ObamaCare: Tens of billions more for corporate welfare

Cagle Cartoon Syndicate Published:

Talk about March Madness.

The 31st is the deadline for signing up for ObamaCare, which has made the buying and selling of health insurance one of the most complicated, deceptive disasters in the history of Big Government.

The president could always whip out his Hugo Chavez pen again at the last minute and re-write another rotten plank of his Affordable Care Act.

But as it stands now, people will have to enroll in the ACA by the end of this month or most of them will not be eligible to get government insurance until January of 2015.

But there is a provision of the ACA that most people have probably never heard of that is just as unbelievable.

It's "Section 1342 -- Establishment of risk corridors for plans in individual and small group markets." Translated from governmentese, Section 1342 is designed to bail out the big insurance companies when they lose billions of dollars because they have to provide health insurance they can't afford to provide.

In order to make ObamaCare work (by suckering millions of gullible Americans into thinking it was free or cheap), the White House and Democrats in Congress told insurance companies they had to offer affordable policies.

But the insurance companies balked. They knew in advance they couldn't possibly be able to offer ObamaCare's Cadillac policies at such low-low prices without soon incurring huge-huge losses.

No problemo, the generous ObamaCare-givers said to the insurance companies.

"We'll bury this little 'risk corridor' mumbo jumbo -- Section 1342 -- in the act somewhere. Congress won't find it for years. It guarantees that the federal government will cover your ObamaCare losses through 2016"

It turns out that behind all the high-minded B.S. about providing every American with affordable healthcare, ObamaCare is simply another corporate welfare project. Only this time it's for the benefit of health insurance companies.

Section 1342 reminds me of those sweet deals the big New York financial companies got when they and their pals in Congress teamed up to make the economy collapse in 2007-2008.

Those "too-big-to-fail" banks -- and don't forget GM -- got their federal-taxpayer bailouts at the back end. Under Obama, the bailouts for insurance companies come at the front end.

We all remember those promises from Washington that "it will never happen again." Well, it's going to -- in a very big way. Section 1342 ultimately will cost American taxpayers tens of billions.

Former New York State Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey said in the New York Post that the 1342 bailout section "is meant to hide the full failure of the president's signature health law until after the next presidential election."

She's right. But it's too late for Obama now. Because of the mess he's made of healthcare "reform," Democrats will be swept away by a Republican wave this November and, let's pray, again in 2016.

By then, if Republicans don't blow it, ObamaCare will be DOA and Section 1342 will be just another liberal nightmare, not a reality.

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Copyright ©2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

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  • But the sheeple love their Obamacare. See how spritely the trot into the slaughter pens. They don't care if they live or die, they just want to belong to the haloed one.

  • I didn't know, "Hope, Change, and Transformation" ment taking care of the upper 1%...

  • So now we can add to the list of Obama¬†lies (examples abound) and incompetence (an even longer list of examples) that he and his buddies actually planned to screw the Citizens of our great Country! Does that mean he's been aligned with the Insurance companies? It seems so, but they'll find out he won't be loyal to them either.

  • amt's post is typical. DC elete are criminals at best. This has been the most corrupt government in the history of the US. You can be sure that the establishment politicians, regardless of party, are going to keep on sticking it to working Americans.

  • ObamaCare and My Mother's Cancer Medicine
    The news was dumbfounding. She used to have a policy that covered the drug that kept her alive. Now she's on her own.
    By Stephen Blackwood
    Feb. 23, 2014

    When my mother was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer in 2005, when she was 49, it came as a lightning shock. Her mother, at 76, had yet to go gray, and her mother's mother, at 95, was still playing bingo in her nursing home. My mother had always been, despite her diminutive frame, a titanic and irrepressible force of vitality and love. She had given birth to me and my nine younger siblings, and juggled kids, home and my father's medical practice with humor and grace for three decades. She swam three times a week in the early mornings, ate healthily and never smoked.

