The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers
Highmark Health said it would reduce its range of offerings on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, becoming the latest insurer to retrench amid steep financial losses.
The big Pittsburgh-based nonprofit company said it would continue to sell plans related to the federal health overhaul in all of the areas it currently serves, which span Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. But “we will have less products in the market overall,” said David L. Holmberg, the company’s chief executive, who said Highmark had lost $318 million on its individual health-law plans in the first six months of 2015, after rolling out a very broad array of options that had attracted many consumers with chronic conditions who required costly care.
The Obama administration will give three Planned Parenthood chapters a combined $1 million in grants to help sign up people for Obamacare.
The grants come as Republican lawmakers want to defund the women’s health organization due to a series of undercover videos detailing the donation of and compensation for aborted fetal parts.
Most of the 275 million Americans with health benefits probably see the logo on the corner of their insurance card and think that’s who has them covered. But for almost 100 million of them—the majority of Americans who get coverage through work—the true insurer is noted somewhere else: on their business card. It’s called self-insurance, and the Obama administration seems interested in curtailing the practice to shore up the Affordable Care Act’s health-insurance exchanges.
With the end of the Obama administration on the horizon, Republican presidential candidates—and members of Congress—are proposing ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act. Undoing the damage of ObamaCare may finally become a realistic possibility.
One of the strangest things about Obamacare is that it is trying to force millions of families to obtain the wrong kind of insurance. When they turn it down, these families often end up with no insurance at all.
As an alternative we propose to allow people to obtain a more limited type of insurance – one that better meets individual and family needs. This insurance would be less costly than ObamaCare insurance; it would pay the vast majority of medical bills the family is likely to incur; and it would at the same time protect the family’s income and assets.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, may have gone into effect with the flip of the calendar on Jan. 1, 2014, but it remains a work in progress for much of America, which is still acquainting itself with the new health law.
According to preliminary data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a letter to Congress on July 17, 2015, about 40 percent of households that received subsidies in 2014 are currently at risk of losing their subsidy eligibility because of complications with their 2014 tax returns. To date 1.8 million heads of households have not submitted the appropriate Affordable Care Act (ACA) related tax forms to reconcile the $5.5 billion in subsidies paid on behalf of these households.
Legislation overturning the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the small-group insurance market is likely to get a look this fall, according to multiple sources on and off Capitol Hill, and it may be the Obamacare “fix” with the best chance of becoming law.
All the usual caveats apply: Republicans would have to convince the rank-and-file to accept a smaller-scale change to the law while waiting for full repeal. Democrats must be willing to agree to any change at all. Nothing involving Obamacare comes easy.
Back in 2009, President Obama spoke to the American Medical Association and said, “We need to bundle payments so you aren’t paid for every single treatment you offer a patient with a chronic condition like diabetes, but instead paid well for how you treat the overall disease.” That’s a great idea, and it could really improve health care. Unfortunately, the president’s signature reform did nothing to move in that direction. Now, as before, almost no one in the health care fields is actually paid to keep people healthy.
At a July town hall in Nashville, Tenn., President Barack Obama played down fears of a spike in health insurance premiums in his signature health law’s third year.
“My expectation is that they’ll come in significantly lower than what’s being requested,” he said, saying Tennesseans had to work to ensure the state’s insurance commissioner “does their job in not just passively reviewing the rates, but really asking, ‘OK, what is it that you are looking for here? Why would you need very high premiums?’”
That commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak, answered on Friday by greenlighting the full 36.3% increase sought by the biggest health plan in the state, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. She said the insurer demonstrated the hefty increase for 2016 was needed to cover higher-than-expected claims from sick people who signed up for individual policies in the first two years of the Affordable Care Act.