President Obama begins major Affordable Care Act enrollment push

Affordable Care Act: President Obama’s final enrollment push

President Obama will launch his final enrollment drive for the Affordable Care Act later today at an event in Florida.

“The president’s most immediate task in his Florida speech will be convincing the 23 million people in the U.S. still without coverage to sign up on HealthCare.gov starting on Nov. 1,” the Hill reports. “But Obama’s highly anticipated speech in Miami will also serve a broader purpose – soothing the rising anxiety within his own party about the fate of the healthcare law.”

That’s because patients are suffering. This year, more insurance companies have canceled plans and created regional insurance monopolies — all while insurance premiums sky-rocket.

There are other serious flaws with the Affordable Care Act. The Hill notes, “The new enrollment period has the potential to be the toughest one yet, with some insurers saying they need a larger share of younger, healthier people to sign up for ObamaCare. If those people don’t show up, the insurers say the could drop out of the marketplaces.”

Best of Times or Worst of Times? Prediction that next year will be best yet

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Obamacare in 2017 can only be described as a tale of two cities. CNN says that “Obamacare enrollment projected to grow 9% in 2017” with as many as 13.8 million Americans obtaining health insurance coverage.

Health officials are predicting that 1.1 million more patients will enroll in health insurance in 2017 compared to this year. Enrollment officially opens on November 1 and runs until January 31.

“About 3.5 million of people who are currently uninsured are expected to come onto the exchanges, and 9.2 million will continue to receive these plans after enrolling in them last year,” US News and World Report notes. “In order to bolster sales on the exchanges, government health officials also hope to make inroads among the 5.1 million people who are buying plans directly through an insurer, as roughly half of them could be getting tax subsidies next year instead of paying full price.”

Insurance companies begin lobbying Congress for Obamacare bailout…

Insurance companies aren’t taking any chances on the outcome of the 2016 elections. They’ve already begun lobbying a lame-duck session of Congress to approve billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Yes, the same industry that is paying out multi-million dollar bonuses to top executives, raising rates by thousands of dollars and dropping patients from coverage wants taxpayers to hand over billions of dollars in subsidies.

Last month, the Washington Post reported on the administration’s plan “to pay health insurers billions of dollars the government owes under the Affordable Care Act, through a move that could circumvent Congress and help shore up the president’s signature legislative achievement before he leaves office.”

Now, Morning Consult says that the insurance industry has begun its lobbying push on Capitol Hill to block any GOP legal challenges to Obama’s “risk corridor” funding.

“The risk corridor program was included in Obamacare as a kind of bumper system for health plans adjusting to a new marketplace. The Department of Health and Human Services collects payments from plans with lower than expected claims and then, in turn, distributes funding to plans with higher than expected claims. The temporary three-year program was meant to add stability to exchanges as insurers learned about the health of their enrollees.”

“Right now, we try not to oppose anything until we have to, meaning we will try to work behind the scenes with Republicans and Democrats about what we’d like to see happen,” Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, told Morning Consult. “We’re going to try to work with members of Congress to make sure that there’s not action taken in this area.”

… but they’ll face strong opposition

Nathan Nascimento, senior policy advisor at Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, argues that the Obama administration’s billion-dollar payouts are a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies.

“President Obama’s legacy is directly tied to his signature law, so he’s trying to stop the exodus at any cost. But insurers will only stay if someone subsidizes their losses,” Nascimento writes at the Orange County Register. “Between now and December, Congress must block any further bailouts and recoup the $5 billion that’s already been funneled to health insurers.”

He sums up the attitudes of many patients that are writing bigger checks every month to insurance companies.

“A taxpayer bailout for special interests is bad enough,” he concludes. “A bailout that ignores the need for real health care reform – and allows a crumbling law to do ever-more harm to Californians – is even worse.”

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