The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the transformation of the nation’s health care system, HHS has gone from a minor regulatory player to the second most-burdensome regulator, measured by the amount of paperwork they pile on Americans, behind only the IRS.

In 2008, HHS imposed roughly 412 million hours of paperwork, up sharply from 152 million hours in 1995. By 2016, however, with the help of hundreds of new ACA regulations, HHS’s paperwork burden has increased to roughly 700 million hours, an increase of more than 300 million hours since President Obama took office.

Kaiser Family Foundation released a survey Wednesday, which revealed among Republicans, 26 percent named Donald Trump as the candidate they most trust to represent their views on the health care, while 21 percent picked Ted Cruz. Fewer registered Republicans named John Kasich. Independents surveyed were more likely to choose either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders than a Republican candidate, the report says.

Overall, the survey shows, health care is an important issue to a majority of registered voters.

Both the percentage of employers who offer insurance and the percentage of people covered will be important to watch as the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to unfold. New coverage provisions and financial assistance provided in the ACA affect employers’ decision to offer coverage and employees’ decisions to take up any coverage they are offered at work. The employer shared responsibility provision, for example, requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer coverage to full-time employees and their dependent children or face a financial penalty.

The administration has decided to explore the ‘next chapter’ of healthcare reform, rather than focusing on the issues of access and affordability.

The administration continues with an aggressive agenda to make administrative changes that impact millions of people without benefit of congressional input.

The latest changes that the Obama administration wants to make to Medicare Advantage plans offered to retirees of companies, labor unions, and municipal governments—called Medicare Advantage Employer-Group Waiver Plans (EGWP, pronounced “egg whips”).

The main reason many insurers are raising premiums this year is because they are experiencing higher than expected costs. This update implies that the people currently signed up in the plans are less healthy than what was anticipated by the company when calculating what to charge for premiums last year.

The Affordable Care Act was sold as something that would lower the cost of health care for millions of Americans. The only thing another year of premium increases, now once again accelerating, proves is that the promise becomes harder and harder to believe.

 

Big government tries to do too many complex things that it can’t do very well. In order to get the job done, government bureaucracies rely on unelected advisory groups from the private sector. For example, in Medicare and Medicaid, the government usually draws advisers from major hospitals and health-insurance companies. You can imagine the opportunities for cronyism and conflicts of interest such a scheme might create.

What makes the risk of corruption even greater is that many of the advisory groups the government puts together are relatively obscure.

Hillary Clinton wants to use Obamacare to provide health coverage for illegal immigrants.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper as part of CNN’s presidential primetime event Monday, Clinton said, “It’s not only the right and moral thing to do for them, it’s also important that we keep ourselves healthy and public health requires that.”

Republican lawmakers are trying to draw attention to what they say are the law’s failures. On Monday, the Ways and Means Committee said they would send out six ways the administration has violated the law over the next few days.

Committee members said the administration has said it would “use taxpayer dollars to pay off special interests” and “changed the risk corridor payment formula to provide more money to insurance companies.”

After launching the only health care cooperative in the country that made money, the top executives of Maine’s Community Health Options insurance company received hefty pay hikes that more than doubled their pay in the first two years of operation.

Now, a year later, the same managers are dealing with millions of dollars of losses and are expected to sharply increase premiums on its 84,000 customers to cover claims that poured in during 2015 when thousands of policy holders – many of them previously uninsured – accessed medical care on a scale no one anticipated.

Vermont has filed a 1332 state innovation waiver to avoid building a website for its small-business insurance exchange. The state hopes to have those employers enroll directly through insurers.

Under the waiver, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, states can request that the federal government waive basically every major coverage component of the Affordable Care Act, including exchanges, benefit packages, and the individual and employer mandates. The only requirement is that a state’s healthcare coverage remains consistent and adequate. Vermont is the first state to send a finalized request (PDF) to the CMS.