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Tipsheet

Obamacare Updates: Tale of Fail from Coast to Coast


It's time now for your monthly reminder that Obamacare neither "working in the real world," "proving its critics wrong," nor "blowing away expectations:"

Colorado
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(higher taxes): "The Connect for Health Colorado board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to raise the fees it charges on health insurance policies to bolster its finances as federal grants run out later this year. The state health insurance exchange raised the fee on 2016 plans purchased through its marketplace from the current 1.4 percent of premiums to 3.5 percent, the same rate charged on the federal exchange...Although insurance carriers pay the fees to the exchange, they acknowledge fees are passed on to consumers in one form or another...The fee increases are projected to help bring revenues to about $40 million in fiscal year 2015-16. It would cover operational expenses, but not capital costs, such as improving the computer system…"

Kentucky (hurting hospitals):  "While Kentucky has gained national prominence as the only Southern state to fully embrace Obamacare, its hospitals say the law has left them facing billions of dollars in cuts and forced them to lay off staff, shut down services and worry for their financial health and, in some cases, survival. The Kentucky Hospital Association outlined its concerns in a report released Friday called 'Code Blue,' saying payment cuts to hospitals are expected to reach nearly $7 billion through 2024. 'Kentucky hospitals will lose more money under the Affordable Care Act than they gain in revenue from expanded coverage,' it said, experiencing a net loss of $1 billion by 2020...Hospitals are suffering a net loss, officials said, partly because about three-quarters of newly-insured Kentuckians signed up for Medicaid, which reimburses hospitals less than it costs to treat patients
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."

California (lack of affordability, 'tepid' enrollment): "After using most of $1 billion in federal start-up money, California's Obamacare exchange is preparing to go on a diet. That financial reality is reflected in Covered California's proposed budget, released Wednesday, as well as a reduced forecast calling for 2016 enrollment of fewer than 1.5 million people. The recalibration comes after tepid enrollment growth for California during the second year of the Affordable Care Act. The state ended open enrollment in February with 1.4 million people signed up, far short of its goal of 1.7 million. A number of factors contributed to the shortfall, but health policy experts said that some uninsured folks still find health insurance unaffordable despite the health law's premium subsidies."

Hawaii (abject failure): "Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down...According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Healthcare.gov. Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28. While the exchange has struggled since its creation, it is not for lack of funding. Since 2011 Hawaii has received a total of $205,342,270 in federal grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, HHS provided nearly $4.5 billion to Hawaii and other state exchanges, with little federal oversight and virtually no strings attached
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. Despite this generous funding, the exchange has underperformed from day one. In its first year, Hawaii enrolled only 8,592 individuals…"  Hawaii joints MarylandMassachusetts and Oregon among the states that wasted hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars on utterly failed exchanges. A reminder from Phil Kerpen:


Incidentally, every state mentioned in this post was governed by enthusiastic, Obamacare-supporting Democrats during the law's implementation, undermining liberals' excuse that nihilistic and obstructionist Republicans are to blame for the "Affordable" Care Act's myriad failures. Several of the states included -- Kentucky and California, in particular -- have been touted as prime examples of state-level successes by supporters of the law.

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