obamacare Archives - Page 6 of 31 - Florida Politics

If Republicans have a better idea to replace Obamacare, let’s hear it

I have a friend who has owned a small restaurant in Tampa for decades. He voted for Donald Trump for two important reasons: Trump isn’t Hillary Clinton, and he hates Obamacare.

Let me rephrase that: He doesn’t like Hillary, but he loathes Obamacare with unyielding venom. Keeping up with its requirements, he said, has been an expensive nightmare. He wants it gone.

Today.

This is a kind and decent man who is all-in on goodness. He is charitable, law-abiding and is happy to lend a hand. So, over several plates of bacon and eggs at his joint, I have deduced that his position can best be summed up like this: He wants his employees and anyone in need to have access to health care, but he despises the bureaucracy and costs imposed by Obamacare.

It looks like he is going to get his way as the Republican-controlled Congress is tripping over itself to defund, defeat and dethrone the signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama’s administration. But then what?

Well, to borrow the infamous quote from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was coming to life, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

That quote was taken out of context and fed to Pelosi for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with Obama’s vow that people could keep the doctors they liked. That became the rallying cry for opponents, but Trump now basically is saying the same thing – promising Americans that law will be replaced with something great.

While we wait for greatness, consider these Florida statistics from a recent federal Health and Human Services report.

— An estimated 132,000 young Floridians have been able to keep insurance by the provision allowing them to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.

— It claims premiums grew 1.3 percent annually from 2010-2015, far less than the 8.2 percent of the previous decade.

Hold on just a minute there.

The HHS apparently forgot to include the estimated 25 percent premium hike for Floridians this year. There are many factors for that, especially the fact that far fewer people enrolled in Obamacare than the government projected and fewer insurers are offering coverage now that federal backstops against financial losses have been phased out.

All this sets up as a trap for Republicans in their zeal to end the program, though.

With lower enrollments than expected and the end to the safety net for insurance companies, any plan Republicans pass to replace the ACA probably will come up short of what Obamacare offered.

I can see the attack ads now when congressional seats are up for grabs in two years.

Incoming HHS head Tom Price of Georgia, a ferocious critic of Obamacare, has proposed a plan that would include a series of tax credits, health savings accounts, state grants and so on. Analysists have said Price’s proposal, if adopted, could mean reduced coverage and much higher premiums, especially for older Americans.

Republicans have the votes, for now, to move ahead with something. What that is, though, is anyone’s guess – especially Republicans. After barking their hatred for Obamacare for six years, they have, in the words of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, become “the dog that caught the car.”

Now what?

I know my friend would say to get rid of Obamacare and we’ll out the consequences later.

My take is a little different. I know this makes some people cringe, but I think health care is a right in a civilized society. It’s not something only those who can afford it should have. If Republicans have a better idea, let’s hear it.

After all, as Schumer said, they caught the car. They need to do more than just pee on the tires.

 

Health insurance board bracing for Donald Trump, Congress, to act on Obamacare

Members of a state insurance advisory panel called Friday for legislation fixing a regulatory “family glitch” that can make health insurance unaffordable to dependents of employees of small businesses.

The Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board declined additional proposed recommendations, however — in part because of uncertainty about what Donald Trump and the Republican Congress would do about the Affordable Care Act.

Board member Bill Herrle, Florida director of the National Federation of Independent Business, asked Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier, who chairs the panel, to begin bracing for whatever changes might be in store.

Herrle noted suggestions that Congress might set the ACA, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” to expire following the 2018 elections, and come up with a replacement plan in the interim.

“While that sounds like a long time, that could leave Florida with potentially only one legislative session in which to account for these changes,” Herrle said.

“Many of which may be ministerial, but some of which will not be as simple as going back to pre-ACA Florida statutes and plugging them back in. The market has changed very much.”

Altmaier agreed, saying his Office of Insurance Regulation has already started studying the situation.

“I think it would be prudent on the board’s part to initiate some of these dialogs,” Altmaier said.

