ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
“MIT economist Jonathan Gruber is in the news again with his comments about how the drafters of ObamaCare used Americans’ ignorance about the complexities of tax law to impose a new tax on high-cost health insurance.
In a speech at the University of Rhode Island in November 2012, Gruber said: “…we just tax insurance companies, they pass on higher prices that offsets the tax break we get into being the same thing. It’s a very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.””
“A number of liberal pundits working off of White House talking points became heavily invested in the argument that the election was not about Obamacare. They seemed to believe if the election was about something else, Obamacare wouldn’t be repudiated or the GOP would lack a mandate to get rid of it. This was, to put it mildly, silly and desperate.
No matter how many GOP ads were cut, how much direct mail was distributed, or campaign Web sites were created pledging to eliminate Obamacare or attacking Democrats for supporting it, the election could not be a referendum on Obamacare, according to the left-wing blogosphere. But it was. Of all the president’s policies that were on the ballot, Obamacare was the most significant.”
“Missouri health insurance consumers can get a first look at rates for 2015 coverage on HealthCare.gov, but they may be in for a bit of sticker shock.
St. Louis-area customers will have almost twice as many options to consider once open enrollment begins Saturday. Four insurers are selling a total of 42 different plans, a substantial increase from last year when only two carriers combined to sell 25 plans.”
“With the Affordable Care Act to start enrollment for its second year on Nov. 15, some unpleasant surprises may be in store for some.
That’s because a number of low-priced Obamacare plans will raise their rates in 2015, making those options less affordable. On top of that, penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families’ pocketbooks.
“The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,” said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. “This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.””
“With the second open enrollment period of the health insurance marketplaces approaching, this analysis provides an initial look at premium changes for marketplace plans for individuals in 15 states and the District of Columbia that have publicly released comprehensive data on rates or rate filings for all insurers.
The analysis examines premium changes for the lowest-cost bronze plan and the two lowest-cost silver plans in 16 major cities. The second-lowest cost silver plan in each state is of particular interest as it acts as a benchmark that helps determine how much assistance eligible individuals can receive in the form of federal tax credits. The findings show that in general, individuals will pay slightly less to enroll in the second-lowest cost plan in 2015 than they did in 2014, prior to the application of tax credits.”
“Since the outcome of Tuesday’s elections became clear, a lot has been said, and threatened, about repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican control of the next Congress is likely to bring ACA challenges in two flavors. There will be early “statement legislation” to repeal the law and possibly to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate, a linchpin of the law that spreads risk and makes its insurance market changes work. These bills, intended to honor election promises to the Republican base, would be vetoed by President Barack Obama if they pass.”
“Big Republican election gains in Congress will position the GOP to aggressively challenge Obamacare in 2015. Now the questions are how sweeping Republican efforts will be to roll back the law, and whether the party will pursue its longstanding goal of restructuring Medicare and Medicaid. Everyone will be watching where President Barack Obama draws the line with his veto pen.
Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a key campaign issue propelling Republicans to gain control of the Senate and their largest majority in the House since the Great Depression. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is expected to be the new Senate majority leader, has vowed to dismantle Obamacare “root and branch.””
“President Reagan gauged the success of a welfare program by how quickly people were able to move off government assistance and into remunerative work. Yet President Obama, the White House, and their allies are measuring the success of Obamacare by how many people can be enrolled in their new government entitlement programs.
The president celebrated the law’s “success” in getting seven million people enrolled in Medicaid and eight million (or so) people enrolled in exchange coverage, 87 percent of whom are receiving government subsidies for their insurance. And he hopes to lure another five million people onto Obamacare programs starting with the November 15 enrollment period. There is no expectation that participation in these government programs will be a temporary boost but rather that they will become a permanent fixture in people’s lives.”
“For businesses across Michigan and the country, the Obama administration’s one-year reprieve from financial penalties under the national health care law is nearing an end, forcing some employers to chose between buying coverage for employees or paying fines.
At the same time, some small businesses that already offer health insurance are facing big price hikes next year as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — the largest carrier in the state — has stopped allowing businesses to renew policies that aren’t compliant with the Affordable Care Act. In their place it is offering more comprehensive, but pricier, insurance policies.”
“The Obama administration predicted Monday that the number of people with health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces will be significantly lower by the end of next year than previous government estimates.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced that, by the end of 2015, 9 million to 9.9 million Americans probably will be in health plans sold through the federal and state insurance exchanges created under the health-care law. The administration’s expectations are as much as roughly 30 percent beneath the most recent prediction of the Congressional Budget Office that 13 million people will have health coverage through these exchanges next year.”