business and crony
      governmental units…

      You “folks” have created a unnatural business environment through
      the use of mandates and government fiat.

      The crony health insurance industry is a bed fellow of the government…
      Not hard to see, Steve, especially when they get 80% of losses covered
      by the taxpayer.

      1. baffling

        hans,
        “the reason the networks are much smaller than before is
        the formed conspiracy between crony business and crony
        governmental units…”

        hans, i picture you grinning behind your computer with a tin foil hat and car antennae pointing from your ears to protect you from the men in black suits and their “conspiracy”! how can you expect to be taken seriously with such drivel!

        1. Hans

          Baffling, you must have forgotten about the thousands of lobbyists
          whom inhabit WDC and all fifty state capitols.

          Along with their crony politicians have produced a regulatory burden unknown
          to man…

          Baff, you must benefit one way or another from this regulatory cyclops.

    2. Hans

      Steve, that is news to me.
      I had no idea, that the free market place drives prices up and limits choices.
      Now I get it, Steve, competition is evil and bad…I was brainwashed by Adam
      Smith.

    3. Hans

      No Reply Link

      Nick G
      April 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm
      Hans,

      I’m puzzled – do you like Medicare or not? Keep in mind, Medicare is far more “nationalized” than the private insurance policies that people are buying in exchanges.

      I’m also puzzled about the idea of “forcing your neighbors to join an association”. You’re aware that you belong to a lot of different “associations”, none of which work on 100% consensus? If you belong to a professional society, it spends money on stuff that all of it’s members have to pay for. If you belong to a homeowner’s association, you may have to pay for flowers at the entrance, even if you hate flowers. When you pay taxes, you pay for wars like the one in Iraq, even if fighting such wars offends your conscience and/or religious beliefs.

      Finally, the ACA doesn’t require anyone to use contraception, morning after pills, etc. It does say that employers can’t force their religious beliefs on their employees by refusing to pay such things.
      //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
      Nick, I am sorry, I missed your comment yesterday. I entered the Medicare system in March…I have no choice in
      the matter as I was taxed some 40 years for it…Moreover, failure to partake, results in higher premiums to the tune
      of 10% for each year not enrolled…The penalties are similar for not enrolling in Part D…Little has changed in term
      of services or protocol, other than a $15 co-payment…

      Nick, it is called the freedom of association; whereas Nationalized Health Care is mandated of association…You can
      resign from any group association (not unions in a no right to work state) for any given rise: you can even sell your
      townhouse and move because they spent to much money on grounds keeping…Those option do not exist under
      Nationalized Health Care – unless BO gave you an exemption!

      We fight wars for the common defense of all Americans; there is nothing in common about a welfare
      program called ObambaCare which picks winners and losers.

      “Finally, the ACA doesn’t require anyone to use contraception, morning after pills, etc. It does say that employers can’t force their religious beliefs on their employees by refusing to pay such things.”

      The NHC does not require it’s use for anything, Nick…Hobby Lobby and the Catholic Church does not force religion
      upon no one…There is no sign hanging on the front door of the personnel department stating – We do not hire
      Atheists…This is nothing more than, I, Nick, wishing to make others conform to my personal beliefs…Will abortions
      and botox be required next? How about mandating vaccinations and gender reassignment ? Your believe system is
      all about compression of individual responsibilities and freedoms; with other’s footing the bill…

      Why not just form your own social health justice program and make it voluntary? Would you not be proud if you
      could make it work, without others “folks” money? Then you could look me square in the face and say, see Hans
      I told you this program would work.

      You do not want a helping hand, you want a handout..The UACA, just another City of Detroit, or Brokeo Rico brought to
      you by the “folks” on the left… Prodigal.

      1. baffling

        hans,
        “Nick, I am sorry, I missed your comment yesterday. I entered the Medicare system in March…I have no choice in
        the matter as I was taxed some 40 years for it…Moreover, failure to partake, results in higher premiums to the tune
        of 10% for each year not enrolled…The penalties are similar for not enrolling in Part D…Little has changed in term
        of services or protocol, other than a $15 co-payment…”

        what does taxed for 40 years have to do with it? you were also taxed on federal income. a tax is still a tax. you can opt out of medicare today, but you choose to stay enrolled in a national federally subsidized insurance program! why? because you cannot get health insurance cheaper in the private market, if at all, at your age. i bet you shout the loudest if anyone mention capping medicare. but god forbid we extend the idea of federally subsidized insurance to anybody else! and if we introduce the idea of limiting medicare services, we hear the chant of “death panels”, because it is your right to spend those medicare dollars! baffling

        1. Hans

          Your Baffingship:

          “what does taxed for 40 years have to do with it? ” It is about $30,ooo paid from my income
          for retirement health care. Where do I go to get my money and interest back?

          Thank you LBJ’s Great Society! And now we have a new war of health care sponsored by the
          biggest gang in America.

          1. baffling

            hans, you don’t get the money back. it is a tax! it is not an investment scheme. but i suppose this “entitlement” is legit!

            funny how when the poor have an “entitlement” it should be cut back, since they are sitting on their behinds collecting welfare. but for others, the “entitlement” is not welfare. but i bet you will collect more out of medicare than you ever put into the program!

      2. Nick G

        I entered the Medicare system in March…I have no choice in the matter as I was taxed some 40 years for it

        As Baffling has noted, you don’t have to join. I think your decision to join was a very smart one, but it’s not consistent with your criticism of other programs that extend health insurance to people who need it. I’m afraid you’ve been misled by conservative commentators.

        You can resign from any group association

        Just as you can leave the US. I’m not telling you to “love it or leave it”, but the fact remains that you do have a choice.

        We fight wars for the common defense of all Americans

        Some people don’t agree – that includes many who have religious objections. Aren’t they being forced to pay for something they disagree with?? Similarly, there are religious beliefs the practice of which are not allowed (ritual psychedelic drugs, for example), because the larger society decides that the common welfare is more important.

        Hobby Lobby and the Catholic Church does not force religion upon no one…There is no sign hanging on the front door of the personnel department stating – We do not hire Atheists

        If your employer is not willing to pay for contraception out of religious objections, your employer is forcing it’s religion choices on you. As a practical matter, your employer is forcing you to have children you don’t want, for religious reasons.

