Small Businesses Get Sobering Dose Of Reality as Health Insurers Reveal Their Rates For 2015

BY MICHAEL HAUSAM (17 HOURS AGO) |

Although the Obama administration has yet to release the federal healthcare premiums for 2015, some private insurers have.

One of them in Minnesota has indicated that they will be showing increases of up to 60% for their ACA-compliant policies. Preferred One, the largest and lowest-cost provider of health insurance in the state, pulled out of the state’s MNsure exchange last month due to its being “unsustainable.”

Alycia Riedl, with the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters, commented on the news:

You’ve gotta remember that the majority of consumers who have individual health insurance policies did not buy them through MNsure; most of them are outside of MNsure at this point and so they haven’t received their renewals yet; and as they start to receive them, they’re going to understand that they have significant increases facing them.
Furthermore, a study was also just released that surveyed 2,600 businesses around the state, finding that 74% said prices of healthcare insurance increased after the law went into effect and that most of these increases were over 10%.

Years ago, economist and author Dr. Thomas Sowell warned of the problems that would accompany a universal, government-mandated healthcare system:

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer “universal health care.”
Despite repeated assurances from the Obama administration that this would not be the case and that lowering costs was a fundamental tenet of the plan at its passing, it seems that in practice it is not working out this way.

In fact, it’s working out in precisely the opposite way: Not only are rates increasing, but they are increasing at extremely high levels.

JUDICIAL WATCH: CONGRESS OBTAINED OBAMACARE COVERAGE, SUBSIDIES ‘THROUGH FRAUD’

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No surprise there

(CNSNews.com) – At a Wednesday press conference to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging health insurance coverage for members of Congress through the District of Columbia’s small business exchange, Judicial Watch President Thomas Fitton called the arrangement “fraud.”

Fitton based his remarks on the D.C. law requiring small businesses to have 50 employees or less to get insurance through the small business exchange, and on documents obtained by the government watchdog group through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority.

“The documents we’ve obtained from the D.C. Health exchange show that every member of Congress who is enrolled in Obamacare has obtained their insurance coverage and any taxpayers subsidies through fraud,” Fitton said at the event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

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http://www.mrctv.org/videos/judicial-watch-president-members-congress-enrolled-obamacare-obtained-insurance-and-subsidies-through-fraud

“The District of Columbia government should not be a party to this fraud and should stop allowing Congress to participate in an exchange created for small D.C. businesses,” he said.

Local [D.C.] tax dollars are “helping to further this fraud,” Fitton said.

“At least 12,359 members of Congress, Congressional staffers and their spouses and dependents currently purchase health insurance in D.C.’s small business exchange even though Congress far exceeds D.C. law’s 50 employee limit for participating in the exchange,” Fitton said.

He added that with a total of 14,289 people signed up through the small business exchange, members of Congress, staff, spouses and dependants make up about 86 percent of all enrollees between October 2013 and September 2014.

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Among the documents obtained by Judicial Watch are applications submitted to the D.C. exchange by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The applications show that the signers, which were redacted on the FOIA documents, must “attest that I employ 50 or fewer full-time employers.”

On the Nov. 25, 2013 House application, the first name given is “Twenty” and the last name given is “Congress.” The date of birth is listed at 01/01/1994.

Kirby Vining
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit challenging the health insurance coverage for members of Congress through the D.C. small business exchange on behalf of Kirby Vining, a D.C. resident and former federal worker. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of D.C. resident and taxpayer Kirby Vining, was filed with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Civil Division on Wednesday. It names Mila Kofman, executive director of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, and the authority itself as defendants.

As CNSNews.com reported on Nov. 5, 2013, the Executive Branch’s Office of Personnel Management issued a federal regulation allowing Congress to be treated as a small business, even if Congress employs more than 11,000 staffers and spent $4,329,000,000 on its own operations in fiscal 2013.