The panel advises state leaders about health insurance matters and includes representatives of the industry, business interests, and state agencies. It needs a consensus to send recommendations to the Legislature.

Members agreed only once Friday: On the family glitch.

Louisa McQueeney, who manages an ACA navigator project for Florida CHAIN in Boynton Beach, argued that small group plans sometimes don’t cover employees’ family members. Depending on how much the family earns, the dependents might not qualify for ACA premium subsidies.

Other proposals failed, including to make health savings accounts available through high-deductible plans requiring policyholders to pay high out-of-pocket expenses; and to repeal a state law offering coverage through small-group plans to employees’ dependents until age 30. The ACA covers them until age 26.

Another idea that didn’t get off the drawing board involved improving coverage for sufferers of “maple syrup urine” disease, a genetic malady. State law mandates coverage through age 24 — a level established years ago when patients frequently died young.

Now they can live much longer, but have trouble paying for the expensive drugs that help keep them alive.

Often, board members cited uncertainty about what Republicans in Washington would do to the health insurance market.

“There are undoubtedly going to be some changes, maybe some substantial changes to the marketplace and how it functions, said John Matthews, southeastern general counsel for UnitedHealthcare.

“I question the wisdom of us making firm statutory mandate recommendations in light of what could be rather substantial changes to the ACA in general,” Matthews said.

Nearly 880,000 Floridians sign up for Obamacare

Nearly 880,000 Floridians have signed up for health coverage on President Obama‘s federal marketplace so far this year.

The deadline to enroll was Thursday for those seeking coverage starting on January 1. More than 4 million Americans chose plans on healthcare.gov this year. The figures were released by federal health officials and include both new and returning consumers who are updating or switching plans. Federal health officials say most consumers can find plans for less than $75 a month.

The robust enrollment comes amid uncertainty about the health care program as President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly promised to repeal it during his campaign. Few details about a replacement plan have been released and changes could take months or years to unfold.

No changes are expected next year for the more than 10 million people covered.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Randy Fine’s consumer choice: Let us pay for his doctors

Anyone who has ever dressed a toddler knows that “consumer choice” has its limits. “Empowering” the little ones to “shop the marketplace” of their own closet predictably ends up in tantrums, tears, cranky goodbyes at daycare and late arrivals at work.

Florida’s “repeal and replace” crowd spends little time dressing toddlers, and no time plowing through the pounds of fine print, disclaimers and traps for the unwary faced by consumers exercising their choice in the Insurance Marketplace that was born before Obama, let alone Obamacare.

The Insurance Industrial Complex will carry on for the foreseeable future, inflicting surprise billings, followed by medical bankruptcy, upon overwhelmed “consumers” who can barely lift the contracts they’ve been asked to “compare,” and cannot possibly be expected to comprehend what’s in them.

This is not a problem for Gov. Rick Scott and his zombie army of millionaire allies in the legislature. Their employment entitlements include eligibility to purchase a state health plan that covers almost everything and costs next to nothing.

Reporting last week from the Associated Industries of Florida conference, POLITICO’s Christine Sexton described how easy it is for lawmakers like newly-elected Rep. Randy Fine to be an empowered health care consumer.

As a candidate, the Harvard-educated “millionaire who founded a casino management company” railed against the health care market, damning it as a “disaster.”

Once elected, he signed his family up faster than you can buy a bottle of aspirin, and for almost as little money.

Who in their right mind wouldn’t?

Sexton needed no help from Harvard to crunch the numbers: Fine’s monthly premium is $180 for himself, his wife and two children. That’s $2,160 per year for him, a fraction of the real annual tab, which exceeds $15,000 and is picked up by the rest of us.

Fine told Sexton that he signed up with the state to “broaden his perspective on things … I wanted to understand what government health insurance is like.”

Here’s a prediction: He’s gonna like it just Fine.

