Food is More Expensive Under Obamacare

On top of everything else, now food is more expensive thanks to #Obamacare. Health insurance premiums rising, which is passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for almost everything, including food. But obamacare pizzathis latest salvo from the battleship USS Obamacare comes in a way you may not have expected.

Mary Lynne Carraway owns 60 #Domino’sPizza stores. Most of her business is delivery from orders placed online, but that doesn’t matter to the clowns in DC.

Obamacare says she has put up a menu board in each of her 60 Domino’s stores that tells people the calorie count of every possible combination.

Heritage

Almost 70% of her business starts online, and the nutrition information is there but that isn’t good enough for the folks who are charged with implementing Obamacare. She has to make up menu’s for each restaurant listing the MANDATED nutrition information.

What would it mean for each of her stores to have to install such a menu board? A cost of about $5,000 per store

That additional $5000 doesn’t come out of profits. It is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. Thanks to Obamacare, food is more expensive.

It may also mean lost jobs.

I have 1,800 people who believe in this company, who need this work, who need these jobs. And this is a small thing, maybe, that people could think of, “Well, $5,000 for a menu board” or whatever. But it’s the added on regulations, it’s the added things that are constantly being thrown at us. And as a small business person that wants to keep going, it is really, really hard to do that.

Excessive government regulation.

The number one jobs killer.

So why is DC doing this?

Because they can.

Those who favor big government feel that consumers are dumb and need the nanny state to make decisions for them. We are creating a nation of people who are taught to rely on the government for everything, and that just isn’t right.

Mandates. Obamacare. Just another stupid government trick and the result is food is more expensive. 

If You Like Your Doctor . . . .

See if this sounds familiar. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan. Period.”  If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor

While much has been said about NOT being able to keep your plan, almost nothing has been mentioned about keeping your doctor.

 

You May Like Your Doctor But . . .

If you like your doctor, fine. But your doctor may not like you. More precisely, they may not like your new #Obamacare plan.

Especially if you bought it on the exchange.

Many doctors are disturbed they will be paid less — often a lot less — to care for the millions of patients projected to buy coverage through the health law’s new insurance marketplaces (exchange).

If providers are paid less, “are [enrollees] going to have difficulty getting physicians to accept them as patients?”

NBC News

Most Obamacare plans sold ON THE EXCHANGE in Georgia are HMO’s with very tiny networks. When you buy one of these plans you get a list of docs and are told “Pick one”.

This isn’t Burger King.

You can’t have it your way.

If you like your doctor, get over it. Your doctor may not be on the list.

The benchmark for physician fees is the rate the federal government sets for services provided to older Americans through Medicare. In many markets, commercial plans may pay slightly above the Medicare rates, while doctors say that many of the new exchange plans are offering rates below that.

Physicians are uncomfortable discussing their rates because of antitrust laws, and insurers say the information is proprietary. But information cobbled together from interviews suggests that if the Medicare pays $90 for an office visit of a complex nature, and a commercial plan pays $100 or more, some exchange plans are offering $60 to $70.

One of the bugaboo’s of buying on the exchange is, you may never know who is in the network and who isn’t until AFTER your policy is issued.

There is a relatively simple solution.

Buy your Obamacare plan OFF the exchange. Carriers offering plans off the exchange usually have the same rich networks as before Obamacare.

So if you like your doctor, pay a little more and get a quality plan OFF the exchange. We have found Humana rates for 2014 to be very competitive and they offer a broad National PPO network.

Obamacare Navigators

Obamacare navigators and the economy. Washington has given us a preview of the process individuals will have to go through in order to obtain their Obamacare health insurance plan.

If you think applying for health insurance will be as easy as buying a book or movie from Amazon, think again.

The application is 26 pages and the instructions are 61 pages. DC estimates it will take you about 45 minutes to complete the health insurance exchange application.

This is IN ADDITION to the hours needed to gather your financial and tax records BEFORE you start the application process.

After spending hours gathering information plus another 45 minutes completing the application to determine if you QUALIFY for a health insurance subsidy (only applies if you purchase through the exchange) then you get to pick from a handful of plans available.

Having fun yet?

Obamacare plans will be pricey. In some cases 2x current prices.

Find out how to lock in rates now and avoid the coming increase. Compare health insurance plans and rates now.

