We know the ACA is about maximizing health industry profit and it does that in spades. We know as well that laws are being implemented in states across the country making sure the public has no recourse as medical malpractice and deaths soar from a declining, third world level of health care sets in if this is allowed to continue. Before I talk about more laws MD has plans to implement----REMEMBER---THEY SEE NO HEALTH FRAUD!---let's make the big deal statement: THE GOAL OF THESE PRIVATE HEALTH SYSTEMS IS TO TAKE ALL OF THE MEDICARE/MEDICAID AND PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR HEALTH POLICIES AND PROVIDE MOSTLY PREVENTATIVE CARE ACCESS FOR MOST PEOPLE. Remember, there are already global health insurance corporations attached to global corporations giving strong health coverage to 10% of the US population. That is all these corporate pols see as necessary as these health systems look overseas for the health care business of the wealthy.
Here's the riot act....why have you not heard any of this?
The Affordable Care Act is all about making public health into global corporations working only to maximize corporate profit at people's expense. Period. I am a progressive democrats telling you that private state health systems are being created simply to handle all of the Medicare/Medicaid and public sector health plans that will be thrown into this system to end the public programs and the access people will have to health care will be minimal.
It was another neo-liberal--Clinton, who ended Welfare just as he signed the free trade agreement and broke the Glass Steagall wall creating these global markets that took all jobs overseas. He did that because he knew poverty was going to become deep and broad and didn't want this social safety net around to mitigate the problems. This is why we have had two decades of escalating poverty, crime, and violence in our poor communities.
Well, Obama is doing the same to Entitlements and public/private sector health plans. He is creating a system that allows business to shed good health coverage and sends it to a state system that is mostly about preventative care access and little specialty access. You know, the care that saves your life. So, yet another neo-liberal is doing the work of republicans in ending War on Poverty/New Deal programs. Republican voters had better get with labor and justice because you too will fear this pain!
Pharma & Healthcare
7/26/2013 @ 10:55AM |141,493 views
IRS Employees Union Is 'Very Concerned' About Being Required To Enroll In Obamacare's Health Insurance Exchanges
Former acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) C...
Former acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Steve Miller (R) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George are sworn in before testifying before a full House Ways and Means committee hearing on 'Internal Revenue Service Targeting Conservative Groups' on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 17, 2013. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)
In the private sector, many workers are concerned about losing their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, and being dumped into Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges. Two weeks ago, representatives of three large labor unions fired off a harsh letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, complaining that Obamacare would “shatter…our hard-earned health benefits” and create “nightmare scenarios” for their members. Today, we learn that the National Treasury Employees Union—the union that includes employees of the Internal Revenue Service—is asking its members to write letters to their Congressmen, stating that they are “very concerned” about legislative efforts requiring IRS and Treasury employees to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges.
“I am a federal employee and one of your constituents,” the letter begins. “I am very concerned about legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Dave Camp to push federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and into the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”
Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.), the representative referred to in the letter, is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee in the House that is responsible for tax legislation. (Obamacare’s insurance subsidies are technically tax credits.) In April, Camp introduced legislation to put all federal employees on the exchanges, in response to reports that members of Congress and their staff were seeking an exemption from the provision in Obamacare that requires them to enroll in the exchanges.
“If the ObamaCare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress, and federal employees,” said Camp’s spokeswoman in a statement at the time.
There is one legitimate issue regarding members of Congress and their staff enrolling in the exchanges. Today, federal employees are offered subsidies, or vouchers, which they can use to shop for insurance on the popular federal employees’ exchange, called the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. Because Obamacare was drafted so hastily, it’s not clear whether the law allows similar subsidies to flow to federal employees on the Obamacare exchanges.
We’re still awaiting a ruling from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on that front. For inexplicable reasons, OPM has not clarified whether or not the government will be allowed to funnel subsidies through the Obamacare exchanges.
