ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

“Yesterday Massachusetts officials announced plans to default to Healthcare.gov, but also announced a quixotic sprint to try first try to rebuild the entire site in five months with a brand new, no-bid taxpayer-paid contract to health care software developer hCentive. This move comes eight months into open enrollment, after launching the worst performing exchange in the country, spending most of the $180 million from Washington and announcing that original contractor CGI would be fired—even though it is still working on the project. The announcement should leave taxpayers and policymakers scratching their heads and wondering about the lack of accountability, government management and procurement.”

“Health care costs are too damn high—and they’re only getting worse. Last week, researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth released a report estimating that health care costs will continue to grow faster than the economy for at least the next two decades. This is a tremendous burden on average Americans, who already spend nearly a fifth of their average annual pre-tax income on health care.”

“Despite Obamacare’s strong national enrollment numbers, several states are at risk for big premium hikes.

Each state is its own insurance market, and they had wildly different experiences during Obamacare’s first open-enrollment window. So although nationwide statistics are important for judging the law’s political success, the substantive tests for the law’s future mostly lie with the states—and some of them aren’t looking so hot.”

“The first suggested Obamacare premium prices for 2015 don’t look so scary, but a few states could soon be in for some nasty sticker shock.

Health insurers that are still processing enrollments from Obamacare signups are at the same time setting their premiums for 2015 individual policies—and setting the stage for more debate about the Affordable Care Act.”

“Massachusetts pioneered universal health care in 2006. Under then-Governor Mitt Romney, it was the first state to guarantee access to insurance — and drove its uninsured rate down to just 4 percent.

Which makes it baffling that Massachusetts did arguably the worst of any state in implementing Obamacare. Like a handful of ardent Obamacare supporters in other states, Massachusetts officials tried to pull off an ambitious launch — and failed badly.”

“An insurer in Washington state selling plans under the Affordable Care Act is proposing to lower customers’ health premiums next year in what appears to be one of the first such decreases proposed for 2015.”

“Whenever somebody says that an argument is settled, you can be sure that it is not. If it were settled, there would be no need to say so. No president will hold a press conference to announce that the argument over the prohibition of alcohol is settled, precisely because it truly is settled. So when President Obama declared the debate over his health-care law “settled” and “over,” as he did at an April 17 press conference, his performance was self-refuting.”

“Kyle Cheney of Politico is a solid, straight news reporter. So I was a little surprised this morning to see his analysis of state Obamacare exchange spending features numbers much smaller than the ones I have been using, most notably a figure of $248 million for Oregon and just $57 million for Massachusetts. Total federal grant funding to Oregon’s failed exchange, according to CMS, is $305 million. Massachusetts, according to CMS, is at $179 million. These are huge disparities.”

“In the first look at how insurers plan to adjust prices in the second year under the federal health-care law, filings from Virginia carriers show they are opting for premium increases in 2015 that will pinch consumers’ pocketbooks but fall short of some bigger rate predictions.

The new premium proposals, detailed in official filings to the state’s insurance regulator, show health plans all opting for some increases.”

“With enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges now closed, Democrats and their friends in the media are ebullient. Obamacare is an enormous success, they say, and conservatives have been humiliated. On closer inspection, however, things seem decidedly less bullish for President Obama’s signature achievement. “