Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.

If policy makers want to instigate more competition in the ACA, they can start by broadening “credibility adjustments” to make it easier for new plans to get started. The exemptions should cover all new carriers that enter the exchanges. They should be deeper and apply for an extended period over which a new carrier faces high startup costs.

A far better alternative would be to scrap the caps on health plan operating margins altogether, and make it easier for new plans to channel revenue into startup costs and investors to turn profits off these investments. The law already provides some flexibility toward these ends. It states that the HHS Secretary can adjust the individual market cap if “the Secretary determines that the application of the 80% may destabilize the individual market in such State.” So long as consumers have transparency (and reliable metrics) on the value of the benefits that different plans offer, the exchanges would benefit from giving new health plans far more flexibility on how they allocate their capital.

. . .

When open enrollment in Obamacare starts next month, enrollees in four states will be able to choose plans from only one insurer.

Alaska, Alabama, Wyoming and Oklahoma have confirmed to the Washington Examiner that they will have only one insurer offering Obamacare plans for 2017. The revelation comes in the wake of defections from some major insurers that have left Obamacare exchanges due to financial losses.

. . .

The Affordable Care Act’s defenders have spent the past six years dismissing the law’s critics for predicting that it would enter a “death spiral.” But it turns out we were prophets – just look at what’s happening all across Arizona.

The past couple of months have seen the Affordable Care Act’s – Obamacare’s – online exchanges crumble in our state. Three years in, health-insurance companies have discovered that the law’s top-down, one-size-fits-all approach is a bureaucratic and financial disaster. So naturally, they’re abandoning the law in droves.

. . .

 

The Obama administration is maneuvering to pay health insurers billions of dollars the government owes under the Affordable Care Act through a move that could circumvent Congress. Justice Department officials have privately told several health plans suing over the unpaid money that they are eager to negotiate a broad settlement, which could end up offering payments to about 175 health plans selling coverage on ACA marketplaces. The payments likely would draw from an obscure Treasury Department fund intended to cover federal legal claims, controverting congressional will and intent.

. . .

 

Despite the maze of federal rules, taxes, and penalties Obamacare has created, Democrats are doubling down on government interference in health care by advocating for an old, already passed-upon idea: a government-run plan option, or a so-called “public option.” They forget why this idea was not included in their original plan: it simply doesn’t work. In a health system that values innovation, choice, first rate care, and groundbreaking treatments for patients, market forces must be at play to drive efficiency and effectiveness from not only hospitals and doctors, but insurers as well.

. . .

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the biggest U.S. health insurer, is scaling back its experiment in Obamacare markets as its Harken Health Insurance Co. startup withdraws from the two exchanges where it was selling plans. Harken will not offer individual plans through Obamacare exchanges in Georgia and Chicago in 2017, the company said Thursday in an e-mailed statement.

. . .

Medicaid expansion is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. Blase rebuts Dr. Aaron Carroll, a long-time supporter of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion, writing in The New York Times to encourage further expansion.  Carroll doesn’t not address new data showing government spending on Medicaid expansion enrollees is nearly 50% higher than the government projected, nor that Medicaid enrollees obtain only 20 to 40 cents of value for each dollar the government spends on their behalf.

. . .

The House on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow people who enrolled in failed health insurance “co-ops” under the Affordable Care Act to skip this year’s penalty for not having coverage. The Republican-backed bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 258-165, but 16 Democrats broke with their party to support the measure. “It’s just wrong, it’s wrong, to hold these working families financially responsible for a co-op’s failure because it went under due to factors beyond their control,” said Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA).  President Obama says he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

. . .

The Obama administration will use targeted, digital messages and online networks such as Twitter in a sweeping campaign to get young adults to sign up for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s fall open enrollment, appealing to a group seen as critical to the law’s success.

The administration, which announced the new push on Tuesday, is betting the aggressive campaign will resonate with uninsured consumers age 35 and under. But some Republicans are already opposing some of the outreach efforts and health analysts warn lackluster sign-ups would drive more insurers to abandon the exchanges.

. . .

About 27,000 Hoosiers will lose their Obamacare plans next year after Indiana University Health Plans announced it is withdrawing from the Indiana marketplace, citing big losses from the new enrollees. It had covered 15% of marketplace enrollees last year. Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, a Republican, said the announcement from IU Health Plans is evidence the healthcare law is “collapsing before our eyes.”  “Because of the broken Obamacare system, Hoosiers continue to face rising premiums and limited choices rather than reliable, affordable healthcare,” Coats said.

. . .