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Obamacare Still Makes No Sense for Working Middle Class Taxpayer

obamacare_theridgewoodblog

December 2,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, in an amazingly honest article about Obamacare , CNN Money (https://money.cnn.com/2016/11/04/news/economy/obamacare-affordable/index.html ) called it , “a tale of two health insurance programs. “For the 85% of enrollees with lower incomes, federal subsidies make the premiums somewhat more affordable. Those even closer to the poverty line can get additional subsidies that reduce the deductibles, which can run into the thousands of dollars. For many middle class Americans  a single person earning more than $47,520, not very much in Bergen County  or a family of four with an income of $97,200 still not a lot of money for a family of four , still not very much in Bergen County the pricey premiums and deductibles mean health care coverage remains out of reach.

Which always bring us back to the argument that defenders of Obamacare, either don’t pay for it , or they don’t have it .

For the 10.5 million enrollees on the Obamamcare exchanges, the  health insurance cost burden falls on the consumer. That is leaving an untold number of Americans opting to remain uninsured, rather than shell out thousands a year for premiums and deductibles. In 2015, 46% of uninsured adults said that they tried to get coverage but did not because it was too expensive, a Kaiser study found.

Over 150 million people have insurance through work, paying only about $440 a month for a family plan, while employers cover the rest, or about $1,075 per month.

For a 30 year old enrollee for Obmacare  your $311 a month Bronze Plan premium comes with a  $6092 deductible , ouch. This represents little sense to the average 30 year old and still amounts to nothing more than a “tax’ , on working people.
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Trump Signs Measure to purchase health insurance across state lines and create a truly competitive national healthcare marketplace

Trump Signs 3 Sweeping Executive Orders

October 13,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood

Washington DC, President Donald J. Trump is taking action to improve access, increase choices, and lower costs for healthcare.  The President thru executive action  on Thursday , the president said , “The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care.”

EXPANDING ACCESS TO MORE AFFORDABLE OPTIONS: President Donald J. Trump is taking action to increase the healthcare choices for millions of Americans, potentially allowing some employers to join together across State lines to offer coverage.
• President Trump signed an Executive Order to reform the United States healthcare system to take the first steps to expand choices and alternatives to Obamacare plans and increase competition to bring down costs for consumers.
• The order directs the Secretary of Labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs), which could potentially allow American employers to form groups across State lines.
o A broader interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) could potentially allow employers in the same line of business anywhere in the country to join together to offer healthcare coverage to their employees.
 It could potentially allow employers to form AHPs through existing organizations, or create new ones for the express purpose of offering group insurance.
o By potentially making it easier for employers to band together, workers could have access to a broader range of insurance options at lower rates in the large group market.
o Employers participating in an AHP cannot exclude any employee from joining the plan and cannot develop premiums based on health conditions.
• The order directs the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider expanding coverage through low cost short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI).
o STLDI is not subject to costly Obamacare mandates and rules. One study found that on average STLDI costs one-third the price of the cheapest Obamacare plans.
o Despite its low cost, STLDI typically features broad provider networks and high coverage limits.
o The main groups who benefit from STLDI are people between jobs, people in counties with only a single insurer offering exchange plans, people with limited coverage networks, and people who missed the open enrollment period but still want insurance.
• The order directs the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider changes to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) so employers can make better use of them for their employees.
o HRAs are employer-funded accounts that reimburse employees for healthcare expenses, including deductibles and copayments.
o The IRS does not count funds contributed to an HRA as taxable income.
o Expanded HRAs could potentially give American workers greater flexibility and control over how to finance their healthcare needs.
OBAMACARE IS FAILING: The status quo is not delivering quality healthcare options for the American people, who are facing higher premiums and fewer options.
• The percentage of workers at small firms receiving coverage through their employer has declined from nearly half in 2010 to about one-third in 2017.
• In 2018, more than 1,500 counties (nearly 50 percent of all counties) are projected to have only one option on their individual insurance exchanges, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
o This means 2.6 million Americans, or nearly 30 percent of exchange participants, will be left without a choice of insurers.
• From 2013 to 2017, average premiums for individual health insurance plans have doubled, increasing by $2,928 according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
o During this period, every State using www.healthcare.gov saw individual insurance premiums increase.
• Americans are departing the Obamacare exchanges and millions are choosing to pay the law’s penalty instead.
o 500,000 fewer Americans enrolled in an Obamacare plan in 2017 compared to the prior year.
o Current exchange enrollment is 60% below what the Congressional Budget Office expected when the law took effect.
o 6.7 million Americans chose to pay the Obamacare penalty in 2015 rather than purchase insurance on the exchanges. 37% of penalized households made less than $25,000, and 79% of penalized households made less than $50,000.