    And now, cancer? Anyone who's been there knows that a cancer diagnosis is terrifying. A lot goes through your mind and heart: the deep pang of possible loss (what would my father and all of us do without her?), and the anguish and anger at what feels like injustice (after decades of mothering and managing dad's practice, she was just then going back to school).

    We, as a family, were scared and angry, but from the beginning we knew we would do all we could to fight this disease. We became involved with fundraising for research, through the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation in Boston; we blogged; we did triathlons (my mother's idea) and cherished our time together as never before.

    Carcinoid, a form of neuroendocrine cancer, is a terminal disease but generally responds well to treatment by Sandostatin, a drug that slows tumor growth and reduces (but does not eliminate) the symptoms of fatigue, nausea and gastrointestinal dysfunction. My mother received a painful shot twice a month and often couldn't sit comfortably for days afterward.

    As with most cancers, one thing led to another. There have been several more surgeries, metastases, bone deterioration, a terrible bout of thyroiditis (an inflammation of the thyroid gland), and much more. But my mother has kept fighting, determined to make the most of life, no matter what it brings. She has an indomitable will and is by far the toughest person I've ever met. But she wouldn't still be here without that semimonthly Sandostatin shot that slows the onslaught of her disease.

    And then in November, along with millions of other Americans, she lost her health insurance. She'd had a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan for nearly 20 years. It was expensive, but given that it covered her very expensive treatment, it was a terrific plan. It gave her access to any specialist or surgeon, and to the Sandostatin and other medications that were keeping her alive.

    And then, because our lawmakers and president thought they could do better, she had nothing. Her old plan, now considered illegal under the new health law, had been canceled.

    Because the exchange website in her state (Virginia) was not working, she went directly to insurers' websites and telephoned them, one by one, over dozens of hours. As a medical-office manager, she had decades of experience navigating the enormous problems of even our pre-ObamaCare system. But nothing could have prepared her for the bureaucratic morass she now had to traverse.

    The repeated and prolonged phone waits were Sisyphean, the competence and customer service abysmal. When finally she found a plan that looked like it would cover her Sandostatin and other cancer treatments, she called the insurer, Humana, HUM +8.10% to confirm that it would do so. The enrollment agent said that after she met her deductible, all treatments and medications--including those for her cancer--would be covered at 100%. Because, however, the enrollment agents did not--unbelievable though this may seem--have access to the "coverage formularies" for the plans they were selling, they said the only way to find out in detail what was in the plan was to buy the plan. (Does that remind you of anyone?)

    With no other options, she bought the plan and was approved on Nov. 22. Because by January the plan was still not showing up on her online Humana account, however, she repeatedly called to confirm that it was active. The agents told her not to worry, she was definitely covered.

    Then on Feb. 12, just before going into (yet another) surgery, she was informed by Humana that it would not, in fact, cover her Sandostatin, or other cancer-related medications. The cost of the Sandostatin alone, since Jan. 1, was $14,000, and the company was refusing to pay.

    The news was dumbfounding. This is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren't happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn't cover her condition and it's completely unaffordable.

    Though I'm no expert on ObamaCare (at 10,000 pages, who could be?), I understand that the intention--or at least the rhetorical justification--of this legislation was to provide coverage for those who didn't have it. But there is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother's old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death. She awaits an appeal with her insurer.

    Will this injustice be remedied, for her and for millions of others? Or is my mother to die because she can no longer afford the treatment that keeps her alive?

    Like every American, I want affordable health care, and I'm open to innovative solutions of all kinds--individual, corporate, for-profit, nonprofit and public. It will take all of these, and all the intelligence, creativity and self-discipline we have, as well as everything we can offer one another as families, neighbors, friends and citizens--and it still won't be perfect. But it is precisely because health care for 300 million people is so complicated that it cannot be centrally managed.

    The "Affordable" Care Act is a brutal, Procrustean disaster. In principle, it violates the irreducible particularity of human life, and in practice it will cause many individuals to suffer and die. We can do better, and we must.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303945704579390772732855560