Just as Good as a Xerox

“Old timers” will remember that phrase from a copier commercial years ago when Xerox dominated the copier market. The pitch had a sleazy salesman trying to peddle his no-name copier to a business owner and his assurance that their copier was “just as good as a Xerox”, only cheaper.

The American public has been sold on a health insurance plan that is “just as good as RomneyCare” (the Massachusetts Experience and venture into universal health care).

Obamacare is RomneyCare on steroids.

So how well is this model for the future working?

Barely 4 years after approving RomneyCare the plan is coming apart at the seams.

While 97 percent of Massachusetts residents now have health insurance, actually getting in to see a doctor is a challenge. ABC News reports that patients wait an average of 50 days to see a doctor in Boston, nearly double the next-longest wait time — 27 days in Philadelphia. Some patients are traveling outside the state to avoid the long waits.

The access problem won’t be resolved any time soon.

Sounds like one of those good news, bad news jokes, except without the good news. I guess Obamacare folks will have to travel outside the U.S.to see a doctor.

How does Mexico sound?

A recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 75 percent of non-crisis emergency room visits occurred because a regular physician was not available after hours, and half of these visits occurred because patients couldn’t get a timely appointment with their doctor.

Why doesn’t Gov. Patrick simply require docs to work longer hours? That would solve the problem.

Dr. Lorraine M. Schratz, a pediatric cardiologist in Massachusetts, writes that more than half of all the doctors trained in Massachusetts are leaving the state, and one out of four doctors is considering a career change.

Rather than curb cost increases, post-reform health-care costs in Massachusetts have risen faster than the rest of the nation.

Harvard physicians Rachel Nardin, David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler say the reform has been more expensive than expected, costing $1.1 billion in fiscal 2008 and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009.

I know the folks in D.C. are currently using all that brain power to stop the flow of oil in the Gulf, but is anyone paying attention to what is happening in Massachusetts? Sounds like Massachusetts needs to borrow Rahm Emanuel to capitalize on this crisis.

So why is RomneyCare falling apart? One is taxpayer subsidies for people earning up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. For those of you playing along at home, this is one of the key foundations of Obamacare as well.

Another reason is that some people are gaming the system, buying insurance only when they need it, then dropping coverage.

Gosh, who would have anticipated that? Massachusetts should impose fines on those who fail to comply with the law and don’t buy health insurance.

Oh wait, they do have fines for non-compliance.

So how is RomneyCare any different than Obamacare?

It isn’t.

If a state of 6.5 million people can’t manage a universal health care program why should we expect offering the same kind of plan to 340 million people will work any better?

Just another stupid government trick.

Smaller cars, bigger health care problems, Poppa Washington.

Dear Dr. Kleaveland

Dr. Kleaveland offers his views on health care reform. It is not a pretty sight, but we face off in a battle of dueling public letters.

You can read his complete dissertation by using the link, but here are some lowlights.

Consumer protection in the health industry is addressed as follows:

No denial for pre-existing conditions or gender.

Guaranteed coverage to all individuals and employers and automatic renewal of coverage.

Prohibits premium variance except for reasons of area or family enrollment and sets limits on higher premiums based on age.

Prohibits cancelling of health insurance coverage except for convincing evidence of fraud.

Pious platitudes but this demonstrates how little the good doctor actually knows about the current system. Every state has provisions that allow access to health insurance on a guaranteed issue basis. Every one. Yet this fact is ignored over and over.

Setting premium limits sounds great but as has been demonstrated over and over in states that have attempted to over-regulate health insurance, the result is less competition and significantly higher premiums for almost everyone.

All states have laws that prohibit the cancellation of health insurance except for reason of fraud or non-payment of premium.

Skipping around a bit, we find the following.

Lists required covered services, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health services, preventive services, maternity care, and children’s dental, vision and hearing services.

Payments for primary care services would be increased

These are admirable, but costly. But let’s look at the doctors arguments as to why “health care reform” is needed.

Medical insurance premiums have more than doubled in the past 10 years.

OK, and why is that?

Health insurance premiums are driven by the underlying cost of medical care and the benefits they are required to cover. Most of the things Dr. Kleaveland proposes are built in to the House and Senate proposals. None of the provisions will serve to lower health insurance premiums, so what is really accomplished?

Requiring health insurance companies to take on more risk (banning medical underwriting), covering more items (dental, vision, mental health parity) and compressing the premium spread will result in massive premium increases if this form of health “care” reform passes.