Poll: Only about 1 in 4 wants Donald Trump to repeal health law

Only about one in four Americans wants President-elect Donald Trump to entirely repeal his predecessor’s health care law that extended coverage to millions, a new poll has found.

The postelection survey released Thursday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation also found hints of a pragmatic shift among some Republican foes of “Obamacare.”

While 52 percent of Republicans say they want the law completely repealed, that share is down from 69 percent just last month, before the election. And more Republicans now say they want the law “scaled back” under the new president and GOP Congress, with that share more than doubling from 11 percent before the election to 24 percent after.

Kaiser CEO Drew Altman said the foundation’s polling experts aren’t quite sure what to make of that finding, and will continue to track the apparent shift in future polls. The organization is a clearinghouse for information and analysis about the health care system.

It could be that some Republicans “got a protest vote off their chests, and they’re done with that,” Altman said. “They now have a more moderate position.”

After branding the Affordable Care Act a “disaster” during an election campaign that saw big premium hikes unveiled in its closing days, Trump has been saying he’d like to keep parts of the law.

On Capitol Hill, Republican leaders are trying to choreograph a legislative dance that would let them quickly repeal “Obamacare,” then allow an interlude to segue to a replacement. The complex undertaking is fraught with political risk, because success is not guaranteed. It could disrupt coverage for millions by destabilizing the law’s already fragile health insurance markets, such as HealthCare.gov.

The poll found some skepticism about that approach. Forty-two percent of those who want the 2010 health care law repealed said lawmakers should wait until they figure out the details of a replacement plan before doing so.

Americans were divided on next steps for President Barack Obama‘s signature law. Overall, 30 percent said the new president and Congress should expand what the law does, and another 19 percent said it should be implemented as is. On the other side, 26 percent said the law should be entirely repealed and 17 percent called for it to be scaled back.

Among Trump voters, 8 in 10 viewed the health care law unfavorably, and half wanted it entirely repealed.

As Republicans start to make changes in health care, potentially revamping Medicare and Medicaid as well, the politics of the issue could turn against them, Altman said. “They are going to go from casting stones to owning the problem,” he said.

The poll found majorities across party lines support many of the health care law’s provisions, but not its requirement that individuals have coverage or risk fines, and its mandate that medium-to-large employers pay fines if they don’t offer health insurance.

Among the provisions with support across party lines:

— Allowing young adults to stay on a parent’s insurance until age 26.

— No co-payments for many preventive services.

— Closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.”

— Financial help for low- and moderate-income people to pay their insurance premiums.

— A state option to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults.

— Barring insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history.

— Increased Medicare payroll taxes for upper-income earners.

The telephone poll was conducted from Nov. 15-21 among a nationally representative random digit dial sample of 1,202 adults, including people reached by landlines and cellphones. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample. For subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump taps Tom Price to lead HHS, plans 2nd meeting with Mitt Romney

President-elect Donald Trump moved to fill out his Cabinet Tuesday, tapping Georgia Rep. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Aides signaled that at least one other Cabinet nomination was imminent.

The president-elect appeared to still be torn over his choice for secretary of state. He summoned former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to New York for dinner Tuesday night to discuss the post for a second time. He was also meeting with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who was getting new attention from Trump’s team. On Monday, Trump spent an hour with retired Gen. David Petraeus, another new contender.

Trump’s decision to consider Romney for the powerful Cabinet post has sparked an unusual public backlash from some of his closest aides and allies. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has warned that it would be a “betrayal” to Trump supporters if he selected Romney, who was a fierce critic of the president-elect.

Three people close to the transition team said Trump was aware that Conway planned to voice her concerns about Romney in public and they pushed back at suggestions that the president-elect was angry at her for doing so.

Even as he weighed crucial Cabinet decisions, Trump appeared distracted by outside forces — or eager to create distractions himself. He took to Twitter early Tuesday to declare that “nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag.” He warned that those who do should face “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

Trump offered no context for his message. The Supreme Court has ruled that flag burning is protected by the First Amendment.