        You do not want a helping hand, you want a handout

        I have great insurance, as do you. I think it’s our moral and religious obligation to help those who are less fortunate.

        1. Hans

          Nick, as I mentioned to Sir Baffing, where do I go to get my mandated premiums back?

          Sad to say, Nick, but more and more Americans are giving up their citizenship.

          ” because the larger society decides that the common welfare is more important.”

          It is the tyranny of the majority…No difference if I forced by gun views on you and
          others.

          “If your employer is not willing to pay for contraception out of religious objections, your employer is forcing it’s religion choices on you.” Gee, does not Hobby Lobby pay ALL employees for religious holidays? Then it must
          be forcing religion on them too.

          “I think it’s our moral and religious obligation to help those who are less fortunate.”

          Nick, we are in complete agreement !!! God, will judge those harshly whom fail to assist
          their fellow man.

          1. Nick G

            where do I go to get my mandated premiums back?

            You didn’t pay premiums before you joined Medicare, you paid taxes to pay for the benefits received at the time by seniors. You can’t get them back, just as no one can get back their income taxes.

            more and more Americans are giving up their citizenship.

            Not many – about 3,000 per year, if I remember correctly. They are almost entirely the very rich, who don’t want to pay taxes.

            It is the tyranny of the majority

            True. But it’s the price of being part of any organization larger than your nuclear family. Everyone has to pay their dues.

            Hobby Lobby pay ALL employees for religious holidays? Then it must be forcing religion on them too.

            Yes, indeed. Some people really do want to celebrate other holidays.

            we are in complete agreement !!! God, will judge those harshly whom fail to assist their fellow man.

            I’m glad we agree. I’m hopeful that you will see eventually that you’re being misled by the very rich, who are trying to exploit you with misinformation, precisely because they don’t want to assist their fellow man.

            Why haven’t median wages risen over the last 30 years?? Because economic growth is going to the very rich. Economic growth is supposed to benefit everyone: that’s the justification for inequality. But that’s not happening.

    1. Hans

      Joe, it is speech and not a behavioral issue.

      BTW, which First Amendment pen do you want me to report to?

      1. Nick G

        Hans,

        The First Amendment prevents the government from coercing people’s speech. It doesn’t prevent private citizens from asking each other for politeness, or even requiring it on their privately owned blogs. You may have noticed that newspapers edit their reader’s comments on stories, for politeness.

        1. Hans

          Nick, you simply wish to control speech because it does not
          meet you standards…Stop being the PC Police. Of course,
          it is well established how the left modifies the English language
          to advance it’s political agenda and social reconstruction.

          ” You may have noticed that newspapers edit their reader’s comments on stories, for politeness.”

          That statement is simply naive. Nick, I have not read a newspaper for 22 years. Are they now
          footnoting comments to the political editors?

          The left own self complexity, their nihilism, will be their undoing.

          1. baffling

            hans,
            “Nick, I have not read a newspaper for 22 years. Are they now
            footnoting comments to the political editors?”
            that is obvious. you listen to right wingnut commentators on the radio and tv!

          2. Nick G

            you simply wish to control speech because it does not meet you standards

            I’m suggesting that you choose not to use terms that are intended to be insulting. I think it’s unpleasant. I think you would agree, if someone talked to you in such a way. I think you’d agree that such terms wouldn’t be effective in changing your mind about anything, so why use them?

            ” You may have noticed that newspapers edit their reader’s comments on stories, for politeness.” That statement is simply naive. Nick, I have not read a newspaper for 22 years. Are they now footnoting comments to the political editors?

            No, newspapers simply delete comments that are intentionally offensive. You can see this on any newspaper’s website. Here’s an example:

            Comments

            The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what’s in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

            Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/19/4970101/royals-wiin-fifth-straight-beat.html#storylink=cpy

  6. Bruce Hall

    There seems to be a lot of fluidity in the calculations which should include the law’s funding for Medicaid and cuts to Medicare… both of which are on again, off again, maybe later, maybe never actions. Bottom line: more people forced to pony up for insurance and more people getting assistance for insurance and doctors and hospitals maybe or maybe not getting paid as they were before. This is not a marketplace driven 20% of the total economy anymore, by any stretch of the imagination. So, you can expect a lot of estimates, guesses, speculation, and outright misinformation until the dust settles and we find out if we have butterflies and unicorns or a wildly expanded VA system.

  7. rick

    I wonder how many economists understand what it is like to work in a Dr.’s office? Patients show up for unscheduled appointments and dont have their co-pay or insurance card but they do have a brand name coffee & cell phone and we can’t get employees of the box stores and fast food chains to pay their higher and higher coinsurance charges, but the stores make $16B p.a., i.e. alot of skewed utility functions. We are worried about health care because of the pressure the baby boomers put on medicare and our inability to deal with end-of-life issues and so we pick on doctors. We are forced to bundle our activities while eveyone else is unbundling (think cable bills and software). I understand that doctors can do better (the FL eye doc comes to mind-how does he get away with unbundling?) but we for the most part try to save or extend lives. Can prop traders say the same thing? If my 401(k) is shot by the fact that r > g flows to 4 or 5 big banks, then I am not sure that healthcare will be my biggest worry. I understand that strong US banks are a necessity but at what cost? In the words of Toby Esterhase, “why pick on the little guy?” It is all about market power and Wall Street has the power – when doctors try to band together it is viewed as anti-competitive-see Partners in MA.

  8. Rick Stryker

    2slugbaits,

    You’ve made quite a few unsubstantiated statements. Just to focus on one of your comments, I was not talking about the Obamacare tax on “cadillac” health plans. That feature of Obamacare is not slated to start until 2018, although some people argue that we’ll feel the effects of it before then. I’m surprised that you don’t realize that the cadillac tax is aimed right at the Administration’s own supporters rather than the wealthy necessarily. Haven’t you noticed that the unions are pretty upset with the Administration, since they weren’t able to get the exemption they were seeking? Unions in general, and state and local government employees in particular, will be disproportionately affected by the cadillac tax, since the unions have been able to negotiate very good benefits packages, including extremely generous health care packages. But the so-called rich aren’t necessarily affected much by this tax. Industries that pay high wages, such as tech companies, law firms, financial institutions, etc. often have lots of young workers, so the average premiums need not trigger the cadillac tax. Companies with older, sicker workers, on the other hand, even if they don’t pay their workers as much, might well trigger this tax.

