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

Just in time for the next presidential election, health care spending is starting to take off again. Through 2024, health care spending is projected to grow by 5.8% annually, on average, according to CMS. While this isn’t unexpected—health economists across the political spectrum expected health care costs to start growing again (and growth rates are expected to still be lower than the long-run average)—the window for addressing health care costs in a less painful way is closing. Without better cost controls in the private sector, and without immediate reforms to Medicare, the health care sector is set to gobble up a full fifth of the U.S. economy in just 10 years.

Recent reports have touted a significant drop in the number of uninsured and generally credited Obamacare for it. And, other reports have recently highlighted about 950,000 more people signing up for Obamacare since the 2015 open enrollment closed but haven’t said anything about the number of people who dropped their coverage during the same period.

As one headline put it, “After Obamacare Number of Uninsured Hits Five Year-Low.” Now, this headline might be technically correct but it hardly gives us the proper impression for why the uninsured rate has dropped so low.

Earlier this week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio tossed into the Republican presidential campaign ring an abbreviated version of his plan to fix health care. How does his approach (published in Politico magazine) compare to a somewhat more detailed plan released by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker the next day?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker staked out his claim yesterday to the pole position in the race to lead Republican presidential candidates on Obamacare repeal-and-replace issues. Now, let’s put the Walker plan into perspective, and assess what is still missing or needed to resolve further in later iterations.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin governor and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker released his version of an Obamacare “repeal and replace” plan.

There’s also versions out there from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La.) There are yet others on Capitol Hill: the Republican Study Committee plan, the plan advanced by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), and the so-called “Burr-Hatch-Upton” plan. Republicans are often accused of having no alternative to Obamacare, but they actually have many.

An unprecedented House lawsuit against President Obama that was once derided as a certain loser looks stronger now and may soon deliver an early legal round to Republican lawmakers complaining of executive branch overreach.
A federal judge is expected to decide shortly whether to dismiss the suit, but thanks to an amended complaint and a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Republican-backed case has a much better chance of proceeding, attorneys agree.

Two leading Republican presidential candidates, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, recently released concept papers that promise to provide “all Americans” with government-subsidized access to health insurance. This is a monumental development for both the campaign and for the conservative movement, one that breathes Ronald Reagan’s soul into the Republican nomination fight.

Obamacare health insurance plans limit consumers’ access to physicians and specialists, according to a new report.

Avalere Health, a strategic advisory firm, says average provider networks for plans offered on the health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare have about 34 percent fewer providers than the average commercial plan offered outside the exchange. The new data quantify anecdotal reports saying exchange networks include fewer providers than traditional commercial plans.

Gallup has just released a state-by-state report, concluding Medicaid expansion and establishing a state exchange almost doubled the reduction in uninsured. Of the two, I cannot imagine setting up a state exchange is a big factor, because beneficiaries get the same tax credits in state or federal Obamacare exchanges. Obamacare mostly increased Medicaid dependency.

– See more at: http://healthblog.ncpa.org/gallup-confirms-obamacare-increased-welfare-dependency/#sthash.nipMznZq.dpuf

It’s no secret that health care and insurance are complex. But just how complicated are they to navigate?

Take scheduling a doctor visit to have a rash checked out. Finding out what it will cost requires answering a series of questions: Is the doctor in your insurer’s network? Is the facility? What’s your copay for the visit? If you have a yearly deductible, how much of it have you already fulfilled? If the rash requires a procedure to treat it, will that require seeing a different doctor? If so, is that doctor in your insurer’s network?