Nonetheless, it would be a very good thing for some federal employees to eat their own cooking, especially those who work for Congress, the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services. They’re the ones who are writing the Obamacare regulations; they’re the ones who, in many cases, wrote the law itself. The IRS enforces Obamacare’s individual mandate and eligibility for the exchange subsidies, among other provisions.
They should be required to enroll in the same Obamacare exchanges that tens of millions of private citizens will have to. They should have to experience the same premium increases and limited flexibility that other Americans will endure there. Maybe then, we’ll start to build a constituency for market-based reform.
Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage is the private health insurance arm of Medicare and was created just to allow private industry an in to the publicly run Medicare system. It doesn't take a rocket-scientist to see that this private health system will become the recipient of not only the corporate policies talked of here----but all Medicare funds. Can you see how much money will hit the stock market when all Medicare is privatized? It will be just like the FHA Federal Housing Authority given to Wall Street with the Freddie public private partnership that blew the industry up with fraud. Same thing now with Medicare and Medicaid.
Insurance Exchanges Can Aid Some Medicare Beneficiaries
by Michelle Andrews
October 17, 201211:56 AM Partner content from:
Increasingly, companies are contracting with Medicare exchanges to try to ease the transition for their former employees.
Michael McCloskey/iStockphoto.com When D. Sloan Hill retired 20 years ago at age 65 from his job in public affairs for a major manufacturing company, his former employer provided a health insurance plan that filled in the gaps in his Medicare coverage. It was a good arrangement—until the end of last year when the company discontinued his private coverage, and Hill had to figure out what to do.
He got a helping hand from an unexpected quarter: A company called that operates a Medicare exchange — a for Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Medicare prescription drug plans from dozens of companies around the country. Working by telephone with an Extend Health insurance counselor, Hill eventually signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan near his home in Bessemer, Ala.
The experience was a positive one, says Hill. "Otherwise, I would have had to do a lot of research on my own, which would have been time consuming and very confusing," he says.
The long, slow demise of company-sponsored retiree health insurance continues. In 2011, just 16 percent of employers with 500 or more employees offered medical insurance to their Medicare-eligible retirees, down from 40 percent in 1993.
Increasingly, companies with Medicare exchanges like Extend Health to try to ease the transition for their former employees.
"Many employers are very paternalistic about their retirees," says Bruce Richards, chief actuary and quality leader of health care business for the consulting firm Mercer.
Individual retirees may be able to use the exchanges as well. Trained insurance counselors work with people to figure out what's the best option for them depending on their priorities. (The counselors generally rely on salary rather than commission, but other sales incentives may factor into their pay.)
In Hill's case, he was primarily interested in ensuring he could go to his regular doctors. Working with a counselor, they learned that his doctors were part of the Medicare Advantage plan network.
With 10,000 people 65 every day, the market for Medicare exchanges is likely to keep growing, says Richards.
Remember that Reagan in the 1980s tripled payroll taxes on workers just so there would be plenty of funding for baby boomers hitting Medicare and then Reagan sent those funds to the Treasury and not the Trusts. Trillions of dollars in Social Security and Medicare payroll tax payments sent to the Treasury. Also, remember that 1/2 of entitlement spending has been stolen through health industry fraud these few decades and simply needs to be recovered......more trillions of dollars coming back to the Trusts. So, what is this new tale of Medicare funding running out in 2024? This is probably all that is left from payroll taxes added to the Trusts before Reagan.
The Visigoths stole our health care funding and now they intend to simply send Medicare into these private health systems where it will become Medicaid-level health coverage with little access to specialty care. THIS IS FOR WHAT OBAMA AND NEO-LIBERALS MADE THIS HEALTH REFORM.
STOP ALLOWING NEO-LIBERALS TO CONTROL THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BY RUNNING AND VOTING FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE! If your labor and justice organization is not running candidates in all primaries-----they are not working for you and me!
Strangely, given the recent acrimony, the two parties' positions on health exchanges are almost mirror images.
