HHS Is Altering Its Deal. Pray It Does Not Alter It Any Further.


Need further proof that ObamaCare's temporary network of high-risk pools was little more than an afterthought? Just look at the department of Health and Human Service's most recent rule making, which gives the agency the power to make the program a lot less appealing than the way it was pitched.

[Heavy breathing noise]

We've known for months that funding for the high-risk pools was lower than needed to meet demand. Medicare's chief actuary, Richard Foster, estimated that the $5 billion earmarked to run the subsidized insurance pools could run out as early as 2011, and the CBO estimated that it would require $5-10 billion in additional funding in order to run as intended. Where's that extra money going to come from? So far, the department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with implementing the program, has refused to say. But it looks like their most recent round of regulations gives them the power to cut benefits and raise prices:

At this time, HHS has not indicated how it might exercise its authority to close a deficit in the program. But the interim final rule issued on July 30 would permit adjustments to premiums, changes in the benefits the plans would be required to offer, limits on new applications, and other measures to limit program costs. These steps would probably reduce the number of individuals receiving coverage under the program.

The promise with this program was that those with preexisting conditions could get coverage quickly and that it would be affordable—pegged to insurance rates within a state. Seems as if HHS is aware that, without additional funding, it can't afford to keep that promise—and quietly reserving the right to change the terms of its deal.

NEXT: Never Forget: Dan Rostenkowski Stamps

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  1. Hello death panels!

    1. You’re going to need a bigger Death Panel

  2. Color me shocked.

  3. Completely unforeseeable.

  4. But, but, but, I thought everyone would be covered! And it wouldn’t raise the deficit! And we’d never have to worry about medicine again! And the evil insurance companies would be vanquished forever!

    Puppies, and stickers, and unicorns and facebook!

    Goddamn schmucks. Everyone who punched a card for Barry is a coprophagus schmuck.

    1. That sums it up about as well as all the editorials I’ve ever seen, put together.

  5. It’s obviously Bush’s fault! Time for a spittle-flecked Special Comment!

  6. Is this part of that “we’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it” thing?

    1. I think every bill is like that now.

  7. Even Vader didn’t dare alter the deal with Boba Fett. Remember how he guaranteed Imperial reimbursement if Boba didn’t get his bounty?

    1. Boba has a jet pack, AND a cable harness gun. You gonna mess with that?

      1. Only if I’m temporarily blind and have a giant Q-tip in my hand.

        1. Your sex dreams get more disturbing every time you bring them up.

      2. I never understood how Boba Fett became so popular. Not once in the original movies does he do anything truly bad ass, and his death is fucking lame. A bad ass bounty hunter does not die because his rocket pack launches him into the Sarlacc. A bad ass bounty hunter needs to go down in a guns blazing, ball out firefight.

        1. its no worse than samuel l jackson dying in the new movies by falling out a window.

        2. Boba Fett doesn’t die in the belly of the Sarlacc. His armor protects him from being digested and he blasts his way out.

          1. According to Lucas in the RotJ commentary, Fett died.

            EU ignores this because he’s a totally cool Klingon, I mean Mando warrior with armor and a code and stuff.

        3. Tracking the Falcon to the Cloud City (and correctly guessing Han’s garbage disposal gambit) was pretty badass.

          And like so many other aspects of the originals that were ruined in the prequels, the point was that he didn’t have to graphically demonstrate his badassedness to make you believe he was. Just like we didn’t need to see Yoda jumping around like a flea in the midst of a meth frenzy to know he was powerful.

          1. …and also like so many great aspects of the originals, George Lucas didn’t appreciate him. He’s said since that if he’d known people would like Boba Fett, he would have given him a better death.

  8. This deal is getting worse all the time.

    1. Curse you, Hugh. I had to be in a meeting.

      1. Just one of the many benefits of being unemployed.

    2. Obamacare… I AM YOUR FATHER!

  9. Yet another heartless insurer raising premiums at the time when people can least afford it! Vote Democrat so we can take it to the big insurance corporations!

