“Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree universal health insurance is the central goal of successful healthcare reform. The left sold the Affordable Care Act on this promise; the right hopes to do the same with an alternative plan set to be unveiled later this year.

Both sides are trying to fix the wrong problem. Universal health insurance is profoundly different from better healthcare, and so long as reformers focus on the former, the latter will continue to deteriorate.”

“The people who signed up for health coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace are older and sicker than expected, which could mean higher premiums in the future, the insurer said Thursday.”

“When the president said in his first inaugural address that middle-income Americans “will not see your taxes increased a single dime,” most still believed in his supreme powers to solve the nation’s toughest problems, including health reform, that had so thwarted his predecessors.”

“The most important, and uncertain, provision of Obamacare remains the individual mandate.

Obamacare’s authors believed it was crucial to the viability of the law to impose a new obligation on U.S. citizens and legal residents to enroll in government-approved health insurance. This new obligation was to be enforced by a penalty on the non-compliant, collected through the income tax.”

“Insurance company executives on Wednesday told Congress that high proportions of people signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act paid their first month’s premium, fueling the partisan fight over the impact of the health law.”

“Top health insurance companies told members of Congress Wednesday that more than 80 percent of people who’ve signed up under the president’s new health care law have gone on to pay their premiums — a necessary step for the enrollment figures touted by the Obama administration to hold up.”

“Don Berwick – who, as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, oversaw large chunks of the early implementation of the Affordable Care Act – is trying to shake up the health policy world again. He ran CMS from July 2010 to December 2011, and left because Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation to lead the agency permanently. Now, more than two years later, he is a long-shot Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts and the heart of his platform is a single-payer health plan.”

“Enrollees in some of the health law’s most popular plans will face high cost-sharing requirements that the pharmaceutical industry says could keep patients from getting the drugs they need.

Most silver plans in the online marketplaces, or exchanges, require patients to pay for prescription drugs as part of the plan’s deductible, while nearly all bronze plans do, according to a report from Breakaway Health prepared for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s trade group.”

“Two of the most controversial questions in health care reform are whether government-sponsored expansions of health insurance coverage like ObamaCare and RomneyCare save lives, and if so whether other policies could save more lives per dollar spent. “Changes in Mortality After Massachusetts Health Care Reform,” published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, presents evidence suggesting RomneyCare may have saved lives, but at a very high cost.”

“As you may know if you’re a regular reader of The Apothecary, the left has systematically ignored the mountains of clinical evidence showing that the Medicaid program doesn’t actually make people healthier. Given that Obamacare is designed to achieve half of its coverage expansion via Medicaid, you can understand why: if Medicaid doesn’t make people healthier, a significant chunk of Obamacare is wasted money. But the other chunk of Obamacare—the one that expands coverage using subsidized private-sector coverage—could indeed have an impact on health outcomes. An important new study, following the health outcomes of Romneycare in Massachusetts, shows us how.”