On May 13, Medicare's trustees predicted that the program's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which helps cover benefits for future retirees, would be exhausted by 2024, five years earlier than predicted last year.
Health Exchanges: Common Ground for Medicare Reform?
By Peter Coy June 02, 2011 (Corrects fourth paragraph to clarify that the quote from Frakt was the title of a blog post.)
Medicare is on track to consume 7 percent of gross domestic product by 2035, double the current level, according to a Congressional Budget Office scenario that incorporates widely expected developments. On May 13, Medicare's trustees predicted that the program's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which helps cover benefits for future retirees, would be exhausted by 2024, five years earlier than predicted last year.
Yet politicians are stalemated over competing fixes. "It's very sad," says Stuart M. Butler, director of the Center for Policy Innovation at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "Both sides know there's got to be a conversation."
STORY: The Four Things You Need to Know About Obamacare's First Day Policy experts searching for something that might form the nucleus of a compromise are turning to the not-so-new concept of health exchanges. These are virtual marketplaces in which consumers shop for standardized health insurance policies. The government provides a subsidy to help many buy policies, with the amount greatest for the poor and the sick.
Health exchanges appeal to Republicans because they foster competition and offer choice, and to Democrats because in at least some versions they ensure a minimum level of coverage regardless of income. Exchanges are supposed to create incentives to keep people healthy at the least possible cost. "More cabbage, fewer CABGs," is the title of a blog post by Boston University professor and and health blogger Austin Frakt, using the acronym for coronary artery bypass grafts. "The real action is fundamentally reorganizing the delivery of care," and exchanges that make people better shoppers are a component of that, albeit not the only one, says Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber, who has consulted for Democrats on health care.
Strangely, given the recent acrimony, the two parties' positions on health exchanges are almost mirror images. The deficit-reduction plan devised by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) contemplates health exchanges only for people 65 and older. President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has them only for those who have not reached the age of Medicare eligibility. Alice M. Rivlin, White House budget director under President Bill Clinton, sees that divergence as an opportunity for compromise. "Chairman Ryan has had trouble explaining why he is for exchanges in his Medicare reform and against them in ACA, and President Obama has the opposite problem," Rivlin, a Brookings Institution senior fellow, wrote on May 16 on The American Square blog.
BLOG: Another Hiccup for Obamacare’s Small Business Marketplaces In a May 31 interview, Rivlin suggested the parties could meet in the middle on a plan that she and retired Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) advanced last year as co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force. A compromise would incorporate health exchanges into Medicare while keeping traditional fee-for-service care alive as one alternative. "There hasn't been a serious bipartisan negotiation," Rivlin says. "That has to happen."
Boston University economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff agrees with Rivlin that the Ryan plan for Medicare is strikingly similar to the Obama plan for working-age Americans. He says Democrats should embrace it for that reason, with two changes: Ryan's cost-cutting proposals should extend to current retirees, not only those turning 65 starting in 2022. And Kotlikoff says Ryan's ceiling on spending growth is unrealistically low. He would allow Medicare to grow at the same pace as the overall economy.
Not everyone is convinced that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground on health exchanges. Robert E. Moffit, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Policy Innovation, says the two sides' aspirations for them are too different. Conservatives, he says, favor state-level exchanges with light regulation, while liberals want a single national exchange that, in his opinion, would be a stepping stone to single-payer health care. Says Moffit: "People on both sides of the ideological spectrum have written in favor of health exchanges, but I can promise you that they don't mean the same thing."
STORY: What the GOP Has to Love About Obamacare The only way to keep health-care costs from devouring the federal budget is to get all participants in the system working together. "We have amazing clinicians and technologies but little consistent sense that they come together to provide an actual system of care from start to finish," Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston and writer for The New Yorker, told Harvard Medical School graduates in May. He encouraged them to function like members of a racetrack pit crew. The hope for health exchanges is that they can help bring about that kind of change.
