The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers
Republican senators are pressing the Obama administration for information on what they say could be a “bailout” of insurance companies under ObamaCare.
Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.) wrote a letter to the administration warning against financial settlements with insurance companies. Those companies have sued over a shortfall in an ObamaCare program known as risk corridors.
“We write to express our grave concerns regarding the potential participation of your departments in a multibillion dollar bailout of select health insurance companies through the Affordable Care Act’s Risk Corridors Program,” the senators wrote.
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President Obama would veto a House bill that would provide an exemption from the individual mandate if someone’s insurance coverage ended mid-year because of a co-op closure, the White House said Tuesday.
The House is debating H.R. 954, the CO-OP Consumer Protection Act, and is slated to vote on the measure later today. The bill responds to the closures of three co-ops, nonprofit insurers that were created under the Affordable Care Act, during the past year. Republicans have pointed to the failures of 16 out of 23 original co-ops as a sign of the 2010 health care law’s weakness.
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Obamacare’s fourth open enrollment period will begin November 1. For the Internal Revenue Service, it will be open season on uninsured taxpayers. In an effort to maximize enrollment, the IRS is mining the personal tax information of people who have chosen not to buy Obamacare policies or claimed an exemption. CMS proclaims Obamacare policies are “a product consumers want and need” and plans an outreach campaign. The agency can’t understand why millions of people—many of them young and healthy—still don’t realize what they want and need it.
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BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee sent shock waves Monday across Tennessee with the company’s decision to exit the Obamacare exchange in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, a move that highlights persistent volatility in the young health insurance marketplace.
Three years into the Affordable Care Act exchange, the state’s largest insurer is grappling with hefty losses and ongoing uncertainty on the marketplace. BCBST is open to coming fully back into the market once uncertainties about policies and the membership wane.
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Insurers have announced that they are sharply raising prices or pulling out of the Obamacare markets entirely. Many consumers will have fewer choices of insurance plans, and many insurance plans will include fewer doctors and hospitals. Many of the most important problems can be understood if you think of an Obamacare marketplace as a particular kind of restaurant: an all-you-can-eat buffet. It can be a solid business, but it’s hard to get the pricing right. For example, you can be in deep trouble if your buffet suddenly becomes the favorite hangout of the high school football team. Unless you make major adjustments, you will quickly lose money. That may be what has happened to some of the companies selling health insurance.
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ObamaCare is plainly unaffordable for many young Americans. We’re at the start of our careers—and the bottom of the income ladder—so paying so much for something we likely won’t use makes little sense. The IRS penalty of $695 or 2.5% of our income is often cheap by comparison. We may be young, but we can do the math.
Young Americans aren’t looking for “outreach” and “engagement” from President Obama. We’re looking for affordable health-insurance plans—and ObamaCare doesn’t offer them.
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A majority of physicians look negatively at their profession and are increasingly burdened by new reimbursement models, according to a new survey.
The Physicians Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports research on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on physician groups, surveyed 17,236 physicians across the U.S. (PDF) on a variety of issues related to their field.
The report highlighted low morale among a majority of physicians. Fifty-four percent of physicians rated their morale as somewhat negative or very negative and only 37% were positive about the future of their profession. This is a decrease, however, from 2012 when 68% of physicians described low morale when surveyed by the organization.
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President Obama has an opportunity to win a positive legacy in health care. Although his attempt at payment reform, Obamacare, has failed in public opinion, he is also encouraging important initiatives in medical innovation. The Cancer Moonshot and Precision Medicine Initiative represent investments in innovation that can bring big payoffs. However, they will not succeed fully unless the Food and Drug Administration allows patients access to new therapies. Legislation modernizing the FDA, the 21st Century Cures Act, is being fumbled inches away from the Congressional end zone. Presidential leadership is needed.
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The Affordable Care Act has expanded Medicaid and has added to its unsustainable spending trajectory, according to a report from the Mercatus Center.
“Before the Affordable Care Act, the federal government provided states with an open-ended reimbursement of at least half of each state’s Medicaid expenditures,” the report states. “Because of the federal reimbursement, both state Medicaid spending and federal spending (through the reimbursement) have increased significantly since the program’s inception.”
According to the report, experts did not account for how states would respond to the reimbursement rate and underestimated the number of enrollees and their related costs.
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Yahoo Finance’s Ethan Wolff-Mann, who may have the best name in journalism, writes it’s not true that ObamaCare has caused employers to reduce workers’ hours because the new Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research Educational Trustsurvey found “a whopping 7% of employers with more than 50 employees actually gave part-timers full-time jobs since Obamacare was officially launched in 2013. Only 2% of employers cut full-timers to part-time.” Leaving aside the question of whether 7 percent is a whopping figure, the figures Wolff-Mann cites don’t necessarily support his claim.
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