Rep. John Boehner is shocked, shocked, that his insurance premiums will rise, now that he he’s out of the government’s health plan and shopping the market for individual policies.
Well, guess what? The premiums you have to pay as an individual have always been higher than those group plans charge for similar coverage. That is, if you could get health insurance at all. Before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) took effect, insurance companies could turn you down if you or a family member had even minor health issues. They could drop your policy if you got sick. A 64-year-old heavy smoker like Boehner could easily have been rejected or charged far, far more than he’s paying now.
He seems to have had no idea. He never saw, understood, or cared about what families not in group plans faced before the ACA.
Boehner dropped his excellent government group plan and applied for individual coverage under the ACA because his political party demanded it…. more
What’s a struggling (and angry) investor to do, in the face of a government shutdown and threatened default? An artificial financial crisis (not based on fundamentals) cooked up entirely for political gain.
Prior to the shutdown, the economy was gathering steam — more jobs, higher profits, more homebuilding, low interest rates, low inflation, higher stock prices, and higher business and consumer spending. Now that the GOP is randomly dropping bombs on American businesses, incomes, pre-schools, and transportation systems, growth will slow, along with the jobs and tax revenues that would otherwise have been produced. If Congress actually drives us over a cliff, stocks and the value of the dollar could collapse and interest rates soar. Rates on short-term Treasuries have jumped already, and the dollar is down.
If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, Obama has some flexibility to pay the government’s bills for a very short time. The market might waiver and wait for a couple of days, hoping that the grown-ups will finally take charge. But you never know.
The reigning Tea Party wing of the GOP doesn’t care if the economy sinks. They believe that their base will blame Obama because it happened on his watch. The GOP will then run against the “Democrat recession,” even though the GOP manufactured the downturn out of thin air.
If the GOP comes to its senses, stocks and the dollar will almost certainly spike up. Still, that won’t last if the deal is only temporary. As long as one political faction thinks that the government shutdown is “fun” (as one ignorant Congressman said) and that defaults on Treasury debt don’t matter, investors can’t make decisions with confidence.
At the moment, the best advice is probably to do nothing. You might take a tip from global investors, who clearly believe that the U.S. won’t default. Interest rates are up a hair on 10-year Treasuries but, as of this writing, the market is pretty calm. … more
The House GOP doesn’t want the average uninsured American to have access to health insurance through the ACA. But they sure do notice if they themselves might have to pay more.
Members of Congress and their staffs have to buy their policies on the new ACA exchanges. Poor drafting of the law, however, accidentally eliminated the group-health subsidy that workers, in both the public and private sectors, normally get from their employers. That would have forced Congress and staffs to pay the full cost of their personal and family coverage (all other federal workers get subsidies through the government’s group-health plan).
The Obama administration (with GOP support) recreated the subsidy so that Congress and staffs would not be unfairly punished. Now, however, the House GOP is calling the subsidy “special treatment” and trying to eliminate it. It’s a ploy to rile the public, which doesn’t understand the issue. The higher cost would be no problem for the many millionaires in the House. But what about those who aren’t?
The NYTimes reports: “Representative Chris Stewart, Republican of Utah, said members were standing to say they had sick children who would be hard to insure, or they themselves would struggle to buy insurance, either because of their age or their health conditions.” D’uh.
They see the scary problem of unaffordable insurance if it affects them and their children but not if it affects others — especially low-earning people they’re not likely to know.
Senator Ted Cruz, by the way, apparently gets his own health insurance through Goldman Sachs, a gold-plated plan.
Truth breaks through on “accidental” kid-on-kid shootings.
I reported earlier about the 6-year-old boy who shot his 4-year-old sister in the head with a shotgun. The father told police that the boy had dropped the gun, which “accidentally” went off. The dad has now admitted that the boy pulled the trigger. He had advised the child to lie.
Guns do not — not — go off accidentally. The trigger has to be pulled. It might be pulled accidentally, in handling; or it might be pulled in fun, on the assumption that the gun isn’t loaded; or pulled because it’s a gun and little kids don’t understand what could happen. But there is always a finger on the trigger. And always a parent or friend who left a loaded gun unattended.
The boy, by the way, had three years of training with guns. Fortunately, the little sister survived. http://bit.ly/167qBlc
The New York Times just published an excellent story on the accidental shooting of children by other children. Not many states keep data, … more
Do you own a variable annuity with lifetime income benefits? Did you buy it in the years before the financial meltdown? You have a terrific contract that your insurance company might be trying to take away. Don’t let them do it.
In the early and middle ‘00’s. insurers competed vigorously for your retirement money. They offered guaranteed lifetime incomes that rose by 6 or 7 percent a year, no matter what happened to your underlying investments. If the markets outperformed, you might get even more.
Now they’re suffering seller’s remorse. These guarantees are too rich, compared with what the insurance companies can earn from interest rates today. So naturally, they’re trying to persuade you to give up that lovely future income. In return, they’re offering a mess of pottage. Well, maybe not pottage, but a cash payment that doesn’t begin to cover the value of the income you’d lose. Some insurers are also trying to get you to cancel a lucrative death benefit that would go to your spouse or another beneficiary. Three companies are making offers, so far — Hartford Life, AXA Equitable, and Transamerica – with more likely to come.
Financial planner and annuity expert Mark Cortazzo of the MACRO Consulting Group in Parsippany, N.J. has reviewed these offers for dozens of clients. “So far, we have found only one situation … more