    My point was about the new exchange insurance. And no, it was not widely understood that exchange insurance would restrict access to doctors, hospitals, and care as much as it has. If it had been widely understood, the CBO would not have needed to correct their numbers and would have already made the correct assumption in their forecast last year. Of course, if the CBO had asked me, I would have explained to them what was going to happen. Or, if they had been reading my comments on this blog when the Obamacare web site was first unveiled, they would have realized that their assumption was incorrect.

    You should read through the CBO’s numbers. This has nothing to do with bending the cost curve. Obamacare raises taxes, cuts benefits for the elderly, and then transfers the benefits to others. It raises taxes and cuts benefits enough so that the new benefits it creates does not increase the deficit. That’s what the CBO analysis shows. But that analysis is predicated on some pretty big, unverifiable assumptions.

    Baffles,

    I wonder if you will ever actually make an argument about something, anything.

    Steve,

    Obamacare does do such a thing.

    The theory of the Obamacare policy wonks was that by taking away two of the functions that insurance companies perform, risk assessment and packaging of benefits, the insurance companies will be forced to compete in one dimension only–price. This price competition was supposed to make the system much more efficient, as insurance companies were supposed to be incentivized to eliminate duplicative or irrelevant tests, unnecessary treatments, etc.

    It’s a nice theory but that’s not how it will work out in practice. It’s much easier to just reduce the quality of care. In a free market, companies are deterred from pursuing this solution since people may choose to buy from a competitor or not buy at all if they don’t like the quality of the care offered. However, the Obamacare mandate produces a captive market, forcing people to buy what they don’t necessarily want. Thus, the insurance companies are free to reduce the quality of care and are indeed incentivized by Obamacare to do so.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this problem is as bad as it’s going to get. The current mandate is fairly weak, so insurance companies are limited in how much they can restrict access to doctors and hospitals currently. The penalties for non-insurance get more severe over the next couple of years, so I expect the Obamacare exchange insurance to become an even worse deal as time goes on.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker I’m surprised that you don’t realize that the cadillac tax is aimed right at the Administration’s own supporters rather than the wealthy necessarily. Haven’t you noticed that the unions are pretty upset with the Administration, since they weren’t able to get the exemption they were seeking?

      That’s a strange comment because I more than anyone else on this blog have repeatedly pointed that out. Obamacare critics here like to argue that the unions opposed Obamacare. That’s false. For the most part the unions supported Obamacare, but they did oppose the penalty for “Cadillac” plans. Opposing one provision of a major piece of legislation does not mean the unions oppose the legislation overall.

      it was not widely understood that exchange insurance would restrict access to doctors, hospitals, and care as much as it has.

      Obamacare does not restrict access to doctors; insurance companies do. Obamacare is just a network of exchanges from which people can buy insurance plans. I’ve got news for you; insurance companies already restricted access and choice of doctors and hospitals long before Obamacare was ever proposed. Ever hear of PPOs? How about HMOs? That’s been standard procedure among insurance companies for decades. In any event, people that depend on the exchanges for affordable health insurance are probably more interested in just having access to insurance than they are concerned about whether or not they’ll have their choice of doctors and hospitals. People with no insurance have even less choice.

      Obamacare raises taxes, cuts benefits for the elderly, and then transfers the benefits to others.

      No, it does not cut benefits for the elderly. Medicare payments never went to the elderly; they went to doctors and hospitals. Healthcare providers are seeing cuts in their incomes, and I’m fine with that. Much of what doctors “earn” is actually just rent. If you’re going to bend the cost curve, then ultimately that means a smaller share of GDP must go towards doctors and hospitals. Obamacare emphasizes effective treatment, so denying doctors the opportunity to run up the bill with ineffective, useless and unproven procedures is not denying benefits to the elderly. Rather, it is diverting wasteful Medicare payments and diverting them to provide insurance for people that don’t have insurance. At the end of the day more people will get better healthcare.

      BTW, I didn’t see any real increase in my health insurance premiums since Obamacare kicked in. Over the last year my health insurance premiums have gone up a whopping 84 cents every two weeks. That’s significantly less than the rate of inflation, so in real terms my health insurance premiums have gone down for exactly the same policy that I had last year.

      1. Hans

        That is not my case, Baits…Who is your health insurance company ?

        If you are covered by Medicaid do not answer.

  9. baffling

    stryker,
    “so I expect the Obamacare exchange insurance to become an even worse deal as time goes on.”
    you were wrong on the effects of obamacare up to this date-it has been a success-so it takes balls to double down and say it will get even worse in the future. something you need to understand, just because you “state” something, does not make it a fact. you need to quit living in your fantasy land and return to reality. obamacare exists and it is working. you need to deal with that fact. none of your past “the sky is falling” predictions have come true.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Did you even watch the youtube video??? The hospital was grossly inefficient. No one was denying healthcare for sick kids. Blue Cross Premera said that they would provide it at that hospital if it couldn’t be provided elsewhere. And the family had other options…but they just wanted the cheapest option and…SURPRISE!!!…the cheapest option ruled out the expensive and inefficient hospital.

        You guys are unbelievable. On the one hand you tell us that you want market based solutions and to give individuals vouchers so that they can force inefficient doctors and hospitals out of business if they don’t drive down costs. And then when a solution comes along that does exactly that, then all we see are crocodile tears. Unbelievable.

        1. Patrick R. Sullivan

          slug, Children’s Hospital in Seattle is one of the finest hospitals for children in the entire world. And has been for decades–my cousin’s life was saved there a half century ago.

          The ‘other options’ often aren’t even in the same city. As one unfortunate mother–who thought her Gold Plan bought on the state exchange would cover her daughter’s emergency–found out. That woman is stuck paying $18,000 out of her own pocket, because her Gold Plan only pays for treatment at hospitals in Yakima (a three hour drive across the state, on the other side of the Cascade mountain range) or Bremerton (on the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle, you take a ferry to get there, i.e. 2 hrs).