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Why Delaying Obamacare Repeal Is Hurting the American People

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Sondra Clark / @SondraClark / February 09, 2017

When President Donald Trump took office, repeal of Obamacare seemed like a guarantee—and then the timeline started slipping.

All the elements are in place: A Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican president, all elected after promising to repeal Obamacare. But once the celebration and ceremonies died away, Congress started to do what it does best. Nothing.

“Nothing” may be a bit strong given the historic levels of obstruction from Democrats in the Senate, but House Republicans have no such excuse. In fact, they even have a blueprint.

Last year, the House and Senate passed an Obamacare repeal using the budget reconciliation process. That measure was ultimately vetoed by then-President Barack Obama, but that same legislation can be reintroduced and sent to Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

There is no reason to delay. The slipping of the Obamacare repeal timeline is creating cascading problems for the American people.

Delaying Repeal Prolongs the Current Health Care Crisis

No one needs reminding that Obamacare takes away choice, erodes the value of health care, and puts additional burden on the pockets of the American taxpayer. The unsustainable nature of Obamacare is creating massive uncertainty and causing insurers to leave the marketplace, causing individual premiums to increase.

Additionally, once repeal is signed into law and real health care reforms begin moving forward, private insurers will need time to adjust to the new market. Continuing to delay repeal shortens the time insurers will be able to adjust and provide the best solution for the insured.

Most importantly, we don’t want Americans living under the current failing health care system any longer.

Obamacare is bad, and only getting worse. Average premiums are going up by 25 percent this year, deductibles are blowing past $10,000 for a family, and 70 percent of U.S. counties have no insurer choice, or a choice between only two insurers.

What good is a health care plan that you can’t choose and can’t afford to use? Congress must repeal it as soon as possible to put better health care choices back in the hands of the American people.

Delaying Repeal Hurts Public Support for Congress

Nearly every single congressional Republican campaigned on the promise to repeal Obamacare. The unfortunate consequence of the delay is that the American people are losing faith in the people whose job it is to represent them.

Recent Heritage Foundation research shows 72 percent of Americans will take the promises of Congress less seriously if they wait to fulfill their promise to repeal Obamacare. And 70 percent of Americans believe the longer Congress waits to fulfill their promises to repeal Obamacare, the less likely they will be successful.

There is no doubt that lawmakers will be held accountable to their promises.

Delaying Repeal Keeps the Focus Off Other Priorities

The surest way to repeal Obamacare is through the reconciliation process. However, that option has an expiration date. The reconciliation package is part of the budget process for fiscal year 2017 and it has to be completed before the fiscal year 2018 budget process begins.

In addition to creating a time crunch, the fight over when and how to repeal Obamacare is delaying action on other critical fights.

There is no doubt that Obamacare repeal is and should be the first priority, but Trump and congressional Republicans have made major promises to Americans that must also be considered.

Tax reform. Border security. Regulatory reform. Those priorities cannot move forward until Obamacare repeal is finalized.

What’s Next?

Republicans campaigned on repealing Obamacare in 2010, 2014, and 2016. Now it is time to step up to the plate and use the budget reconciliation process to deliver on those promises.

Congress needs to send a full repeal of Obamacare to the president for his signature. Americans cannot afford any further delays.

https://dailysignal.com/2017/02/09/why-delaying-obamacare-repeal-is-hurting-the-american-people/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=thf-fb

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Obamacare repeal and replacement: The case for moving quickly

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By Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D.Senior Fellow
Center for Health Policy Studies

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly promised voters he will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Now he and his congressional allies have an obligation to fulfill that promise.

Despite some hysterical claims to the contrary, Congress isn’t going throw millions of Americans out of coverage. Under Obamacare, most newly insured people have been enrolled in Medicaid, a welfare program, while the bulk of those covered in the troubled exchanges are getting generous taxpayer subsidies. Thus far, at least, congressional leaders appear focused on avoiding further disruption and securing a smooth transition, particularly for those enrolled in the exchanges and Medicaid.