Look at it this way. If Washington required auto insurance carriers to cover tires, brakes and oil changes as well as all routine maintenance and repairs, would auto insurance rates come down under this kind of reform? If you paid little or nothing for maintenance and repairs, but rather used your auto insurance plan to cover these costs, do you think the underlying cost of auto repair would decrease?

If you answered “yes” you are clearly out of touch with reality.

If you answered “no” then you are beginning to understand why health care reform will do nothing to lower health insurance premiums and make coverage more affordable.

Cost of health care have risen to 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is predicted to rise to 20 percent of GDP by 2018. No country can survive or compete in the global market if they spend 20 percent of their GDP on health care.

Unless and until the cost of health care is addressed, health care reform will not do a thing to stop this type of inflationary pressure.  None of the proposals in Congress, and none of the items in Dr. Kleaveland’s letter will slow down or control the cost of health care.

Health Care Reform Hocus Pocus

Health insurance reform is about give and take. If you waddle through the maze and countless pages in all the various bills before Congress you really have to wonder what is going to come out on the other end if and when this massive spending bill is finalized.

I have wondered about all the new taxes to pay for health insurance (supposedly for the uninsured) but something I read this morning crystalized the games they are playing in Washington with our money. The AP reported this on the tax credits that everyone got as part of our share of stimulus.

The tax credit, which is supposed to pay individuals up to $400 and couples up to $800, was President Barack Obama’s signature tax break in the massive stimulus package enacted in February.

Most workers started receiving the credit through small increases in their paychecks in April. The tax credit was made available through new withholding tables issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

The withholding tables, however do not take into account taxpayers with multiple jobs or married couples in which both people work. They also don’t take into account Social Security recipients with jobs that provided taxable income.

The Social Security Administration sent out $250 payments to more than 50 million retirees in the spring as part of the economic stimulus package. The payments were meant to provide a boost for people who didn’t’ qualify for the tax credit.

However, they went to many retirees who also received the credit. Those retirees will have the $250 payment deducted from their tax credit — but not until they file their tax returns next year, long after the money may have been spent.

That’s a bit of a rude awakening.

President Obama called and he wants his money back.

Congress is doing the same thing with health insurance reform under the guise of taxing the rich to pay for health insurance for the poor.

That finding from a new Associated Press poll will be welcome news for House Democrats, who proposed doing just that in their sweeping remake of the U.S. medical system, which passed earlier this month and would extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The poll found participants sour on other ways of paying for the health overhaul that is being considered in Congress, including taxing insurers on high-value coverage packages derided by President Barack Obama and Democrats as “Cadillac plans.”

That approach is being weighed in the Senate. It is one of the few proposals in any congressional legislation that analysts say would help reduce the nation’s health expenditures, but it has come under fire from organized labor and has little support in the House.

Lawmakers also are looking at levying new taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers.

Think about this for a moment.

They want to assess health insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers to pay for health insurance for the poor. But what happens when the tax is imposed?

Drug companies will pass the tax on to consumers who will pay more for medication. Prescriptions covered by health insurance will be more expensive which will result in higher premiums.

Medical devices like pacemakers and wheelchairs will become more expensive which will result in higher costs to the consumer and health insurance company. This mean higher premiums.

Of course let’s not forget that drugs, pacemakers and wheelchairs are also covered by Medicare and Medicaid, so those costs will increase as well.

And that tax on health insurance companies? It will be passed through as well to those who pay the premium.

As health insurance premiums rise, to cover the cost of new taxes, higher prices for medication, pacemakers and wheelchairs those plans are in danger of becoming a “Cadillac” plan . . . which will be taxed.

These changes don’t even take into account the required 30%+ increase in premiums caused by health insurance reform that mandates more expansive (and expensive) coverage for wellness and mental health parity as well as the “no restrictions on pre-existing conditions” requirement.

So just like the government is giving us a break by lowering our withholding taxes and tossing a bone to Social Security beneficiaries, then taking it back next April, they are doing the same thing with health insurance reform.

Giving us more benefits (no pre-existing, low copays, wellness, mental health parity) which increase premiums so we will have to pay more tax. Actually, it is a double tax.

We pay the tax the first time when we consume goods like medication and medical devices, and then we pay again because we were forced to buy an expensive “Cadillac” plan.