        2. Hans

          “You guys are unbelievable. On the one hand you tell us that you want market based solutions and to give individuals vouchers so that they can force inefficient doctors and hospitals out of business if they don’t drive down costs.”

          It is your friends in state government and other governmental units, which have driven costs through restrictions,
          regulations and mandates; not to mention the billions in waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid…Your crowd
          drives up the prices of health care and then you turn around and blame the free markets…Brilliant!

          Oh, let’s also mention the trial (trail) lawyers, one of the biggest supporters of the Demco Party…Billions in lawsuits,
          which are passed on to the end user – the health consumer.

          BTW, Baits, do you think you can build a hospital without the permission of local government? Do you ever wonder
          why hospitals are tens of miles away from one another? Why are governmental units regulating the building of
          hospitals? Does that help the consumer in choice or competition? And how much have the governmental units been
          responsible for driving charity hospitals out of business?

          The left knows how to tell great stories to low information voters and consumers… In the land of ignorance, the
          Progressives are indeed kingpins and have no rivals.

          Hoodwinking America – a community organizer..From the greatest nation on earth, to a descending laughingstock of the world…Economic and social decay is on the way, but equality and multiculturalism is here to stay…The Dictatorship of the Majority mightily reigns, the Constitution is viewed with disdain….The individual and freedom on the wane replaced by the collective thinking and doctrine; open borders and the International Village…Devoid of
          history and morals, the neo-intelligentsia make their claim only leads us down a road of ruin and pain…Oh what
          shame, all done in the name of humanity in the end a calamity.

          I weep for my country.

  10. Ricardo

    Menzie, I have been waiting for this post. I am surprised it took you so long.

    Rick Stryker,

    You are spot on. If you want less of something raise its cost or restrict its availability. In the case of government health care we are seeing both. Is it really such a great idea to starve the greatest health care system in the world? Venezuela has significantly reduced spending on health care, as well as food, even toilet paper. Look at what great shape they are in.

    Nick G, you are also very perceptive. The Democrats are falling into their own rhetorical trap. Health insurance is not the same thing as health care. We may reduce cost and spending but that certainly does not mean better health care. Reducing costs by reducing services is typical for government because unlike the private sector users are costs that suck up revenue to the government. The motivation of government is to maximize budget funding while minimizing service. But in the free market users are customers who actually provide the revenue so the motivation is to give the best service at the lowest cost to please the customer..

  11. Ricardo

    Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects

    The Obama administration cannot tell us how many have paid for Obamacare insurance or how many who they say signed up actually were thrown off of their insurance because of Obamacare, but there is always the census results, right? Oh, we can’t have the census spill the beans. Quick, change the questions.

    1. Robert Hurley

      It would be one thing if those changes were mandated by politicians, but if not, and they were changes made by technocrats, you are just casting aspersion without evidence.

        1. Robert Hurley

          So the post you just sent contradicts your claim “the decision to make fundamental changes in the survey was driven by technical experts at the Census Bureau”. Weird! I would prefer that the change not be made, but that is far from calming it was done for politics purposes. Your own post tends to support my view.

    2. baffling

      ricardo, were you happy with the previous set of questions? i bet you would complain if the census said they were not changing the questions!

  12. Rick Stryker

    Ricardo,

    Indeed, people have been amazed and disappointed that the changes in the Census questions come at just the time when we need that data to see how effective Obamacare has been in its chief goal of reducing the level of the uninsured. Enquiring minds want to know and Greg Mankiw, Megan McCardle, and Sarah Kliff have all commented on it. Lucky break for the Administration I guess.

    But not to fear. Using data we already have and a few simple calculations, we can still estimate the current failure level of this policy.

    First, we start with the most recent gallup poll of the newly insured in 2014. This was a poll done between March 4 and April 14 of a random sample of 20,804 adults 18 and older living in all 50 states and DC. The headline looks good: the number of newly insured has increased a whopping 4% in 2014 already.

    But if we dig a bit deeper, we can estimate what this percentage implies for the numbers. The article notes that of that 4%, 2.1% were newly insured through the exchanges and 1.9% were newly insured off exchanges, which would include medicaid, employer insurance, 26-and-under on parents policies, etc. The Gallup data helpfully breaks down the percentage of each age group that make up the total for both the exchange and off-exchange case. For example, we can see that 30% of the increase of the newly insured comes from the 18-29 age group.

    Now, if we go retrieve Census data that is broken down by each age category, we can construct the total population in each age group that corresponds to the Gallup data. With that, we can then estimate the contribution of each age group to the total increase in the insured. I’ve done that in the table below. (Hope this table keeps its formatting when I post)

    Age July 2012 Population Newly Insured Newly Insured Number Newly Number Newly
    on exchange % off exchange % Insured on exchange off exchange
    18-29 54,366,439 24% 37% 274,007 382,196
    30-49 84,742,743 39% 37% 694,043 595,741
    50-64 61,926,114 35% 23% 455,157 270,617
    65+ 43,508,819 2% 3% 18,274 24,800
    Total 244,544,115 100% 100% 1,441,481 1,273,355

    To see an example of where the numbers come from, the Gallup data indicates that 24% of the newly insured on exchange came from the 18-29 group. To estimate the number of newly insured for the 18-29 category, we just do this: 54,366,439 X 24% X 2.1% = 274,007

    In all, according to this Gallup poll, 1.4 million people were newly insured on the exchanges and 1.3 million were newly insured using all other venues. That’s quite a painful result for the Administration. Recall that the CBO’s May 2013 estimate was that Obamacare would increase the number of insured by 14 million. And yet our Gallup estimate says the newly insured are fewer than 3 million.

    It gets worse. The Gallup data does not include the number of people who lost insurance in 2014, which would have to be subtracted from an already low 2.7 million.

    And there is a further problem with this number. Gallup is measuring the increase in the insured with respect to 2013. But according to their own polling data, the uninsured rate was at a high point of 18% in 2013, having climbed from a low of 14.4% in 2008. That climb in the uninsured rate reflects job loss as well as people not taking insurance that was available to them as a result of the Great Recession. As the economy improves, that uninsurance rate should come back down toward 14%.

