Obama administration could dump sick people out of ObamaCare high-risk pool

posted at 10:55 am on July 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Two months ago, Medicare’s actuary warned that the federal high-risk pool would cost much more than the $5 billion Congress allocated to it as part of the ObamaCare bill.  The poll was created to keep people with pre-existing conditions insured until mandates required insurers to cover them took effect in 2014.  Now the White House admits that the money will run out — and that those patients may not get covered after all:

The Obama administration has not ruled out turning sick people away from an insurance program created by the new healthcare law to provide coverage for the uninsured.

Critics of the $5 billion high-risk pool program insist it will run out of money before Jan. 1, 2014. That’s when the program sunsets and health plans can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

Administration officials insist they can make changes to the program to ensure it lasts until 2014, and that it may not have to turn away sick people. Officials said the administration could also consider reducing benefits under the program, or redistributing funds between state pools. But they acknowledged turning some people away was also a possibility.

“There’s a certain amount of money authorized in the statute, and we will do our best to make sure that that amount of money insures as many people as possible and does as much good as possible,” said Jay Angoff, director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “I think it’s premature to say [what happens] when it’s gone.”

Only one of two things will happen when it’s gone, so it’s hardly “premature” to discuss it.  One option would be to go back to Congress and get more money.  That would mean admitting that Congress had no idea what this program would cost in the first place, and it would also likely push the program even more quickly into deficit spending, so that’s politically unpalatable.  The second would be to stop funding health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, which means they will be left uninsured until 2014 — and that’s probably even more politically unpalatable.  The only question will be which poison the White House chooses to drink.

If they pick Poison #2, Rob Port from Say Anything has a question for them:

Just so we got this straight, it might be ok for the government to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, because letting people refrain from getting insurance until they’re sick is a good way to lose a lot of money, but private insurance companies?

Well, it’s evil when they do it.

What turned out to be “premature” was the passage of ObamaCare.  As this demonstrates, Congress had no clear idea of actual costs or complications in the program.  It should never have passed in the first place, but this key issue shows what happens when government attempts to run a business sector without having any expertise in it.


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No problem that a few billion more dollars won’t solve.

Drained Brain on July 2, 2010 at 10:56 AM

DEATH PANELS.

portlandon on July 2, 2010 at 10:57 AM

ObamaCare = H.R.3200 H.R.Puff n’ Stuff. (You can’t get a little ’cause you can’t get enough)

Electrongod on July 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM

AnninCA hardest hit.

DrAllecon on July 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Two words: Death Panels

jukin on July 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

How long do you figure it will take for insurance companies to start going out of business once they are mandated to insure those with pre-existing conditions? Should we start a pool? How long after that do you think it will take for the drumbeats to force single-payer down?

ProfessorMiao on July 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

DEATH PANELS.

portlandon on July 2, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Well, that’s what the unwashed masses deserve if they reject liberal prescriptions of vegan, salt-free, low-fat diets, right?

itsnotaboutme on July 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM

As Nancy might say, you have to live under it for ten years to find out what’s in it.

RBMN on July 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Second look at death panels?

davek70 on July 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Our obamacare economics are coming home to roost…

mjbrooks3 on July 2, 2010 at 11:01 AM

They’ll go back and get more money. And most people won’t even notice because the crisis du jour will divert their attention.

Daggett on July 2, 2010 at 11:02 AM

I think apologies can be addressed to Sarah Palin, c/o I Was Right About Death Panels, Alaska.

englishqueen01 on July 2, 2010 at 10:38 AM

QFT.

Worth reposting from headline thread.

portlandon on July 2, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Rationing! We are going to spend $1.2 Trillion on healthcare reform and cover 95% of the population, which by the way is the same percentage of uninsured Americans today.