The regulation says in part: “OPM has determined that the DC SHOP, known as the DC Health Link Small Business Market administered by the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, is the appropriate SHOP from which Members of Congress and designated congressional staff will purchase health insurance in order to receive a Government contribution. OPM intends to work with the DC Health Benefits Exchange to implement this rule.”

CNSNews.com also reported on federal subsidies to help members of Congress pay for their Obamacare plan through OPM’s regulation.

The OPM created the regulation “so that the Treasury can pay federal subsidies of up to $11,378 per year to help members of the House and Senate and their staff buy health-insurance plans in the Obamacare ‘Small Business Health Options Program’ (SHOP) Marketplace set up for ‘small employers’ in Washington, D.C.

“The regulation treats this federal tax subsidy paid by the U.S. Treasury as if it were an ‘employer contribution’ made by the owner of a small business,” CNSNews.com reported.

Fitton said he hopes the court rules in his client’s favor.

“We’re asking the court to declare that the House and the Senate’s participation in the Small Business Exchange be unlawful,” Fitton said.

That client said he looks forward to his “day in court.”

“The District government should obey its own legal mandate and stop allowing Congress to participate in an exchange created to help small D.C. businesses,” said Vining, who is a retired federal worker. “I’m looking forward to having my day in court to hold the District government accountable to the law. ”

OBAMACARE LIKELY TO COST $300 BILLION MORE THAN THOUGHT – CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE

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CBO hasn’t officially investigated the cost of Obamacare since the summer of 2012

The real cost of Obamacare will be hundreds of billions of dollars more than expected, Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee now say, and will greatly increase the federal deficit during the next decade.

Contrary to claims made by the White House, United States President Barack Obama’s hallmark health care plan will actually have a tremendous toll on the government, GOP members of the SBC committee allege in a new report.

According to an analysis of data received by the Congressional Budget Office, Senate Republican say so-called Obamacare won’t reduce the federal budget deficit by $180 billion by 2019 as predicted, but will actually set the US back another $131 billion in the hole.

The CBO hasn’t officially investigated the cost of Obamacare since the summer of 2012, Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) says in the report, and complications in the two-plus years since have, according to his group’s analysis, caused costs to change tremendously.

“The most recent CBO estimate, released in July 2012, indicated the law was projected to reduce the deficit by $109 billion over the 10-year period from FY 2013–2022. Nevertheless, considerable changes have occurred since then: a botched rollout of the insurance exchanges; unilateral changes made by the Administration to exempt certain groups from complying with key aspects of the law; technical adjustments to CBO’s baseline projections for federal health spending; updated economic forecasts; a better understanding of the labor market effects of the legislation; and a new 10-year budget window,” the report reads in part. “Together these changes have significant implications for the sign of the deficit impact of the Democrats’ health law.”

“[I]f nothing had changed since 2012,” the report continues, “then the legislation would be projected to reduce the deficit by $180 billion” by 2024.

After reviewing new data, however, that number changes drastically. In all, GOP analysts say the difference between the 2012 prediction and the latest analyses amounts to $311 billion.

“Altogether, the SBC Republican staff analysis finds that after taking these significant changes since 2012 into account, the Democrats’ health care law will increase the budget deficit by $131 billion over the current 10-year budget window (FY 2015–2024),” the report finds. “This estimate is arrived at by taking the $180 billion in projected deficit reduction from the CBO 2012 extrapolation and then accounting for the lower net cost of the coverage provisions ($83 billion), the lower estimated federal health care savings under the plan ($132 billion), as well as the lower projected revenue levels when including the labor market effects of the legislation ($262 billion).”

Meanwhile, other figures concerning Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act could fluctuate in only the next coming days: although Americans were allowed to begin enrolling in the healthcare program last October 1, this time around they will have to wait until November 15 — 11 days after the upcoming mid-term elections.

“This is more than just a glitch,” Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement last week. “The administration’s decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans.”

Last year’s scheduled launch of the ACA was ultimately marred by a number of incidents, including major problems with the program’s website and the inability for many people to retain old insurance providers. In July 2014, a survey conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation determined that 53 percent of respondents viewed the ACA unfavorably.