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3 Giant Hurdles for Obamacare

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It squeaked through Congress.

It survived a legal scare that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

And although it's now the law of the land, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, still has some big hurdles to leap. Here are three of the most challenging.

1. Getting the exchanges working without major glitches
The Obamacare health insurance exchanges are scheduled to go into operation on Oct. 1. With the law having been passed way back in 2010, you might expect that three years would be plenty of time to implement these systems. There have plenty of problems along the way, though, and some expect more problems come October.

In April, the White House delayed full implementation of small group health insurance exchanges known as SHOP until 2015, citing "operational challenges". Two months later, the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, reported that 44% of tasks needed for the federally operated exchanges to be operational were behind schedule. At that time, the federal watchdog agency stated that it couldn't determine whether the online marketplaces would be ready on time.

Earlier this month, representatives of insurance companies participating in the exchanges reported multiple technical glitches, including inaccurate information being shown online about health plans. One especially serious concern is that privacy safeguards might not be fully in place. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, though, says that the systems will be ready to go on schedule with appropriate privacy protection.

2. Signing up healthy young Americans
Assuming the first hurdle is successfully jumped, Obamacare will then face the next significant barrier to surmount. If sufficient numbers of healthy young Americans don't buy insurance through the exchanges, the promises of the health-reform legislation could unravel.

Administration officials have publicly stated that for Obamacare to succeed, at least 2.7 million Americans between ages of 18 and 30 must obtain coverage. A recent study by the National Center for Public Policy Research concluded that the financial incentives for younger individuals to forgo buying health insurance will prevent that number from being reached.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) is wary enough of this risk that it opted to stay away from participating in most of the state Obamacare exchanges. CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company was taking a cautious stance because of concerns that the first group of enrollees would consist of many less healthy individuals and incur high medical expenses.

On the other hand, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that one-third of respondents between 18 and 34 indicated that they are "very" or "somewhat" likely to buy health insurance using an exchange. With around 16 million uninsured individuals in that age group, Obamacare will easily reach the goal of 2.7 million young Americans enrolled if that survey response proves to be an accurate predictor of actual participation.

3. Withstanding a delay
A political risk also remains. Some elected officials who oppose Obamacare are calling for a one-year delay of implementation of the Obamacare requirement that individuals purchase insurance, similar to the White House's already-enacted one-year delay for the mandate for employers to buy insurance for employees.

Survey results released by Health Pocket in July found that only 12% of respondents thought the Obamacare individual mandate should go into effect next year. Forty-one percent supported a delay, with another 47% undecided.

Despite significant public and political support for a delay, this hurdle seems most likely to be leaped. The White House has held firm that Obamacare exchanges and the individual mandate will go forward as planned.

Investing implications
In the Olympics, failure to jump a hurdle means losing the race. Which stocks would be the investing losers if any of these three Obamacare hurdles are missed?

If the Obamacare exchanges don't function well or implementation is delayed, eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH  ) would probably be one of the biggest losers. Shares are up more than 20% since eHealth landed a federal contract to support online enrollment through its website. Those gains would probably evaporate should significant glitches occur on or after Oct. 1.

Hospital stocks would also most likely tank in the event of big problems with the exchanges. Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC  ) , for example, has worked hard to position itself to take advantage of Obamacare's potential benefits. The stock is up nearly 25% year to date and more than 126% over the past two years largely on the promise of how Obamacare could help hospitals.

What if the exchanges work just fine but not enough young individuals sign up? WellPoint (NYSE: ANTM  ) could feel some pain. Unlike UnitedHealth, the second-largest health insurer in the U.S. decided to participate in exchanges in every state where it operates. If too few healthy Americans buy insurance, WellPoint's medical costs could eat into the company's profits.

Of course, these stocks could also be winners if the three aforementioned hurdles are successfully overcome. It won't be long before we know the outcome. Assuming there's no delay, the starting gun fires in just a few days.

More Obamacare winners
Obamacare is rewriting the rules for the health-care industry, and in the process of doing so, it's creating massive opportunities for investors to profit. How? By investing in a handful of specific health care stocks. In this free report, our analysts walk you through these opportunities and the companies that are positioned to exploit them. The informational edge contained in it is invaluable, but can be exploited profitably only while the rest of the market remains in the dark. To access this free report instantly, simply click here now.

Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 4:38 PM, doco177 wrote:

    Google "Obamacare Flowchart" at Intellectual Takeout to see a visual representation of the convoluted, corrupt mess this really is

    Congress,Muslims, Amish, Native Americans are exempt from mandate and penalties under Obamacare that the rest of us have to pay.

    1. Millions are losing the insurance Obama promised they could keep. Because ObamaCare forces employers to offer expensive Cadillac plans but also offers the option of paying a fine for not providing health insurance that can be cheaper than providing it, between seven and twenty million Americans are likely to lose their health insurance coverage according to the Congressional Budget Office. The original estimate was closer to four million.

    2. The cost of healthcare premiums is about to further skyrocket. Premium costs have already exploded, but that is a slow-motion explosion. In the near future, we could see costs double or worse. Naturally, these costs will hit an already burdened middle class hardest.

    3. Lost jobs. Lost jobs.

    The Federal Reserve's March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

    Consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.

    4. Doctor shortages that will mean rationing: The healthcare industry is already a bureaucratic quagmire. ObamaCare is about to add steroids. As the profession becomes tyrannized by government, the talented people currently practicing medicine plan to get out sooner than expected. Who knows how many will choose not to get in. Doctor shortages are what lead to the nightmare known as rationed care.

    5. Somewhere around $800 billion in tax increases will hit America's middle class. This added burden will not only further oppress a middle class already reeling from a drop in wages over the last few years, but could damage the overall economy.

    6. Inflation, the cruelest tax on the poor. When businesses get socked with added costs brought about by higher taxes and burdensome government mandates, they pass those cost along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

    7. Added bureaucracy. Even those Obama lapdogs over at the Washington Post's Wonk Blog are admitting that applying for health care is about to get more burdensome than the byzantine paperwork involved in buying a home.

    8. To cut costs or to avoid having to provide insurance, workers on the economic margins are already losing hours, which means a lower paycheck. There are a million sad stories in ObamaVille; here are just a few of them.

    9. ObamaCare is projected to add $6.2 TRILLION to a deficit the GAO has already declared "unsustainable." That's "trillion" with a "t".

    10. More taxes than currently estimated are likely to hit because of situations like this one.

    Three years ago, Obama, Democrats, and his media lied to us about cutting the cost of health care, being able to keep our insurance, and not taxing the middle class. Today, those lies and what ObamaCare is and will do to the working and middle class are the biggest untold story in America.

    The govt becoming more involved in health care is the reason the costs have increased. So Govt creates a crisis, then provides a solution that comes at the expense of liberty and freedom, costs trillions, and by most accounts won't solve the problem but in fact make it far worse.Corruption, incompetence, disregard of the Constitution, and lying are integral to the way that this country is being run.

    REFUSE and Repeal Obamacare...If only a mere 20% of the over 300 million population of the USA boycott Obamacare the government would be overwhelmed to even think they could penalize or mandate every citizen that refused to participate in the most corrupt and unlawful ways which it was passed that circumvented the constitution of the United States

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 9:43 PM, SLTom992 wrote:

    You have so accurately made every single point against the "Affordable Care Act" that it's difficult to add anything.

    But there is one point - the ACA has invented an entirely new arm of the military called the Ready Reserve Corps. This name was carefully chosen to confuse people since those signing up for a 6 year hitch and getting out after the normal 4 would be then in the ready reserve of that particular military arm. (Not the Capital letters.)

    This would then appear to most people to be nothing more than a restatement of normal policy. But it isn't.

    The military is forbidden by law to ever take actions against American citizens except in case of a National Emergency declared by Congress.

    The Ready Reserve Corps is under the direct control of the "Surgeon General" who is a cabinet officer under the command of the President. And the President can name himself Surgeon General since there is no need for that office to actually be a physician.

    Hitler's SS was originally formed in declared part to "fight the evils of tobacco". Is not the Ready Reserve Corps not exactly the same thing?

    Let us say that you have faith in Obama. In another 3 years he will be out of office (unless his SS has something to say about the matter).

    It is likely that a Republican will be in office. Do you want a President with his own private army whose entire reason for being is to "control" the populace?

    What I'm getting at is that defunding Obama-care is not enough. In order to remove the dangers of a private army this law MUST be repealed.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 10:13 PM, luthercert wrote:

    As a disably American at (64) I can only see others along with my self loseing what medical care I have now to help keep me fit

    i am suffering from four illness that use to keep me in the hospital for one to two weeks at a time,but for the pasted 5 years my home health care has keep me out of hospitals ! If this changest so does the care from home !