Hopeless Future on July 2, 2010 at 11:03 AM

We all knew this was gonna happen. When the CBO just happened to come under the magic trillion dollar mark we knew the fix was in.From the numbers I’ve seen it’s over 2 trillion dollars. But of course that doesn’t matter because it is a law now. Lord help us all when those “undocumented immigrants”aka illegal aliens flood the rolls.

sandee on July 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Question for the Obamacare Administrators:
Can you spell “incompetent”?

mad scientist on July 2, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Ed should’ve posted the picture of The One scratching his head with his middle finger. It is way more appropriate for this thread.

txsurveyor on July 2, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Who wants to bet the pre-existing condition of pregnancy won’t touched?

fourdeucer on July 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

After turning the CBO into a joke, it’s only right that this thing be egg on all their fat faces.

abobo on July 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Tonsil vultures!

lorien1973 on July 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Not covering the sick is the best way to create jobs.
– Nancy

angryed on July 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Commerce Clause!

lorien1973 on July 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

I dunno… sounds like death panels to me.

JohnGalt23 on July 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Lord help us all when those “undocumented immigrants”aka illegal aliens flood the rolls.

sandee on July 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Get with the program. That is so so yesterday. They are Faith based citizens now.

chemman on July 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Who wants to bet the pre-existing condition of pregnancy won’t touched?

fourdeucer on July 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Are you kidding? Desubsidizing reproduction is even more of a ‘third rail’ than Social Security!

Dark-Star on July 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

“The Adults are in charge!”

“You’ll find out what’s in it after we pass it!”

And I am still waiting for my free unicorn…

ajacksonian on July 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Not covering the sick is the best way to create jobs.
– Nancy

angryed on July 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Well, it’s the best way to create jobs for the undertakers.

But then again, what would we expect from a cult of death-worshipers?

JohnGalt23 on July 2, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Lord help us all when those “undocumented immigrants”aka illegal aliens flood the rolls.

sandee on July 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Won’t happen. With the stroke of a pen, 20 million illegals become citizens. Presto, no more illegals.

angryed on July 2, 2010 at 11:11 AM

mad scientist on July 2, 2010 at 11:06 AM

I just want to know if I can pay them with gold made via my super secret Alchemist formula?

chemman on July 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Thinking about all of the problems with Obamacare are making me sick.

fogw on July 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM

The MSM is going to make this their lead story tonight, right?

tru2tx on July 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

The only question will be which poison the White House chooses to drink.

the one that will let them pass away on Nov 2012

cmsinaz on July 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yabmmzH6ZS4&feature=related

Robert Reich’s solution.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

angryed, I should have been clearer. I meant the new “amnesty citizens”joining us in health care hell.

sandee on July 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

What turned out to be “premature” was the passage of ObamaCare. As this demonstrates, Congress had no clear idea of actual costs or complications in the program. It should never have passed in the first place, but this key issue shows what happens when government attempts to run a business sector without having any expertise in it.

right on, right on, right on

cmsinaz on July 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Guess Obama read the bill and found out what’s in it.

lorien1973 on July 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Hey! The job category of ‘Undertaker’ is a growth industry! Just look at all the Boomers and their demographics… a steadily growing job category for decades…. government is just ‘helping’ it!

ajacksonian on July 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

I just want to know if I can pay them with gold made via my super secret Alchemist formula?

chemman on July 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I’d be wary of keeping too much gold…there are whispers that the jackbootery on the Liberty Dollar org was just a practice run.

Dark-Star on July 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Serious question: if someone wanted to destroy the US, can you tell me how they would have acted differently than Obama has? Arbitrarily launching nukes is the only think I can think of. But even then, at least I guess we would still be feared…

Kataklysmic on July 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

With all these changes, it feels like Obama is on a mission to single out my family and destroy all hope of private insurance.

Vera on July 2, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Hey, just write them un-employment checks…it works to create jobs, it should fix this problem too…

PatriotRider on July 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Sounds a lot like what the NAZIs did, doesn’t it?

Or as Justice Ginsberg said abortion was for, get rid of the undesirables.

Eugenics, it’s good for you.

tarpon on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

There is another option: Don’t fund it.