    So, what does this small drop that Gallup measures in the uninsurance rate really mean for 2014? It may well be that the rate of uninsurance would have dropped anyway over time and that Obamacare just accelerated a little bit the drop that was going to occur naturally as the economy improves. In that case, Obamacare has really accomplished nothing in terms of reducing the long term uninsured so far. It just shifted the timing.

    So we are somewhere between Obamacare massively missing the 14 million CBO forecast and accomplishing nothing at all. Any way you cut it, we are talking about epic failure, boys.

    1. Rick Stryker

      Sorry, the table I posted in my comment above got all mangled for some reason. Below, I’ve separated each data element by a double slash // for easier reading.

      18-29// 54,366,439// 24% //37% //274,007 //382,196
      30-49// 84,742,743 //39% //37% //694,043// 595,741
      50-64// 61,926,114 //35%// 23%// 455,157 //270,617
      65+// 43,508,819// 2% //3% //18,274// 24,800
      Total //244,544,115// 100% //100% //1,441,481//1,273,355

      The first column is the age group; the second column is my construction of the population in that age group from census data; the third column is the percentage of the total insured coming from that age group on exchange; the fourth column is the percentage of the insured coming from that age group off exchange; the fifth column is the number of newly insured on exchange coming from that age group; and the sixth column is the number coming from that age group that is newly insured and off exchange.

      The last row just totals the elements in each column.

  13. Ricardo

    Rick,

    I agree that we can calculate the effectiveness of Obamacare, but to have administration run statistics refute the White House numbers is more than they can take. That is why they attack the CBO when it publishes number they don’ t like and why government statistics are constantly changing. To be fair the Obama administration is not the first to do this but they are the most blatant in my lifetime.

  14. baffling

    to paraphrase rick stryker’s massive ramblings
    “3 million previously uninsured people now have insurance. this is a disaster unless it is 4 million people. let’s shut down the program so that if we don’t have 4 million newly insured, then we will have nobody newly insured. that will fix the problem.”

    rick stryker feels 3 million uninsured people who now have insurance is a failure. but he feels 3 million uninsured people who lack insurance is a success! baffling!

  15. Steven Kopits

    So it costs us $140 bn per year to insure an incremental 3 million people. Only $35,000 per head. What a bargain!

  16. DeDude

    What is not mentioned here is that ACA in total, is budget neutral – and extends the life of Medicare/Medicaid by 5-8 years. It does so because in contrast to the prescription plan passed by BUSH II it has an increase in tax revenue that more than covers its cost provisions (although the revenue goes to the trust funds). That revenue is coming straight from the pockets of rich rent-seeking leaches – and that is why their corporate media and little sock puppets are so desperately trying to repeal ACA rather than improve it. The only way to get rid of these taxes without exposing themselves as servants for the rich, is by repealing all of ACA and then crying about how we are “forced” to turn Medicare into VoucherCare because “unexpectedly” that program is now insolvent.

  17. Hans

    No Reply Link

    baffling
    April 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm
    hans,
    i would think you are happy for cuts in medicare spending. do you want a medicare program that simply writes a blank check? nothing wrong with controlling the cost of medicare.

    Do not be so disingenuous, Your Bafflingship, those spending reductions are being transferred to your
    Nationalized Social Heath Care program…You and the Big O, are stealing from fixed income retirees many
    of which only collect Social Insecurity…I hope the AARPs remember what is being done to them..

  18. Joseph

    Steve Kopits: “So it costs us $140 bn per year to insure an incremental 3 million people. Only $35,000 per head. What a bargain!”

    Are you just pretending to be obtuse or are you really just that slow? As you can clearly see from the graph above or from the source table, the cost for 2014 is $36 billion, not $140 billion.

    Rick Stryker: “yet our Gallup estimate says the newly insured are fewer than 3 million. To estimate the number of newly insured for the 18-29 category, we just do this: 54,366,439 X 24% X 2.1% = 274,007″

    Yet again Rick proves to be numerically challenged. It’s getting boring following Rick around and correcting his faulty math. Much simpler to just assume that if Rick attempts math, it is wrong.

    In your example calculation quoted above you start with 54 million people which represents the percentage of 18-29 year-olds out of the total adult population. You then multiply this by 24% which represents the 18-29 percentage of the sample population. But this factor is already accounted for by your 54 million subdivision. In other words, you are dividing out the 18-29 cohort twice! C’mon, it’s like you’re not even trying.

    The Gallup calculation is quite simple. They say that 4% of the over-18 adult population are newly insured by the ACA. There are about 245 million people in that age group so 4% represents 9.8 million newly insured.

    It is bizarre to see the extremes that conservatives will go to claim the earth is flat. They seem incapable of even the most rudimentary math.

  19. Ricardo

    Okay, Slug, I’ll bite. Help me with a few questions by your analysis of the RAND numbers.

    How many hare actually ensured through the ACA? (visited the site, or searched the data base, but actually have functional insurance through the ACA)
    How many of those who have signed up for the ACA are Medicaid and how many private insurance?
    How many of those who hav signed up for the ACA will see their deductibles increase and what is that average increase?
    How many have lost their insurance because of the requirements of ACA?
    How many have lost their doctors because of ACA?
    How many have lost the right to use the same hospital because of ACA?
    How many cancer victims have lost their right to care because of the ACA?
    How much have premiums increased on average over pre-ACA policies?

    That’s enough for now thouhg the questions are almost unending.