WHY ARE PEOPLE SITTING SILENTLY AS THEY DECONSTRUCT ALL SOCIAL SAFETY NETS---MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY BECAUSE ALL THE MONEY IN THESE TRUSTS HAVE BEEN STOLEN THROUGH CORPORATE FRAUD?
What percentage of US citizens will fall into the Bronze and at most, Silver plans that have a 30-40% co-pay and high deductibles? Remember that the percentage of US citizens at or just above poverty is 75% and growing. Neo-liberals plan to send Medicare and Medicaid to these state private health systems----how many seniors will be in the Bronze category---95%. THE GOAL OF HEALTH REFORM IS TO MAXIMIZE CORPORATE PROFIT BY GETTING MOST PEOPLE OUT OF HEALTH CARE ACCESS.
Bronze, silver, gold or platinum? Understanding the new coverage
levels under health care reform SHARE Marcus Pickett When the federal health insurance mandate goes into effect, most Americans will be required to get health insurance. Yet those shopping in the individual market will have a choice of what kind of plan they get -- because the health insurance exchanges will be required to offer four coverage levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
What do the coverage levels mean?
The difference among these coverage tiers rests with their "actuarial" value -- in other words, how much a plan will cover before the patient must chip in for co-insurance, deductibles and co-payments.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the actuarial values for the four levels of coverage are:
- Bronze: 60 percent.
- Silver: 70 percent.
- Gold: 80 percent.
- Platinum: 90 percent.
All plans, whether bronze, silver, gold or platinum, will cover certain essential health benefits determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, such as ambulatory services, emergency care, maternity care and prescription drugs.
The silver standard
You may have heard that health care reform caps the amount of your income you have to spend on health insurance. If your premiums exceed a certain percent of your income, you'll be eligible for "premium assistance subsidies" to help defray the cost. For example, if your income is between 300 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you can't spend more than 9.5 percent of your income on premiums. So, if your premiums can cost only a fixed percent of your income, why wouldn't you just go straight for a platinum-level plan?
Here's the answer: The premium caps are based on the silver health plan. According to the Congressional Budget Office, subsidy levels in each market are tied to the premiums of the second cheapest silver plan. So, if you go with the second cheapest silver-level plan available in your market and you make between 300 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you won't have to spend more than 9.5 percent of your income on premiums. However, if you opt for a gold or platinum plan, you'll have to make up the difference in costs between that plan and the silver plan.
If you or your family members have chronic health problems, you may want a gold or platinum plan because these plans cover more costs. But what if you can't afford to pay the difference between that higher-tier plan and the silver plan? Variations on the basic plans are available for those with lower incomes. These more affordable variations are based on what's called the "HSA level," according to Kaiser.
To understand the HSA level, it's necessary to understand how health savings accounts (HSAs) work. HSAs are high-deductible plans that involve high out-of-pocket costs. However, these out-of-pocket amounts are capped (as of 2011) at $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
These same caps apply to bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans -- no matter which plan you get, your out-of-pocket spending for the year is capped at $5,950 (if you have an individual plan) or $11,900 (if you have a family plan). Those with lower incomes can get plans with lower spending caps. In other words, you'll be paying the same amount in premiums but spending less in out-of-pocket costs like co-insurance.
For example, according to Kaiser:
- Households between 100 percent and 150 percent of the federal poverty level can get a plan that covers 94 percent of costs (more than a platinum-level plan would) with an out-of-pocket spending cap that's one-third of the standard HSA level.
- Households between 150 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level can get a plan that covers 87 percent of costs (more than gold, less than platinum) with an out-of-pocket spending cap that's one-third of the standard HSA level.
- Households between 200 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level can get a plan that covers 73 percent of costs (just above the silver level) with an out-of-pocket spending cap that's one-half of the standard HSA level.
- Households between 250 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level can get a silver plan with an out-of-pocket spending cap that's one-half of the standard HSA level.
- Households between 300 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level can get a silver plan with an out-of-pocket spending cap that's two-thirds of the standard HSA level.