ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“U.S. employers can expect an 8.5 percent increase in their medical costs next year due in some part to the healthcare reform law, the consulting firm PwC said in a report Wednesday.”

“Our actuarial modeling of more than 130 employee benefit plans
shows that last year’s health reform law imposes additional costs on
employers’ health plans. The study also shows that the law will create
a financial incentive for some employers to terminate health benefit
plans in 2014 when new Insurance Exchanges take effect.”

“An astounding 93 percent of physician group practices surveyed by a key trade organization warned that they would not join a new healthcare reform program to reward quality of care unless it’s thoroughly reworked.”

“For years, doctors have urged patients over the age of 50 to get colonoscopies to check for colorectal cancer, which kills 50,000 Americans a year. Their efforts were boosted last year by the federal health care law, which requires that key preventive services, including colonoscopies, be provided to patients at no out-of-pocket cost.
But there’s a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars.”

“In 2009, using a PPACA-adjusted MLR
definition, we estimated that 29% of insurer-state
observations in the individual market would have
MLRs below the 80% minimum, corresponding to
32% of total enrollment. Nine states would have
at least one-half of their health insurers below the
threshold. If insurers below the MLR threshold
exit the market, major coverage disruption could
occur for those in poor health; we estimated
the range to be between 104,624 and 158,736
member-years.”

“Access, cost, and quality have long been known as the three-legged stool of health reform. It is hard to improve one without worsening the others. So trade-offs must be made.
But not this time. Congress decided it no longer had to make trade-offs. It could have its cake and eat it, too, by creating (drum roll)…tah daaaaah!…ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATIONS (ACOs)!!!!”

“Hospitals groups are afraid a healthcare reform tax on medical device manufacturers will wind up hurting them more than the device makers.
The reform provision, which is the target of repeal efforts in the House and Senate, imposes a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of most medical devices starting in 2013.”

“Perhaps more important than overall impressions are public perceptions about whether people will eventually be better off under the legislation. Unfortunately for the bill’s supporters, the polling evidence doesn’t suggest strong confidence. Twenty-six percent in the March 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation poll say they and their families will be better off, while 30 percent say they will be worse off. A strong plurality in March 2011 says the cost for them and their families will get worse. Twenty-three percent say it will get better. As for one of the bill’s selling points, the ability to get insurance, 26 percent in the latest Kaiser poll say it will get better, 25 percent worse, and 46 percent stay about the same.”

“ObamaCare’s middle class insurance subsidies are one of the law’s most popular features for obvious reasons. But the existence of the subsidies sets up a serious potential problem: What happens politically when it’s discovered that between two families making roughly the same amount of money, only one has access to a subsidy?”

“Of course, I imagine that at this point supporters are saying that the best is yet to come–that ObamaCare just hasn’t really gotten going yet. Perhaps so! But this is the one year report card, and the first-year grades are pretty underwhelming.”