    It appears that President Obama is trying to change the dialogue from health care to how being competent setting up a web site. I think that most computer savvy high school students can set up a web site so that focus seems to be a little silly. Suddenly we are supposed to be all giddy over 5million or 8 million people actually complying with the law? Doesn’t that acutally demonstrate that there is a huge segment of the population that no longer believes in the rule of law and simply will not sign up? Visits to a web site do nothing to make health care better or more available to more people. Right now all indications are that under the ACA, when it is fully implemented which appears to be about 50 years in the future with all the political waivers, health care will be worse, costs will be be higher, and the best health care system in the world will rival Venezuela.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Ricardo Since you seem to have way more leisure time than anyone else around here I don’t see why you can’t be bothered to do your own research. Nevertheless, I realize that senior citizens get a little confused sometimes making independent research difficult, so I’ll be a softy and enable your laziness. The ACA added a net of 9.3M people as of 28 March. That number has since gone up, but the RAND study cuts off at that date. Enrollment in employer sponsored healthcare increased by 8.2M…so much for your theory that ACA would kill employer sponsored health insurance. Medicaid increased enrollments by 5.9M. Another 3.9M are covered by the exchanges. So that’s 8.2M + 5.9M + 3.9M = 18M. Another 1.6M left the individual markets (that’s why Rick Stryker’s insurance brokers were feeling so down). So that’s 18M – 1.6M = 16.4M. In addition, another 7.1M left their other policies and signed up for either the exchanges or were new additions to Medicaid. So that’s 16.4M – 7.1M = 9.3M. So there it is. The net increase was 9.3M. RAND also estimates that 89% had paid for their policies. And the young are signing up. The long range target (4 years out) was 40% in the young and healthy category, with an expected enrollment rate of 25%-30% in the first year. RAND believes the first year number will be better than expected at 35%. There were another 1M who formerly had insurance but no longer have insurance today. Most of those came from the 1.6M who left private markets. It’s unclear whether those people simply decided they didn’t want to pay premiums anymore or were adversely impacted by the ACA. In any event, those were voluntary separations.
      http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR656/RAND_RR656.pdf

      As to the cost. Well, my insurance went up a staggering 84 cents per biweekly pay period. I think I can handle it. That’s less than the cost of living, so in real terms my premiums went down. It’s a little hard to see how the ACA will increase rates. The stuff in the ACA that tended to push up rates already happened and even with those factors rate increases slowed year over year. The provisions of the ACA that kicked in this year tend to push down rates. For example, increasing the number of subscribers….that’s the idea behind the mandate.

  20. Hans

    No Reply Link

    baffling
    April 18, 2014 at 9:45 am
    hans,
    “Nick, I have not read a newspaper for 22 years. Are they now
    footnoting comments to the political editors?”
    that is obvious. you listen to right wingnut commentators on the radio and tv!

    Your Baffingship, considering how the progressives control most of America’s
    institutions, why do you begrudge me the opportunity to listen to a few Conservative
    radio stations? I also listen to what is left of Air America and Michael Malone…He is
    a real hoot! How about the F-Bomb dropped last week by Sgt. Schultz? MSNBC,
    must be proud of him.

    Our budget only allows for poverty cable and CNN with Wolf Blitzer…Sorry, no Hacker
    News.

  21. Ricardo

    In 2010, the Obama administration predicted that the employer mandate, on account of its restrictive grandfather clause, would cause more than one-half of all employer-sponsored group health insurance plans to terminate.

    I had forgotten about this until I was reminded today. I remember how smug the administration was becasue of how they were going to transform the insurance industry. Now they are scrambling to push this same employer mandate out beyond what ever election is current. Some of us understood what this would mean in terms of citizens losing health care. Apparently Democrats could not see beyond the end of their noses because they voted with gusto to make sure this happened.

    The largest group of those with health insurance in the country are insured through their employer. I think we can all join together in hoping that the administration is wrong on this one. The sad situation is that they are probably wrong and more than half will lose their coverage. But if even half of those on employee insurance plans are suddenly without insurance in 2015 it will mean near disaster for helath care in America. Health care providers will either not give service or not be paid. If you think it is bad now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  22. 2slugbaits

    Patrick R. Sullivan

    slug, Children’s Hospital in Seattle is one of the finest hospitals for children in the entire world. And has been for decades–my cousin’s life was saved there a half century ago.

    No one said it wasn’t a fine hospital. I wouldn’t know. I only go to Seattle on business (Ft. Lewis). But whether it’s a world class hospital or not is irrelevant to what I said and what the report said. Four of the six plans would not use that hospital because its cost structure was inefficient. Just because a hospital is world class does not mean it is cost efficient. For example, there are plenty of world class university research hospitals that can provide incredible care. My son had to go to one of those world class research hospitals once when he had a seizure and fell into a coma and the usual hospital could not handle a case that severe. That research hospital performed miracles and he’s in college today, but I would never call that hospital cost efficient.

    Remember, Republicans were the ones who insisted that heath insurance reform had to be market based so that inefficient hospitals and doctors would be forced to get their cost structures aligned. My preference would have been single payer, but that was not politically feasible. So what we got was what you guys proposed in the 1990s. Obamacare started out as Romneycare, which started out as the Heritage Foundation’s alternative to Hillarycare. You guys are getting the health insurance reform that you were asking for, so why are you complaining? Gee….could it be because some Democrat named Obama has his name on it? Gosh, I wonder.

  23. baffling

    ricardo,
    “In 2010, the Obama administration predicted that the employer mandate, on account of its restrictive grandfather clause, would cause more than one-half of all employer-sponsored group health insurance plans to terminate.”

    i’d like to see the exact quote for this statement. i would bet it said the policy would terminate because it did not meet the ACA requirements, but not the employee benefit. you are implying a loss of health insurance with your statement, which is either disingenuous or ignorant of the issue. employers are not pulling the benefit, just switching to an approved minimum plan. the employee still has insurance.

  24. Hans

    Nick, the newspapers and most other media outlets are hardly
    a forum for the exercise of fairness and objectivity…

    If Nixon, Raygun and Bush did the things that the current regime
    has done, the MSM would be on the warpath, with wall to wall
    coverage of wrongdoings…

    The MSM, is so bias that to use them in any form as an example
    of “openness” is plainly ridiculous…

    And how can you tell? Look at their political endorsements…

    1. baffling

      hans,
      faux news is the largest news media outlet in the country, so your MSM argument is simply foolish. and any 5 minutes scan of their news offerings will show you wall to wall criticism of obama, for his policies, sleeping patterns, diet, haircuts etc.

      your biased MSM argument is blatantly a lie!

      1. Hans

        I am not sorry to say this but now you are being intellectually dishonest.
        Even I will admit, that national syndicated radio talk shows are predominantly
        controlled by the right.

        The left always uses the Fox News Network as an example, when in fact, it is
        the TV organization which is right wing…The vast majority of TV Networks
        and newspaper, for that matter, have a socialist agenda…If you find that fact
        difficult to grasped, then you are welcomed to join me this summer for Head
        Start tutoring..

        http://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/abc-cbs-nbc-slant-8-1-obamas-gun-control-crusade

        http://www.cybercollege.com/bias.htm

        Baffling, please do not engage on a War on Truth!