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2013, at 10:37 PM, adexplorata wrote:

    All three of you have amply illustrated this, the greatest violation of the Constitution since the 1938 National Firearms Act.

    My father was career military. During his tenure, he was promised free lifetime medical for himself and his family if he made the service a career. The government reneged on that promise for about 4 decades. Then they implemented Tricare for Life. He just recently received notice that under ObamaCare he was going to lose that benefit for both himself and my mother of his service. Because he is VA eligible, he has some coverage by the VA with co-payments... for himself only. My mother is not eligible for VA. Because of his age, he is back to $6000 plus per year for medical.

    I am fully covered by VA as a result of being 100% disabled by service in Vietnam. I also had CHAMPUS coverage from a career in the USAF. As soon as I turned 65, although I already have 100% coverage, the government started taking $138 per month from my retirement to pay for Medicare Pt whatever. I fear to think wat will happen when Medicare disappears having been replaced by ObamaCare.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 1:45 AM, markptown wrote:

    Thanks for the comments that include so much lies and mis-information.

    Muslims are exempt (complete bs)

    Congress and staff are exempt (once again complete bs)

    I question who writes they fear mongering lies. Any guesses?

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 4:46 AM, FUtj wrote:

    The Truth About the Health Care Bills

    – Michael Connelly, Ret. Constitutional Attorney

    Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200:

    The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009.

    I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

    To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

    The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.

    However, as scary as all of that is, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.

    The first thing to go will be the masterfully crafted balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. Government. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama Administration authority in a number of different areas over the lives of the American people, and the businesses they own.

    The irony is that the Congress doesn't have any authority to legislate in most of those areas to begin with! I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.

    This legislation also provides for access, by the appointees of the Obama administration, in direct violation of the specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, of all of your personal healthcare information, your personal financial information, and the information of your employer, physician, and hospital.

    All of this is a protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures. You can also forget about the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.

    If you decide not to have healthcare insurance, or if you have private insurance that is not deemed acceptable to the Health Choices Administrator appointed by Obama, there will be a tax imposed on you. It is called a tax instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However, that doesn't work because since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property without the due process of law.

    So, there are three of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so much, out the original ten in the Bill of Rights, that are effectively nullified by this law. It doesn't stop there though.

    The 9th Amendment that provides: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;

    The 10th Amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to control.

    I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get the idea. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress to "be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution." If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for this legislation or anything like it, without feeling I was violating that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway, I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

    For those who might doubt the nature of this threat, I suggest they consult the source, the US Constitution, and Bill of Rights. There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.

    Michael Connelly

    Retired attorney,

    Constitutional Law Instructor

    Carrollton, Texas

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 8:47 AM, nadjalite wrote:

    Hurdle # 1 - nobody wants this crap..............

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 9:00 AM, Snaggletooths wrote:

    These politicians are out of control.... vote them all out and start getting people in office that are for the people... and not for themselves.

    BARBARA OLSON – Author of “Hell to Pay” – a book critical of Hillary Clinton, killed in the Pentagon bombing.

    DARLENE NOVINGER – Former FBI operative, January 23rd, 2003. Novinger was known to hold sensitive information on the Clinton and Bush I administration’s drug operations. Her husband murdered March 1987 when she went public with initial reports. Her father died July 8, 1993 four hours after Darlene was a guest on the Tom Valentine show. Suffered retaliation after reporting discussions by government protected drug smuggler who described contacts with Vice President George Bush and his son, Jeb Bush.

    DAN MULLONEY, a television news photographer who shot footage of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege.

    CHARLES RUFF – White House Counsel and Clinton defense attorney during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment trial. Of apparent natural causes.

    JAMES MCDOUGAL – Clinton’s convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. McDougal was a key witness in Kenneth Starr’s investigation.

    MARY MAHONEY – A former White House intern was murdered July 6, 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown. The murder happened during the pre-trial publicity surrounding the Paula Jones lawsuit days after Newsweek’s Mike Isakoff dropped hints that a former White House staffer was about to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.

    VINCENT FOSTER – Former White House counselor, and former colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock’s Rose law firm. Foster was found dead July 20, 1993 of a gunshot to the head ruled a suicide. Rumours were that Foster and Hillary had an affair.

    RON BROWN – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported to the Bob Grant Radio Show a hole in top of Brown’s skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors.

