The PJ Tatler

Big News in the New Year: Obamacare Is Still a Total Disaster

I’ve been away from Tatler for the last couple of weeks on vacation/holiday, with family visiting from way out of town, as in Tokyo. I avoided the news for most of that time, knowing that if I did jump into the headlines even once, I’d be right here writing instead of taking the time off. It’s a news junkie’s life — you so much as glance at a fleeting headline and pretty soon you’re composing a few paragraphs in your head.

But, while I was gone, the headlines didn’t change much. Barack Obama is still the most dishonest president America has ever had, and his signature law is still a hurricane threatening to blow the economy down in 2014, when the employer mandate finally kicks in for real.

Even before that happens, Obamacare is costing one Oregon mom her family insurance.

Kate Holly, 33, tells KOIN-TV that she originally championed President Barack Obama’s signature health care law because she thought it would help people in her situation.

“I’ve been a cheerleader for the Affordable Care Act since I heard about it and I assumed that it was designed for people in my situation,” Holly, a freelance yoga instructor, told KOIN. “I was planning on using the Affordable Care Act and I had done the online calculator in advance to make sure I was going to be able to afford it.”

Holly’s husband works for a non-profit organization that pays for his health care, but the couple is unable to afford to have her and their son covered under his plan. And she’s been told their combined income is too much to qualify for a subsidized health care plan under Cover Oregon.

“It wasn’t until I started the process and got an agent that I started hearing from them I wasn’t going to qualify for subsidies because I qualify on my husband’s insurance,” she told KOIN.

Geez, you can even plan to ramp up your dependence on government in the Obama economy.

But at least the 2.1 million who the government says have signed up for Obamacare are getting health care now, right? Er, wrong.

Patients in a close-in DC suburb who think they’ve signed up for new insurance plans are struggling to show their December enrollments are in force, and health care administrators aren’t taking their word for it.

In place of quick service and painless billing, these Virginians are now facing the threat of sticker-shock that comes with bills they can’t afford.

‘They had no idea if my insurance was active or not!’ a coughing Maria Galvez told MailOnline outside the Inova Healthplex facility in the town of Springfield.

She was leaving the building without getting a needed chest x-ray.

‘The people in there told me that since I didn’t have an insurance card, I would be billed for the whole cost of the x-ray,’ Galvez said, her young daughter in tow. ‘It’s not fair – you know, I signed up last week like I was supposed to.’

The x-ray’s cost, she was told, would likely be more than $500.

She enrolled three days before Christmas. She hasn’t been sent a bill and the docs can’t find any record of her having coverage. But even if the hospital had taken her coverage as good, it may not have mattered. The plan she bought carries a $5500 per-person deductible. That’s “coverage” in Obama’s America.

If you’ve had a new baby lately, well, you may be stuck without coverage. The geniuses who built Obamacare didn’t make it simple to add a new kid to your existing health plan, according to the AP.

There’s another quirk in the Obama administration’s new health insurance system: It lacks a way for consumers to quickly and easily update their coverage for the birth of a baby and other common life changes.

With regular private insurance, parents just notify the health plan. Insurers will still cover new babies, the administration says, but parents will also have to contact the government at some point later on.

Right now the website can’t handle such updates.

It’s a reminder that the new coverage for many uninsured Americans comes with a third party in the mix: the feds. And the system’s wiring for some vital federal functions isn’t yet fully connected.

As long as Obamacare is on the books, we’ll be reporting every major life change to the federal government — births, deaths, marriages, divorces, everything that can impact your economic standing in any way and therefore your connection to Obamacare. If you like your police state, Obamacare will let you keep your police state.

We’re not done yet, as you’ll see on the next page.

The Obama government is bragging that Obamacare is causing a surge in Medicare and Medicaid enrollment. That’s more dependence on government, and it will strain state budgets. But one of the selling points for Obamacare was that it would at least lessen the non-emergency use of emergency rooms.

Turns out, not so much, according to a study published in Science. Increasing the use of Medicaid actually increases the overuse of emergency rooms.

We find that Medicaid coverage significantly increases overall emergency use by 0.41 visits per person, or 40 percent relative to an average of 1.02 visits per person in the control group. We find increases in emergency-department visits across a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subgroups, including increases in visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.

The New York Times follows up here. Boosting enrollment in Medicaid is only a success if Obama intended to bankrupt states while making ERs so busy they can’t keep up with new demand.

So for those keeping score, Obamacare does exactly none of what Barack Obama promised it would do. It isn’t bending the cost curve down for the government, it isn’t making premiums go down for individuals and families, it isn’t making the insurance market friendlier to business, it isn’t increasing access (it’s actually shrinking plans and driving many doctors out of practice), it isn’t going to decrease the overuse of ERs, and for those who had coverage that they liked, it’s now threatened thanks to this craptacular law. Soon enough, the insurance companies who thought they were being dealt an inside straight and mandated business for the rest of all time will find out that they have been essentially turned into public utilities, with the government “strongly suggesting” that they do things that make no economic sense for them. The government has ways of making such suggestions that the insurance industry will find that it cannot refuse.