        1. baffling

          hans, if i have 3 news organizations, who in aggregate have a fewer number of viewers as 1 Faux news, does this mean the Faux news is the minority media outlet? if you are trying to understand the influence of of conservative media on society, it is the number of viewers not the number of “outlets” that is of importance. you are the one engaging in a war on truth!

          1. Hans

            Your BaffingShip: another social issue for you, viewer inequality! Perhaps your friends
            can run on that.

            You are correct that viewerShip is what counts the most…So let see the numbers

            Hacker News; 2 million
            CNNMSNBC & HL News; 2 million
            ABCCBSNBC; 23 million

            Total of 27 million news viewers; Murdoch controls less than 10%.

            ” faux news is the largest news media outlet in the country, so your MSM argument is simply foolish”

            Foxit News is the largest news cable outlet not the largest news media out…They are
            beaten by all three of the fee free subscription networks.

            https://tv.yahoo.com/news/fox-news-channel-tops-cable-total-viewer-rankings-174719704.html

            http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/category/evening-news-ratings

          2. baffling

            hans, the big networks are not full time news media outlets. they show a couple of hours of news daily. the rest is entertainment. full time news networks-call them cable news if you like-are on basically 24/7. and faux news is not the minority program-they are the ratings leader. as you showed, they have as many viewers as the remaining full time news outlets combined! they spout conservative BS over the entire day! so forgive me if i call bs on your concern about the liberal bias in mainstream news. faux news is mainstream news! your conservative views are being shared, and in overabundance.

  25. Hans

    baffling
    April 21, 2014 at 7:54 am
    hans, you don’t get the money back. it is a tax! it is not an investment scheme. but i suppose this “entitlement” is legit!

    funny how when the poor have an “entitlement” it should be cut back, since they are sitting on their behinds collecting welfare. but for others, the “entitlement” is not welfare. but i bet you will collect more out of medicare than you ever put into the program!

    Baffling, could you enable your reply link?

    Medicare, is a pre-paid entitlement, unlike welfare programs whom do not contribute a single penny..Why we do not even
    ask these parasites to perform “community” service.

    And have you forgotten that Medicare members pay a month fee to the Federal Government? Do welfare clients also
    pay a monthly fee?

  26. Hans

    Nick G
    April 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm
    where do I go to get my mandated premiums back?

    You didn’t pay premiums before you joined Medicare, you paid taxes to pay for the benefits received at the time by seniors. You can’t get them back, just as no one can get back their income taxes.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    An extra tax, which is dedicated to fund one’s retirement health
    care unlike most taxes which just enter the general fund.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    more and more Americans are giving up their citizenship.

    Not many – about 3,000 per year, if I remember correctly. They are almost entirely the very rich, who don’t want to pay taxes.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Nick, does that not distress you? Do we not want to deploy rich
    money in America? And how do you know they left to avoid paying
    taxes? W Buffet, does it rather successfully and he is still in Omaha.
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    It is the tyranny of the majority

    True. But it’s the price of being part of any organization larger than your nuclear family. Everyone has to pay their dues.
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Nick, I do not wish to be forced into your nuclear organization..I do not
    want to be herded with the rest of the cows, into a control pen…A large
    minority are not paying their dues, but benefiting off my labor.
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Hobby Lobby pay ALL employees for religious holidays? Then it must be forcing religion on them too.

    Yes, indeed. Some people really do want to celebrate other holidays.
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Atheists should stand on principal and reject holiday pay for religious
    days off.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    we are in complete agreement !!! God, will judge those harshly whom fail to assist their fellow man.

    I’m glad we agree. I’m hopeful that you will see eventually that you’re being misled by the very rich, who are trying to exploit you with misinformation, precisely because they don’t want to assist their fellow man.

    Why haven’t median wages risen over the last 30 years?? Because economic growth is going to the very rich. Economic growth is supposed to benefit everyone: that’s the justification for inequality. But that’s not happening.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Nick, you are playing the income card…For the left, when governmental
    units’ public policies fail, the classic argument is to blame the successful.
    Almost 50 years war on poverty and more people of welfare now then
    ever, can we blame the Rich?
    The highest employment rate in the past 50 years, can we blame the Rich?
    The highest out of wedlock birthrate in the past 50 years, can we blame
    the Rich?
    The worse declining school test rates in the past 50 years, can we blame
    the Rich?
    The highest gang membership (not including governmental units) in the past
    50 years, can we blame the Rich?
    The highest spending by government units in the past 50 years, can we
    blame the Rich?
    The highest population of illegals in the past 50 years, can we blame the Rich?
    The highest numbers of regulations in the past 50 years, can we blame the Rich?
    The highest underfunded public pensions in the past 50 years, can we blame
    the Rich?
    The highest level of municipal bankruptcies in the past 50 years, can we blame
    the Rich?
    The highest paid compensation to governmental units employees in the past 50
    years, can we blame the Rich?

    All of these issue and more, have arisen during the great expansion of governmental
    units and the decline of judicial independence…We shall continue down this destructive
    byways, until the left is emancipated from their deity – Big Government.

    The suppression of individual liberties, by varies government units and their agencies
    are too copious to mention.

    When the collective Organization reigns over the individuals – the end for liberty is near.
    Those that seek security over freedom shall have neither.

    1. Nick G

      An extra tax, which is dedicated to fund one’s retirement health care unlike most taxes which just enter the general fund.

      It’s dedicated, but that’s not unusual. The same is true for gas taxes for road maintenance.

      More importantly, it doesn’t fund “one’s” retirement health care, it funds someone else’s retirement health care. Just as now, other people are funding yours. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s a perfectly good system. But, the taxes you paid previously didn’t fund it. Those taxes paid for other people’s health care, when they needed it, and now it’s paying for yours, now that you need it. Just like TANF (aka welfare) and SNAP (aka food stamps).

      does that not distress you? Do we not want to deploy rich money in America?

      Of course. But doesn’t it distress you that these people are unwilling to help the less fortunate, which is their obligation? Instead, they’re running away.