    C. VICTOR RAISER II – Former National finance Co-Chairman, Clinton for President Campaign and son MONTGOMERY RAISER died in a private plane crash in Alaska, July 30th,1992. Raiser was described as a major player in the Clinton organization by Dee Dee Meyers.

    JEREMY “MIKE” BOORDA, President Clinton’s former Chief of Naval Operations allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest with a .38 caliber pistol on his front lawn in May 1996. The unauthorized wearing of valor pins was the alleged reasoning behind the suicide. By 1998 this reasoning was proved false after the Navy issued a report that said Boorda earned the right to wear the pins afterall.

    PAUL TULLEY – Democrat National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock, Arkansas September 24, 1992, Described by Clinton as a “Dear friend and trusted advisor”.

    ED WILLEY – Clinton fund raiser-found dead November 30, 1993 deep in the woods in Virginia of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide, Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed that Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

    JERRY PARKS – Head of Clinton’s gubernatorial security team in Little Rock. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock. Parks’ son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton. He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house

    JAMES BUNCH – Died from a gunshot wound. Reported to have a black book of people containing names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas.

    JAMES WILSON – Was found dead by hanging May 18, 1993. Was reported to have ties to Whitewater.

    KATHY FERGUSON – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson died in May,1994 was found dead in her living room with a gunshot wound to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she was going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Corbin Jones lawsuit. She was reported a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones case.

    BILL SHELTON – Arkansas state Trooper and Fiancee of Kathy Ferguson.Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.

    GANDY BAUGH – Attorney for Clinton friend Dan Lassater died by falling out a window of a tall building January, 1991. His client was a convicted drug distributor.

    FLORENCE MARTIN – Accountant subcontractor for the CIA related to the Barry Seal Mena Airport drug smuggling case. Dead of three gunshot wounds.

    SUZANNE COLEMAN – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to back of head, ruled a suicide, was pregnant at the time her death.

    PAULA GROBER – Clinton’s speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.

    DANNY CASOLARO – Investigative reporter, investigating Mena airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Found dead with slit his wrists in the middle of his investigation.

    PAUL WILCHER – Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 “October Surprise” was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993 in his Washington DC Apartment. Had delivered report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.

    JON PARNELL WALKER – Whitewater Investigator for Resolution Trust Corporation. Fell to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. Was investigating Morgan Guarantee scandal.

    BARBARA WISE – Commerce Department Staffer, worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

    CHARLES MEISSNER – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

    DR.STANLEY HEARD – Chair National Chiropractic Heath Care Advisory committee died with his attorney.

    STEVE DICKSON – Died in a small plane crash. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton’s advisory council personally treated Clinton’s mother, stepfather and brother.

    BARRY SEAL – Drug running pilot out of Mena, Arkansas. Death was no accident.

    JOHNNY LAWHORN Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Clinton in the trunk of a car left in his repair shop. Died when his car hit a utility pole.

    STANLEY MUGGINS – Suicide. Investigated Madison Guarantee. His report was never released.

    HERSHELL FRIDAY – Attorney and Clinton fund raiser died March 1, 1994 when his plane exploded.

    KEVIN IVES and DON HENRY – Known as “The boys on the track” case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas Airport Drug operation. This controversial case where initial report of death was due to falling asleep on railroad track. Later reports claim the two had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many people linked to the case died (see below) before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.


    KEITH CONEY – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck in July, 1988.

    KEITH McMASKLE – Died, stabbed 113 times, November 1988.

    GREGORY COLLINS – Died from a gunshot wound, January 1989.

    JEFF RHODES – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.

    JAMES MILAN. Found decapitated-Coroner ruled death due to natural causes.

    JORDAN KETTLESON – Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.

    RICHARD WINTERS – Winters was a suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. Was killed in set-up robbery in July 1989.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 10:08 AM, Michaellaborde wrote:

    Obama care is a train wreck and has too many people that don't have to do what others have to do. Too many exemptions.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 10:09 AM, Michaellaborde wrote:

    No exemptions for all.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 11:00 PM, freedomnuts wrote:

    I tripped and fell today, thanks Obama. Takin away my freedom to not fall down again.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 10:54 AM, freedomnuts wrote:

    Hey ya'll have more chain emails about Obama that I could use? I've used up all of them that I got. I read one that said he was going to slowly real american hot dogs into tofu dogs made in China and force us to eat arugula once a day, watever that is. Hell no, the founding fathers would be ashamed!

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