  10. Can a brother get a helmet?

  11. “But the interim final rule issued on July 30 would permit adjustments to premiums,…”

    Maybe thy’re going to lower the premiums!!

  12. What is it that our representatives voted on again?

    1. I don’t know you’d be better off asking them. Oh wait you wouldn’t.

    2. I don’t know you’d be better off asking them. Oh wait you wouldn’t.

  13. What you mean letting people buy insurance after they get sick doesn’t work?

  14. Actually, I pray that the deal does get altered further….altered out of existence, if we’re lucky.

    1. Yes, they will remove that deal, and replace it with complete nationalization of health care.

    2. Sheeeit. The whole fucking point was to pass *something* that put HHS in charge of the rule-making. Now that they have that, it’s perpetual rule changes, money-shuffling and power-grabbing. These dime store Stalins ain’t never letting go of this brass ring.

  15. We already have high risk pools set up by Clinton under HIPPA. Rates vary by state, here are Illinois’: http://www.chip.state.il.us/ra…..&Seq=3

    The care is pretty good actually — I have a friend who has an illness that must be treated with snail venom. They pay for it. They are allowed to sidestep inconvenient rules like 3 rounds of artificial insemination — otherwise it would be much more expensive.

    Oddly, the HIPPA program in Illinois is one of the few things in the black. It’s paid for by premiums and by a tax on insurance operators. They also received a government grant this year that allowed them to temporarily lower premiums. They adjust at will. Note: there is no payment for treatment before deductible is met.

    People have no idea what insurance REALLY costs — they pay $150 out of their paycheck and think that’s it. So they don’t save enough when they prepare their “rainy day fund” that is supposed to get them through a year of unemployment. Which is one reason health insurance *SHOULD NOT BE PAID BY EMPLOYERS*

    Ooops, I forgot. In the last decade most people didn’t save a rainy day fund at all. Silly me.

    1. Wait, your friend has a disease treatable with snail venom but would have to have three rounds of artificial insemination first except for some rule shuffling?

    2. why would venomous snails need artificial insemination?

  16. I find your lack of faith in Il Dufe disturbing.

  17. Insurance companies have been jacking up their rates these last few months. Most folks might not notice because they get insurance through an employer, but small business owners like myself are really feeling it. They’ve told me the rates are really going to go up come the first of the years.

    Something really, really wrong is happening here. The insurance companies are behaving in what can only be called a suicidal fashion because they are rapidly pricing their product out of the reach of their customers. At the same time, you pretty much have to have it because the least hospital visit can leave you broke and in debt. All this nonsense about Obamacare reducing costs and making Healthcare accessible and affordable is nonsense. Maybe if you’re on the dole you can get whatever care you want whenever you want, but everyone else is up the creek.

    And no, I didn’t think anything good would come from Obamacare, but I at least thought it would be possible to keep insurance if only to avoid being thrown in prison for not having any.

    1. they need to build up reserves to cover the extra costs of guaranteed issue, community rating, etc., and they know that future regulations will prevent them from increasing their rates much

      it would be suicidal for them not to

      1. That might be believable if the executive salaries weren’t being increased at the same time, or like that one in California who had a $111 million golden parachute. They’re just looting while the looting is good.

  18. Gee, so if the bill won’t handle that problem all we are left with is the government taking control of what treatments us middle class people who had private insurance get.

    But no, this is not simply a means to push forced equality and leftist / government control of healthcare on the majority (re: like that jerk who was appointed to run Medicare). That’s silly.

    This is somewhat funny happening after they noticed they forgot to cover children….

  19. anyway, soon we will move on to phase two… where the democrats blame all the problems on the insurance companies and they push for the government to ‘fix’ that in order to resolve it.

  20. It is all Bush’s fault! Impeach Bush!

    Wait… wipe spittle off monitor

  21. en,you can find whatever watch you want on my name

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