      And how do you know they left to avoid paying taxes?

      Because they say so. It’s not hard to ask them, because there aren’t many of them.

      I do not wish to be forced into your nuclear organization..I do not want to be herded with the rest of the cows, into a control pen

      You are already here. Are you willing to pay your share, or do you want to be a parasite, getting and not giving?

      …A large minority are not paying their dues, but benefiting off my labor.

      Do you know the numbers? The average benefit from food stamps isn’t large, and many people who get them are the working poor, who are working hard but still can’t get enough money.

      Seriously – have you looked at the numbers? Have you compared the money spend on military, vs the amount spent on food stamps?

      SNAP (aka welfare) costs about $75 billion per year. That’s roughly 2.5% of the Federal budget. On the other hand, the military costs about $750B. I want to know where I go to get back what I’ve paid into that, because I didn’t especially agree to it.

        1. Nick G

          Hans,

          What’s included in that $3.4T? That’s $680B per year.

          TANF (aka ADC aka welfare) is only about $17B per year. SNAP (aka food stamps aka farmer subsidies) costs about $75 billion per year. Together they’re about $90B per year.

          I looked at the link in your comment, but I didn’t see the connection: the author suggests that members of the “left” are generally calling the “right” terrorists (which I haven’t observed), and and argues that proves something about the intentions behind the Affordable Care Act. I can’t follow that logic.

  27. Nick G

    Medicare, is a pre-paid entitlement

    No, it really isn’t. You have to work a certain number of “quarters” to qualify, but it’s not pre-paid. All off the money paid in this currently by workers goes to pay benefits – it’s not banked or invested. A small portion in the past went into a trust fund in order to smooth out funding, but that’s not the major source of funding.

    It is an entitlement, just like many other programs, like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

    unlike welfare programs whom do not contribute a single penny..Why we do not even ask these parasites to perform “community” service.

    What programs are you thinking of, specifically?? Almost everyone on TANF or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP aka Food Stamps) are there temporarily – they paid for it for other people when they were working, and they’ll pay for it again.

    This comes under the category of taking care of those less fortunate. Unfortunately, the very wealthy are trying to shirk their obligation to do that, and trying to convince all the rest of us that the unfortunate are just bad people who deserve their fate.

  28. baffling

    hans
    “Medicare, is a pre-paid entitlement, unlike welfare programs whom do not contribute a single penny..Why we do not even
    ask these parasites to perform “community” service.”

    your perspective: welfare folks do not pay into the system, but they get something out. so net they take from the government-hence they are “parasites”.

    hans, over your lifetime, you will take more out of medicare than you ever paid into the program. from my perspective, then you are the same as those “parasites” you are so against. you are a net taker from the government.

    “And have you forgotten that Medicare members pay a month fee to the Federal Government? ”
    you do not have to continue in medicare. drop out. quit being a parasite onto the system!

    hans, it is time you open your eyes to the hypocritical nature of your arguments. in the words of mitt, you are one of “those” people.

      1. baffling

        hans, you were not required to pay medicare. you chose to pay a premium each year going forward, because you cannot afford private health insurance at your age. money paid in the past was an income tax. if you chose not to work, you would not have paid the tax. you have already been educated on general and dedicated taxes earlier in this post-they are still a tax.

        and you are most definitely going to be a taker. you really think you will collect less out of your medicare insurance going forward than you paid into the system-even including interest? that is a fantasy land. you will be obtaining medical care because i am paying into the system today, to fund your retirement health care. you are going to live off the governments dime, just like a “parasite” as you so eloquently described. or you could drop out of medicare. but i bet you won’t do that!

        hans, face it, you hate all the “parasites” living off of “other peoples” money, but you simply deny that you are doing the same thing. very hypocritical.

        1. Hans

          Baffing, first Medicare is not an income tax but rather a payroll tax…

          It is a tax because it allows CONgress to impose this burden upon
          taxpayers…As the Demcos call it – PAY/GO.

          This requires anyone earning a living, to pre-paid for future benefits.
          I am surprise you can not make the distinction between paying for
          SS and Medicare and those on Welfare…One labors for their mandated
          benefits while the other simply reports to the Welfare office…

          Both receive taxpayer benefits but only one pre-pays along with monthly
          premiums when enrolled…Those on Welfare do neither…Thus to suggest
          that mandated enrollees of social programs are also parasites, shows an
          inability to reason with the undue pressure of being a bias redistributionist..

          “you are going to live off the governments dime, just like a “parasite” as you so eloquently described. or you could drop out of medicare. but i bet you won’t do that!”

          Why would anyone pay for a membership and then not use it? Your statement
          is illogical as you want it both ways…Perhaps you could suggest I do the same
          thing with my Social Insecurity.

          Your premises are beyond the pale – laughable… : < )

          http://freebeacon.com/issues/administration-has-missed-more-than-half-of-obamacare-deadlines/

  29. baffling

    hans,
    a payroll tax is a tax on your income. don’t play word games when you are incorrect.

    welfare is also paid for through federal income tax. most people on welfare at some point will have had earned income-and hence paid an income tax. of course they are not paying into the program as the collect welfare. what kind of moron would expect somebody on welfare to pay a tax to stay on welfare. again a stupid argument on your part.

    i suggest you skip out of both medicare and social security, because they are social programs and you are anti-social. i do not want you to continue to pay a monthly premium into medicare, as i know you hate being told by the government what to do. take your monthly premium and buy private insurance instead. and again, regarding social security, why are you continuing to participate in a “social” program? or i’ll make a deal with you, take your social security check until you have cashed out what you paid into the system. then back out of this social system and go your own way. hypocrite!

  30. Hans

    Your BafflingShip:

    “what kind of moron would expect somebody on welfare to pay a tax to stay on welfare.”

    Well, certainly not a redistributionist like yourself.

    I would remove myself from the SS and M roll, if you return my
    money compounded at 5% over forty years.

    The only thing that the left cares about the right, is their money..

    And you call me a Hypo, please stop, you are killing me with your
    cracker box logic…

    1. baffling

      sorry hans, you can’t ask for a refund on a tax because you disagree with its application. but you can stop paying premiums on your subsidized medicare health insurance policy.

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