If there ever was a “law” to not be funded – I think an underfunded law from its inception is ripe to let rot on the vine.

Of course – look to 2012 – 2 years before the “mandatory” nonsense kicks in – when Reps have taken back to House… and walla! problems solved – fuilled with political expediancy, though we are right back to where we were in 2008… but hey – wahts a few trillion or 2?

Odie1941 on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Serious question: if someone wanted to destroy the US, can you tell me how they would have acted differently than Obama has? Arbitrarily launching nukes is the only think I can think of. But even then, at least I guess we would still be feared…

Kataklysmic on July 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Serious answer: attack the power grid. It is incredibly vulnerable and our society is even more dependant on it than on cheap oil. Turn off the lights to one state, we’re in trouble. Turn them off in multiple states at once (especially in high-population states like NY)…we’d need martial law to recover from the chaos.

We’ve spent nearly all our attention and military forces trying to win a hopeless game of Whack-A-Jihadi overseas; our security at home is even more incompetant than before 9/11. Paranoid at all the wrong times and not paying attention when it really matters.

Dark-Star on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Lifeboat!

Mr. Joe on July 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

As this demonstrates, Congress had no clear idea of actual costs or complications in the program.

LOL, yes they did – they just passed it anyway.

Sorry, I’m not buying the “they’re incompetent and stupid” bit anymore – these folks are full-on malevolent, with calculated intent to harm us, our economy, our futures, our liberties, and this country – forever.

Midas on July 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Alive!

Mr. Joe on July 2, 2010 at 11:23 AM

LIES,MORE LIES
We should all get on our knees and pray and give thanks we have not had martial law or a revolt yet .
Hmmm could O’DOESN’T CARE already be plotting a scheme to use ” 3 votes for each minority vote ” ( to ensure enough minority democrats get elected ) or ” postpone the election for fear those dangerous tea party types might get violent ” or just pull a ” CHAVEZ ” and appoint himself Dictator in charge “?
Say good bye to Lady Liberty she will be leaving the Country in November …………….

ELMO Q on July 2, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Donner Party!

Mr. Joe on July 2, 2010 at 11:23 AM

I agree with Midas. The Congress and the White House knew full well what this would cost and that this would kill all private insurance companies.It was their plan. Control,control,control.

sandee on July 2, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Dark-Star on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Electromagnetic Pulse….EMP

tru2tx on July 2, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Hmmmm…the federal high-risk health insurance pool has high risks. Who’d ‘a thunk it?

Obama: Take a pain pill and die, suckas!!!

Steve Z on July 2, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Shut up and eat your vegetables. It’s the law.

Sefton on July 2, 2010 at 11:27 AM

I have to admit I have been concerned about an EMP attack.With our security guard down like it is under this administration it is a real threat.

sandee on July 2, 2010 at 11:27 AM

On Yahoo there is also a story about how ERs will be more crowded thanks to O-Care.

The good news keeps on coming

angryed on July 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Electromagnetic Pulse….EMP

tru2tx on July 2, 2010 at 11:26 AM

That is the ultimate, yes. But similarly devastating results could be had with far cruder equipment. At a guess…1000 “sleepers” with a couple bombs each, all ordered to hit substations near them at a given signal…and you’re talking trouble.

Dark-Star on July 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

I’m not buying the “they’re incompetent and stupid” bit anymore – these folks are full-on malevolent, with calculated intent to harm us, our economy, our futures, our liberties, and this country – forever.

Midas on July 2, 2010 at 11:22 AM

I think you’re right, they know exactly what they’re doing. Obama calls it “change we can believe in”. Other people call it socialism.

ProfessorMiao on July 2, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Dark-Star on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Yeah, you’re right. Losing power would be the deathnail in the economy. At least we wouldn’t have to watch any more Obama speaches.