Meanwhile, there is another, more pressing, problem. There are more than 10 million people in the individual market who get no ACA taxpayer subsidies for their insurance yet are being hit with staggering premium increases.

Moreover, there are also approximately 15 million Americans in the small group markets – small-business employers and employees – who are likewise facing escalating premiums.

In the Obamacare exchanges, the average increase in the benchmark plan premium will be 25 percent for 2017 in the 39 states using the HealthCare.gov platform, and the exchange deductibles are positively breathtaking. For plans with the lowest premium costs, the so-called bronze plans, the average deductible for single coverage is $6,000 annually, while family coverage climbs to more than $12,000.

Premium subsidies aren’t available for many in the middle class. A single person making more than $47,000 is out of luck for help in offsetting her premium costs. And if she makes roughly $15 an hour, she will likely be ineligible for cost-sharing subsidies.

Trump and Congress are inheriting unstable insurance markets. In droves, millions of Americans expected to sign up in the exchanges have not; middle class folks, especially young folks, clearly don’t see much value in high-priced insurance with crazy deductibles.

So a larger proportion of older and sicker people, whose claims costs are often higher than their premium contributions, are driving costs higher. And the individual mandate penalty, which is riddled with exemptions, isn’t much of an incentive to buy Obamacare coverage.

There has also been the steep reduction in health plan competition since the inception of the exchanges in 2014. By underpricing the product, perhaps in hopes of federal bailouts, and then failing to recover sufficient revenues, many of the plans have been losing money, and major plans have withdrawn from the exchanges altogether.

The Obama administration’s political remedies to enhance competition in the exchanges have either failed or become another excuse for more taxpayer bailouts. Note the stunning collapse of the co-op program – 18 out of 23 have disappeared from the markets – and the equally important but overlooked dismal performance of the federally sponsored multistate plans administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. They enroll just 440,000 people, or 4 percent of the entire exchange population.

The new president and Congress must act decisively to stabilize the insurance markets that exist as well as lay the groundwork for the improved markets they envision. Through a combination of early administrative and legislative actions, they can reduce costs and stabilize the insurance markets. Among the many other provisions to be enacted or implemented, they must do at least the following:

– Reduce the costs in the individual and small group markets by liberalizing insurance rules, particularly the federal benefit and insurance rating rules, which artificially drive up premium costs for young families.

– Reduce the costs of employer-sponsored insurance. Administratively, this can be done by liberalizing the “grandfather rules,” thus allowing employers greater flexibility to alter or modify their plans, delaying the employer mandate reporting and penalty requirements. Legislatively, Congress should kill the employer mandate entirely.

– Provide individual tax relief for Americans buying health insurance if they do not or cannot get health care coverage through the place of work.

Trump and Congress must move quickly to prevent even greater disruption to the badly damaged health insurance markets. While Obamacare was designed to insure the uninsured, now Obamacare costs threaten to un-insure those who are insured. It’s time to act.

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Health Care Begins With Full Repeal of Obamacare Tax

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HEALTHCARE REFORM TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Janaury 19,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare. This legislation, passed by totally partisan votes in the House and Senate and signed into law by the most divisive and partisan President in American history, has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices. Obamacare has raised the economic uncertainty of every single person residing in this country. As it appears Obamacare is certain to collapse of its own weight, the damage done by the Democrats and President Obama, and abetted by the Supreme Court, will be difficult to repair unless the next President and a Republican congress lead the effort to bring much-needed free market reforms to the healthcare industry.

But none of these positive reforms can be accomplished without Obamacare repeal. On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.

However, it is not enough to simply repeal this terrible legislation. We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country. By following free market principles and working together to create sound public policy that will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.

Any reform effort must begin with Congress. Since Obamacare became law, conservative Republicans have been offering reforms that can be delivered individually or as part of more comprehensive reform efforts. In the remaining sections of this policy paper, several reforms will be offered that should be considered by Congress so that on the first day of the Trump Administration, we can start the process of restoring faith in government and economic liberty to the people.

Congress must act. Our elected representatives in the House and Senate must:

Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.
Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions? As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.
Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate. These accounts would become part of the estate of the individual and could be passed on to heirs without fear of any death penalty. These plans should be particularly attractive to young people who are healthy and can afford high-deductible insurance plans. These funds can be used by any member of a family without penalty. The flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.
Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.
Block-grant Medicaid to the states. Nearly every state already offers benefits beyond what is required in the current Medicaid structure. The state governments know their people best and can manage the administration of Medicaid far better without federal overhead. States will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse to preserve our precious resources.
Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.