The president-elect spent the weekend tweeting his opposition to a recount effort in up to three states that is led by Green Party candidate Jill Stein and joined by Hillary Clinton‘s team. He also falsely claimed that millions of people had voted illegally in the presidential election and provided no evidence to back up the baseless charge.

Trump won praise from Republicans Tuesday for his pick of Price to serve as health and human services secretary. A six-term congressman and orthopedic surgeon, Price has been a leading critic of President Barack Obama‘s health care law. If confirmed by the Senate, he’ll be a leading figure in Republican efforts to repeal the measure.

Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Price “has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want” for programs that help seniors, women, families and those with disabilities. His nomination, Schumer said, is “akin to asking the fox to guard the henhouse.”

Trump’s team also announced Tuesday that Seema Verma had been chosen to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Jason Miller, a transition team spokesman, said at least one other Cabinet post would be announced in the afternoon. He did not elaborate.

Transition aides said Trump was likely at least a few days away from a decision on secretary of state. Romney has supposed from Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is heading the transition efforts.

Romney was fiercely critical of Trump throughout the campaign, including his preparedness for the foreign policy and national security decisions that confront a president. Still, he is said to be interested in serving in the administration and held a lengthy initial meeting with Romney before Thanksgiving.

Other top Trump allies, notably Conway, have launched a highly unusual public campaign against a Romney nomination. Conway’s comments stirred speculation that she is seeking either to force Trump’s hand or give him cover for ultimately passing over Romney.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a loyal Trump ally, was initially seen as the leading contender to helm the State Department. But questions about his overseas business dealings, as well as his public campaigning for the job, have given Trump pause.

Trump is now said to be considering Giuliani to head the Homeland Security Department, according to those close to the transition process.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Rick Scott on Donald Trump: ‘I’ll do everything I can to help him be successful’

In St. Augustine for his monthly jobs numbers presser, Florida Gov. Rick Scott took questions about his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and discussed the 2018 political landscape.

Scott said he had a “great meeting yesterday with President-elect Trump” lasting roughly 45 minutes.

When asked if he might be part of one of Trump’s “landing teams,” designed to help with the transition on a departmental level, Scott was not especially specific.

“I’ll do everything I can to help him be successful. I’m going to help him repeal Obamacare. We’ve got to replace it with something that will be better for Americans. We’ve got to reduce our costs. We’ve got to have better access to health care,” Scott said.

“I’ll work with him with Republican governors. We’ve got 32 Republican governors with great ideas. I’ll be a liaison with Republican governors,” Scott added.

“On top of that,” Scott continued, “we have to redesign government. Government’s got to work better at the federal level. We’ve done it in our state by cutting regulations and reducing taxes. We have to think about what’s better for our citizens.”

“I told Donald Trump I’ll do anything I can to help him. Whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do,” Scott continued.

Althought that apparently doesn’t include accepting an official role with the administration.

“He’s got a lot of energy,” Scott added. “When I sat down with him yesterday, he was excited about the job. He wants to get things done … bring change to Washington D.C. He’s going to make it happen.”

When asked to elaborate on a statement Scott made earlier this week, regarding running for Senate as an “option” in 2018, Scott stuck to his talking points, saying he was focused on the job that he’s doing at the moment.

Scott likewise was noncommittal when asked to review potential successors of his in the governor’s office, a list that includes names such as Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam and — according to some Jacksonville locals who are not part of the mayor’s political operation — Lenny Curry.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people who are running for governor. It’s a great job. If you care about people,” Scott said, “it’s the best job you can imagine.”

“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of good people running. Lenny Curry’s doing a great job as mayor of Jacksonville. You’re starting to see significant job growth here,” Scott added.

Rick Scott releases excerpts of RGA speech for Monday night

Gov. Rick Scott has released excerpts of his prepared remarks for Monday night’s Republican Governor’s Association’s Executive Roundtable Reception and Dinner in Orlando.