Kataklysmic on July 2, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Older white citizens hit hardest.

jukin on July 2, 2010 at 11:33 AM

What turned out to be “premature” was the passage of ObamaCare. As this demonstrates, Congress had no clear idea of actual costs or complications in the program.

Ed… You know better. Congress knew the costs, they just didn’t care.

jeffn21 on July 2, 2010 at 11:35 AM

“We are all racists now”….

ihasurnominashun on July 2, 2010 at 11:35 AM

My wife has an aggressive form of genetic cancer, meaning it can come back at any time following chemotherapy. She is right now fully covered under my health care plan where I work.

So does this mean she could be turned away for getting coverage once this Obamacare thing kicks in, especially if the plan does away with my present coverage?

Because if it does, my wife has a future death sentence hanging over her head, because of the GOD-DAMNED DEMOCRATS!!!!!!

pilamaye on July 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM

And if what I just said makes me a racist, then so be it!!!!

pilamaye on July 2, 2010 at 11:37 AM

The health care plan is breaking down before it even gets out of drydock. It’s sure to sink under its own weight. The question is, will Obama pour money into the sinking ship in effort to save it?

Of course he will. Note that GOP lawmakers are concerned that the bill won’t meet its goal of covering everyone it was intended to cover. Don’t they realize that the question just BEGs to have more money thrown at it?

The GOP needs to stick to “health care reform was a bad idea that we can’t afford, especially now.”

hawksruleva on July 2, 2010 at 11:39 AM

One option would be to go back to Congress and get more money. That would mean admitting that Congress had no idea what this program would cost in the first place, and it would also likely push the program even more quickly into deficit spending, so that’s politically unpalatable.

Ed, I don’t see how Obama would view that as a problem. I mean, who is going to call him on it? The New York Times…?

JohnTant on July 2, 2010 at 11:40 AM

If there ever was a “law” to not be funded – I think an underfunded law from its inception is ripe to let rot on the vine.

Odie1941 on July 2, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Of course, they’re not even passing a budget, so apparently the Dems will continue to write checks regardless of whether items are funded or not.

hawksruleva on July 2, 2010 at 11:43 AM

You lie! Didn’t you read the bill?

yoda on July 2, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Change you can make-believe in.

REPEAL!

parteagirl on July 2, 2010 at 11:47 AM

They’ll just re-define “high risk”.

Then they can still claim to cover “high risk” people, and that they haven’t excluded anyone the plan was intended to cover. There will still be scads of uninsured until Jan 2014, so no-one will particularly notice if a few thousand more from that category, give or take, keel over in the interim.

TexasDan on July 2, 2010 at 11:47 AM

What ya expect…..

We won’t know whats n da bill till we pass it

roflmao

donabernathy on July 2, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Officials said the administration could also consider reducing benefits under the program,

Hey, this sounds like rationing. No, can’t be. We were told that was just a right-wing scare tactic.

JohnInCA on July 2, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Electrongod on July 2, 2010 at 10:59 AM

You are dating yourself.

ROTFLMAO!

belad on July 2, 2010 at 12:00 PM

But—-But—-But—-I still get to keep my doctor and my health insurance policy if I want, right? Right??? RIGHT????

dirtseller on July 2, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Didn’t Obama (peace be upon him) rage against insurance companies for doing this very same thing? Jerk.

jimmy2shoes on July 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM

By the way, you know what would help with this problem? How about a death “Health Panel”.

dirtseller on July 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM

pilamaye,

welcome to my world. i’ve been insulin-dependent since age 6 (so no one can accuse me of ‘eating’ my way into type 1 diabetes). frankly, since i have a strong faith in Christ i don’t mind being dead, but it’s the waiting around and suffering while dying that bothers me. i imagine there will be many months of feeling like absolute crap, not to mention all the hoops to be jumped through, before i get any relief. all thanks to the bastards in washington. i truly am empathetic to your wife’s situation, and i’m sorry you are both having to face this.

chelie on July 2, 2010 at 12:03 PM

The third (and most likely) option is they lie about what they are doing and do whatever they want.

xrayiiis on July 2, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Barry will just ask for more money. Think of the jobs it will create during this “Summer of Recovery”.