This is a dog only a politician could love.

Change you can believe in. Yes you can.

Swine Flu – Which Version of the Truth do you Want?

On 11/6/2009 the CDC reported there were 129 swine flu related deaths year to date beginning 4/26/2009 and going forward. Six days later Fox news is reporting the CDC claims 4,000 have died as a result of swine flu.

So which is it?

Have over 3,800 people died in the last 6 days from swine flu? Are these swine flu cases “saved or created” like so many other numbers coming out of Washington these days?

Is it just a coincidence that the number of deaths increased after the House voted to approve H.R. 3962?

Is this just another stupid government trick?

Change you can believe in.

The Charlie Brown of Health Insurance

Poor Charlie Brown. Problems with the  kite eating tree. Lucy always pulls the football away just as he is about to kick it. A dog that is more popular than him.

Maine is the Charlie Brown of health care. The state’s legislators have tried for decades to fix its system, but their efforts have always fallen short: health insurance premiums are still among the least affordable in the nation, health care spending per person is among the highest and hospital emergency rooms are among the most crowded. Indeed, many overhauls to the system have done little more than squeeze a balloon — solving one problem while worsening another.

Sound familiar?

Like the great health care debate in Washington.

But like the Peanuts character, the state keeps trying. Indeed, Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Maine’s senior United States senator and so far one of only two Republicans in Congress to vote for an overhaul, spent two years in the late 1970s as chairwoman of the State Legislature’s joint Health and Human Services Committee pushing small reform efforts. “That’s where I garnered an enormous deference to the issue of health care and its complexities,” Ms. Snowe said in an interview.

Based on what I have read Ms. Snowe in Washington it seems like she hasn’t learned that much over the last 30 years. If she can’t fix health care for Mainiacs then how can she expect to fix it for a nation of 330 million?

To conservatives, Maine proves that government efforts to strictly regulate the nation’s health insurance market are doomed. Many of the reform proposals circulating on Capitol Hill have already been tried in Maine.

“These reforms are very well-intentioned, but in reality they have yet to produce the promised results or even be financially sustainable,” said Tarren R. Bragdon, chief executive of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative research organization in Portland.

And nothing in the House or Senate version will do anything to control the cost of health care either.

To others, Maine’s failures show why some reforms can be tackled only on a national level. Maine has the nation’s oldest population, its poor are among the sickest, and its median income ranks low.

That sounds like the Medicare population. Another government albatross that is a financial Titanic.

Every time the government tries to fix things it only get’s worse and costs more than it did before. Why is that so difficult to follow?

Double Decker's Prevent Heart Attack

What do double decker buses and heart attacks have in common? Drivers of double decker buses have a lesser risk of heart attack than do drivers of more traditional buses.

The WSJ Blog reports on a study by Dr. Jeremy Morris.

Morris thought there might be some link between occupation and heart-attack risk. And when he looked at the men who worked on London’s double-decker buses, he found a striking result: The conductors — who went up and down the stairs on the bus all day long — were half as likely to die of heart attacks as the drivers, who sat at the wheel all day.

The data held up; among postal workers, Morris found, those who delivered mail by bike or on foot were far less likely to die of heart attacks than those who sat behind the counter at the post office.

New information?

Not really.

Dr. Morris reported his findings in 1953.

So why is this news?

Dr. Morris died two weeks ago at the age of 99.

He swam, rode an exercise bike or walked for at least half an hour on most days until he was well into his 90s. And in recent years, he often walked up and down the stairs of the London School of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health, where he was an emeritus professor.

“I’m constantly being asked: ‘Your long life, what would you advise?’ and so forth,” Morris told the FT. “To start telling other people what to do – I’m very reluctant. Except on exercise, where to a large extent I feel it’s what I’ve done myself that’s contributed to longevity.”

Sounds like good advice.

Where All the Women are Strong . . .

the men are good looking, and the hospitals are all above average. No, this isn’t Lake Wobegon, this is America.

The WSJ Blog reports on the state of affairs for U.S. hospitals.

Ninety-nine percent of hospital board chairmen think their hospital fares at least as well as a typical hospital on standard quality measures. Among the chairmen of hospitals that perform worst, 100% say their hospital performs at least as well as a typical hospital.

A self grading system. Kind of like looking in the mirror and saying “I am not fat, just big boned”.