Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

Employee-Benefits-940x4501Another ObamaCare delay: executives can give themselves better benefits than they offer workers. (I believe this was supposed to kick in in 2010.)

President Obama: “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.”

Less than 5% of the people who visited Healthcare.gov signed up.

For nearly 4 in 10 (37 percent) people the subsidy wasn’t significant enough to get them to enroll.

Doctor offers to trade vasectomy for playoff tickets.

Comments (18)

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  1. Jacob W. says:

    You can mark me as part of the 95% who visited healthcare.gov and couldn’t handle the glitches.

    • Matthew says:

      So less than 5% of individuals were foolish enough to put their information in an insecure website.

  2. Joel M. says:

    “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.”

    It is sad that in 2014 there is some truth to this.

    • Andrew says:

      However, I just dislike his health care reform, spying on citizens, government shutdown and attempts on SOPA.

    • Jeff A. says:

      It is sad that this is still a topic, yet Obama is using this as his scapegoat. His low popularity is hurting his governability and he will not blame his faulty policies for his low ratings. He needs to point something as the root of his unpopularity, and it is him who is bringing the racial topic up to discussion. Kennedy was the first Catholic president, yet he never used his religion as an excuse when thing were against his favor. The question is why the President is involving a topic that shouldn’t be a factor in this day and age?

  3. Jay says:

    “44.5 million people called or visited state and federal websites they said, presumably indicating broad interest in the new benefit.”

    And how many were stuck on the website due to faulty servers.

  4. Frank S. says:

    Give us a break Mr. President, it is not your race what makes you unpopular, it is everything you have done (or not done) since your election to make us think that you are not a good President.

  5. Thomas G. says:

    “They were designed in Washington to suit political prerogatives rather than being designed in the marketplace to meet the demand of consumers […] that’s the fundamental problem with Obamacare. It meets the needs of very poor people because you’re giving them health insurance for free. But it doesn’t really meet the needs of healthy people and middle-class people.”
    ACA is a program that does not bring real solutions to a system that is filled with issues. In fact, I believe that Obamacare will bring issues to the American economy in the long run.

  6. Greg C. says:

    Things are going from bad to worse to Obamacare. One of the key items of the ACA is that the IRS will implement tax penalties to those who do not follow the mandate. It is unbelievable that the IRS is claiming, after three years since the law was passed, that it is not going to be able to enforce a portion of the mandate yet. If Obamacare required employers to provide the same insurance to all of its employees, how come the IRS is not ready to enforce it? It is essential for ACA, that the IRS is capable of enforcing the mandate. If people are not forced to buy insurance the whole program is at risk.

  7. Patrick H. says:

    The doctor’s offer may seem ridiculous, but is a reflection on American society. The doctor realizes that in this country many would rather invest their money in a playoff ticket than in a medical procedure. For him it is a win-win situation, he gets media coverage, gets a new patient and gets to go to the playoff game. For the guy who trades it is a great opportunity especially if he is uninsured. A medical procedure for a playoff game ticket, it’s worth it. It is disappointing to think about it, but probably it is easier for an uninsured individual to buy a playoff ticket than to afford a vasectomy.

  8. Matthew says:

    “Doctor offers to trade vasectomy for playoff tickets.”

    That doesn’t sound like a very pleasant exchange.

  9. Bob Hertz says:

    The Avik Roy article does a nice job of showing how difficult it will be to solve the uninsurance problem by “selling” people on the idea of buying expensive health coverage.

    Here is an alternative:

    Keep the penalty tax that goes with the mandate, but use the tax to buy federal catastrophic health insurance.

    Now, one per cent of income is not enough for this, but let’s try three per cent of income as the penalty for not having health insurance.

    The three per cent goes directly to Medicare for a new all-ages high deductible catastrophic plan.
    If an uninsured person gets seriously ill, Medicare would come in and pay the bills after a deductible of at least $5,000.

    We could also ask those private employers who do not provide health insurance to kick in an extra per cent or two of payroll. They would just add this to their biweekly FICA submissions.

    Now hard core libertarians will protest against this.
    The stingiest employers will rebel at paying five cents in extra taxes.

    But this is a heck of lot cheaper and less disruptive than Obamacare!

    Bob Hertz, The Health Care Crusade

  10. Barry Carol says:

    Bob Hertz –

    I think we need to reserve judgment until all this plays out. The Massachusetts experience shows that healthier people tend to sign up later than sick people and the deadline for this open enrollment period is still over two months away. Moreover, the penalty will increase over the next couple of years to $695 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater. A Bronze plan, especially with subsidies, would likely cost less than that for a young person.

    Also, a policy with a $5,000 deductible would only cost about 25%-30% less than a zero deductible policy all else equal. Many Bronze plans already include a deductible of $6,350 with an OOP of the same amount. For employers, the employee share of family coverage, even for federal government employees, already exceeds 3% of income for anyone who makes less than $100K annually. Most employers would dump employee coverage if they could cover their employees for a piddling 5% in payroll taxes only two percentage points of which they would nominally pay with the other three percentage points withheld from employee paychecks. Employer provided health insurance costs a significantly higher percentage of payrolls than that today.

    In the end, we would wind up with a grossly underfunded single payer system which would necessitate a hefty VAT or a sharp increase in income taxes especially at the high end of the income distribution or both. Is that really what you want?

  11. Bob Hertz says:

    Good points, Barry. I am getting the feeling that when it comes to the uninsured, all the cures may be worse for the economy than the disease.

    Maybe we should just continue to shovel some money towards hospitals through the Medicare Dis. Share Program, expand Medicaid, limit medical debt collection monstrosities, and otherwise let the uninsured stay uninsured.

    • Barry Carol says:

      Bob –

      I think you’re last comment has merit. An article in the NYT today talks about greater than expected Medicaid expansion in WV with most of the people signing up being previously uninsured. While there are lots of questions around how much access to healthcare actually improves the health of the poor, the peace of mind that comes with just having insurance greatly improves mental health and reduces the incidence of depression among this population.

      I’ve said before that I’ve had my share of health challenges over the last 20 years but always had good comprehensive health insurance that paid most of the bills and got me access to good care. I wouldn’t have wanted to face those challenges without health insurance and I don’t think anyone else should have to either. It troubles me that many Republicans just don’t seem to get that. It also bothers me that Democrats don’t get the need for sensible tort reform because they are too beholden to trial lawyers for campaign contributions.