The whole damned lot in Washington should RESIGN!

GarandFan on July 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Who are these people, really? If you are poor medical assistance will cover you regardless and if you are not poor but your condition precludes you from a job that would cover your insurance then regular medicare would cover you.

Redglen on July 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM

You know what’s really great about HA?

A bunch of people sitting around behind computers writing snarky comments while their lives and the lives their children are being destroyed is incredibly entertaining.

So while all our futures are downgraded, our lives shortened and our freedoms removed please enjoy some of our feature entertainment like…

Shut up and eat your vegetables. It’s the law.

Sefton on July 2, 2010 at 11:27 AM


Hilarious!

Dorvillian on July 2, 2010 at 12:47 PM

“this key issue shows what happens when government attempts to run a business sector without having any expertise in it.”

well, that and every other issue.

notagool on July 2, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Well, like Mark Levin said a while ago: ‘sure, you’ll have coverage; all the coverage you want…it’s treatment you won’t get’.

Virus-X on July 2, 2010 at 12:54 PM

No. Just a couple of earmarks or a dip into the TARP or Stimulus slush funds and everone will be happy. Hopeless Change forever.

burt on July 2, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Dorvillian on July 2, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Last I looked we are in a freeish country. Hang out somewhere else.

katy the mean old lady on July 2, 2010 at 1:03 PM

“Yeah, we’re not gonna solve every difficult problem in terms of end of life care. A lot of that is going to have to be we as a culture and a society making better decisions within our own families and for ourselves. But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that is not making anybody’s mom better that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what, maybe this isn’t gonna help. Maybe you’re better off not taking the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

Haiku Guy on July 2, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Most larger companies are ASOs – self-funded insurance plans, so cost containment is a necessity for them. I’ve seen only a few plans that offer less than $1 million in lifetime benefits, and of those I’ve seen only a handful of people who’d maxed out those benefits.

HOWEVER, what people don’t understand is that they can buy extra insurance from outside vendors. They are not tied to the policy offered by their employer. But the mentality that has been pushed by liberals and simple greed among employees is the employers should take care of employess in every way possible, thus removing any responsibility from the individual.

Why do I say all of this? Because the removal of responsibility is exactly what will happen under hellscare; but people won’t have an option to buy extra insurace other than what the government offers. So those who are greedy and lazy will get what they deserve, and those of us who never wanted hellscare will get screwed.

madmonkphotog on July 2, 2010 at 1:27 PM

said Jay Angoff, director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “I think it’s premature to say [what happens] when it’s gone.”

Mr. Angoff demonstrates the ridiculous, head-in-sand, tomorrow never comes, continue to spend forever, Democrat mind-set.
It’s like taking on a huge mortgage the day after receiving a lay-off notice. It really doesn’t take a financial genius to figure out what’s going to happen when the money is gone.

LASue on July 2, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Dorvillian on July 2, 2010 at 12:47 PM

But people of action like you just refuse to play along…uh, wait, no you didn’t.

VelvetElvis on July 2, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Obama: Ok, we pick of the sick, and invalid first. Then we go after the weak, …then we take out those who don’t conform…then we take out everyone else we suspect is not conforming, til we widdle it down to our uber socialist population. ;)

capejasmine on July 2, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Question is who will the Seniors be more mad at Death Panel Democrats or Raising Retirement Age Republicans?

txmomof6 on July 2, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Obama: Ok, we pick of the sick, and invalid first. Then we go after the weak, …then we take out those who don’t conform…then we take out everyone else we suspect is not conforming, til we widdle it down to our uber socialist population. ;)

capejasmine on July 2, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Paging Dr. Mengele…

txmomof6 on July 2, 2010 at 4:31 PM

When it’s your own flesh and blood, then you’ll care.

RealMc on July 2, 2010 at 5:23 PM