“Expected attendees include around 30 Republican governors from all across the country, including new incoming governors,” said Melissa Stone, spokeswoman for Let’s Get to Work, Scott’s political committee, and his former chief of staff.

The unedited excerpts are below:


“The most striking part about this election is how the pundits and the so-called ‘experts’ inside the beltway had already written the obituary of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

“For months, they were saying that we were dead and gone …

“But, Americans were demanding outright change in this election.”

…..

“Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders took both parties by surprise because voters are tired of anyone who doesn’t want to tear down DC and start over.

“Voters were screaming: WE WANT AN OUTSIDER.

“Americans are tired of being lied to. We are tired of politicians we would never hire, who give long, eloquent speeches that say nothing. We are tired of political correctness at the cost of getting something done! And we are especially tired of Washington elites telling us who to vote for.”

…..

“I met Donald Trump about 20 years ago. He’s a businessman and a friend, and that’s why I backed him so enthusiastically, chaired his super PAC, and raised $20 million to fund TV ads to help him get elected.

“Here is the single most important thing about this presidency — Donald Trump does not fear disruptive change. That is exactly what we need at the federal level. The voters spoke clearly — they want disruptive change and that is why they sent him to the White House.”

…..

“We must repeal Obamacare: The elites in DC have created a myth that we cannot repeal Obamacare. It’s a complete myth created by the elite insiders … and many Republicans went along with it …

Their argument was that all we can do is tweak Obamacare or make adjustments around the edges. This is complete nonsense, and it is exactly the way things go in government — they tell you all the things you CANNOT DO. You never succeed that way in business. It’s crazy.”

“We cannot afford to “TWEAK” Obamacare — that’s a terrible idea. For the good of the country we need to repeal it before it’s too late. The clock is ticking. Premiums are skyrocketing as we speak and many Americans and businesses simply cannot afford it.

“Of course, we will need to unwind it in a fair way … but we absolutely must repeal it. And remember, Obamacare was sold to the American people based on a lie in the first place!”

…..

“We are in position to help him, and he will need help. The Empire will strike back — you can be sure they are right now planning to stop us from making real changes.

“They are planning to protect Obamacare, to protect the terrible nuclear deal with Iran, to protect Obama’s executive orders, and to stop us from getting a constitutional conservative on the Supreme Court.

“Donald Trump will no doubt be looking to many governors for examples of reforms that have worked…”

Eric Trump rallies the troops in Jacksonville, as Duval looms large in GOP calculus

As the election approaches, the Donald Trump campaign clearly is prioritizing GOTV efforts in Jacksonville.

Saturday saw Donald Trump Jr. in town, tailgating at the Florida/Georgia game. Thursday sees the candidate himself at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. And Tuesday saw Eric Trump making three stops in Jacksonville, rallying the troops at volunteer locations.

The first of three stops was in Downtown Jacksonville, where an enthusiastic cadre of Trump volunteers greeted the GOP candidate’s son, brandishing signs of support or smartphones to take pictures to commemorate the occasion.

Remarkably, Trump supporters were on hand from as far away as Ohio and Alabama for this event, held in what Duval County GOP Chairwoman Cindy Graves called “the biggest battleground state in the union.”

“When you have that kind of enthusiasm,” Trump said, “that’s why we’re going to win.”

Trump conveyed enthusiasm about his father’s chances, saying regarding early voting that “we’re actually leading and Republicans have never led.”

And like father, like son: Trump the younger cited a “poll this morning” saying that Trump was up 11 points among people who will vote on Election Day,

“If we go into this thing on par,” Trump said, “we will win in a landslide.”

From there, Trump made the case against the Clinton campaign and its continuation of the policies of the current administration.

Trump cited $20 trillion in debt, an educational system that is now 30th in the world, a “depleted military,” median income that has been stagnant for 15 years, and a net loss of a third of manufacturing jobs since the Bill Clinton administration.

And then there’s Obamacare.