The reforms outlined above will lower healthcare costs for all Americans. They are simply a place to start. There are other reforms that might be considered if they serve to lower costs, remove uncertainty and provide financial security for all Americans. And we must also take actions in other policy areas to lower healthcare costs and burdens. Enforcing immigration laws, eliminating fraud and waste and energizing our economy will relieve the economic pressures felt by every American. It is the moral responsibility of a nation’s government to do what is best for the people and what is in the interest of securing the future of the nation.

Providing healthcare to illegal immigrants costs us some $11 billion annually. If we were to simply enforce the current immigration laws and restrict the unbridled granting of visas to this country, we could relieve healthcare cost pressures on state and local governments.

To reduce the number of individuals needing access to programs like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program we will need to install programs that grow the economy and bring capital and jobs back to America. The best social program has always been a job – and taking care of our economy will go a long way towards reducing our dependence on public health programs.

Finally, we need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones. There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support.

To reform healthcare in America, we need a President who has the leadership skills, will and courage to engage the American people and convince Congress to do what is best for the country. These straightforward reforms, along with many others I have proposed throughout my campaign, will ensure that together we will Make America Great Again.

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IRS Warns: Obamacare Tax Must Be Paid with Tax Return

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IRS Warns: Obamacare Tax Must Be Paid with Tax Return

Agency employs Orwellian term “Shared Responsibility Payment” to describe Obamacare individual mandate tax.

President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service today quietly released a series of Obamacare “Health Care Tax Tips” warning Americans that they must obtain “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the federal government – or face a “shared responsibility payment” when filing their tax returns in 2015. The term “shared responsibility payment” refers to the Obamacare individual mandate tax, one of at least seven tax hikes in the healthcare law that directly hit families making less than $250,000 per year.

In “Four Tax Facts about the Health Care Law for Individuals” the agency writes:

Your 2014 tax return will ask if you had insurance coverage or qualified for an exemption.  If not, you may owe a shared responsibility payment when you file in 2015.

In “The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment- An Overview” the agency warns Americans they must prove they were covered each and every month of the year:

For any month in 2014 that you or any of your dependents don’t maintain coverage and don’t qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your 2014 tax return filed in 2015.

In “IRS Reminds Individuals of Health Care Choices for 2014”the agency details the calculations Americans can look forward to if they are liable for the tax:

If you (or any of your dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your return. In general, the payment amount is either a percentage of your household income or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater. You will owe 1/12th of the annual payment for each month you (or your dependents) do not have coverage and are not exempt. The annual payment amount for 2014 is the greater of:

1 percent of your household income that is above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status, such as Married Filing Jointly or single, or
Your family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a maximum of $285.

As confirmed by previous  IRS testimony to the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, “taxpayers will file their tax returns reporting their health insurance coverage, and/or making a payment”.

Once fully phased in, the Obamacare individual mandate tax will rise steeply, to a maximum of 2.5 percent of Adjusted Gross Income or $2,085 – whichever is higher

Read more: https://atr.org/irs-warns-obamacare-tax-must-paid-a8164#ixzz2uQCUxug5
Follow us: @taxreformer on Twitter

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ObamaCare tax cost 33,000 jobs, medical trade group says

Dr-Obama1

ObamaCare tax cost 33,000 jobs, medical trade group says
By S.A. Miller
February 21, 2014 | 2:58am

WASHINGTON — A new ObamaCare tax on medical devices has already resulted in the loss of about 33,000 jobs in the industry, according to a prominent health-care trade association.

The grim statistic negates claims this week by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that “there is absolutely no evidence . . . that there is any job loss related to the ­Affordable Care Act.”

The Advanced Medical Technology Association surveyed its members to determine the number of lost jobs since the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices took effect in January 2013, raising about $3.8 billion a year to help pay for ObamaCare.

The survey found that nearly a third of respondents had cut research and development because of the tax, and almost 10 percent had moved manufacturing abroad.

The job losses were put at about 14,000, with another 19,000 openings that were left unfilled.

https://nypost.com/2014/02/21/obamacare-tax-cost-33000-jobs-medical-trade-group-says/