Trump noted that in Arizona, premiums are up 116 percent.

“Remember the promise,” Trump said of Obama’s pitch of the Affordable Care Act. “You can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor,” and the premium would be “less than your cellphone bill.”

That promise, said Trump, went unfulfilled.

The average family’s premium: up $4,500 a year, Trump said, leading into an anecdote about a mother he had met previously, who had been left behind by the ACA.

The woman broke down into tears during a conversation with Trump, saying that she used to have health care coverage for herself and her family.

Now she faces a $700 tax penalty at the end of the year, she told him, “because I can’t afford a bad system.”

Her family is without healthcare.

“Even if I could afford it,” she told Trump, “the deductible is 12 to 13 thousand dollars.”

“We’re not winning with anything,” Trump said, before pivoting into a discussion of WikiLeaks and Clintonian corruption.

“If one thing came out of WikiLeaks,” Trump said, “it’s how corrupt the system is.”

“Never before in the history of the country,” Trump added, has there been a “presidential candidate under investigation by the FBI.”

Citing problems in Haiti and close connections between the Clintons and the Saudi and Qatari governments, Trump cited the Clinton Foundation as “one of the most corrupt” enterprises going.

This election, from the Democratic primary straight through to early November, has been a referendum on the Clintons.

In Jacksonville, Eric Trump made a familiar closing argument, preaching to the choir.

Their role for the next week: to mobilize the base to counterbalance the inevitable advantages the Clinton ticket will have with other demographics.

Mitch Perry Report for 10.26.16 — Can Donald Trump exploit ACA premium increases?

The announcement this week that premiums for “silver” health care plans in the state-based exchanges will rise by an average of 22 percent next year has received maximum news coverage, including by political reporters who think it could an “October surprise” that benefits the Republican Party.

It is a gift to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and other Republicans running in tight races, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out over this week, and how Hillary Clinton addresses the issue.

In Rubio’s hands, it could be a devastating talking point in tonight’s second and final Senate debate against Patrick Murphy. With polls showing the Democrat closing the gap, Rubio will need to unleash his full artillery in the statewide-aired broadcast.

But can Trump make it work for him?

Standing before dozens of his employees at his Doral golf resort Tuesday, he lamented that “what they’re going through with their healthcare is horrible because of Obamacare.”

One little problem. Most of Trump’s employees are covered by private insurance.

“There really isn’t a need for the vast majority of our employees to purchase Obamacare,” David Feder, Doral’s general manager, told reporters quickly after the political event wrapped up.

I’ve actually found that to be the case with some ACA haters over the past couple of years. They complain about their premiums going up, and then admit they actually aren’t on the ACA themselves.

Nevertheless, it’s definitely good news for Trump, and not so much for the Dems. Last month was a little better for Clinton and the Democrats on that front, when it was announced the national uninsured rate had been cut nearly in half since 2010 to 8.6 percent of the population — the first time it had ever dropped below 9 percent. That’s a substantial achievement.

According to reports, the rate increase will most likely affect people who do not qualify for government subsidies, which is around five to seven million people . Those people (which includes me personally) will feel the pinch to some extent next year, depending on what state you live in.

Clinton and Murphy have both talked about a public option, a government-run insurance program to compete with private health insurance, as a possible remedy. But they haven’t said much about it. They should. Democrats talking about “making tweaks” just isn’t going to cut it, regardless of how the election turns out.

In other news …

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia says he thinks the battle to win Florida will be much closer than people think.

It was a wild Hillsborough County PTC meeting Tuesday, with the bottom line being — well, nothing’s changed actually, though PTC executive director Kyle Cockream says he’s the victim of a witch hunt perpetrated by the local media and PTC chairman Victor Crist.

As early voting continues, Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver visited East Tampa to admire the Sunshine State’s dedication to early voting.

The Tampa Greater Realtors is backing Democrat David Singer over Republican Jackie Toledo in the HD 60 race.

 

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons