Audits and investigations into the effects of ObamaCare from congressional committees, government auditors, advocacy groups, and others.
“The Supreme Court decision upholding Hobby Lobby’s ability to refuse to cover certain contraceptive services based on its owners’ religious beliefs has set off a wave of analysis of what the decision means. That will not be resolved anytime soon. But we do know what women think of the policy issue at the core of the case.
Overall, by a margin of 59% to 35%, women oppose the idea of letting companies deny coverage of contraceptives based on their owners’ religious beliefs. But women’s views on this issue–studied in the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll last month–differ by party, ideology and their religion.
White evangelical protestants, conservatives and women who are Republican are more supportive of Hobby Lobby’s position. Women who are liberal, Democrats, and protestant and Catholic are much more likely to oppose the company’s position.”
“If you offer it, will they come? Insurers and some U.S. senators have proposed offering cheaper, skimpier “copper” plans on the health insurance marketplaces to encourage uninsured stragglers to buy. But consumer advocates and some policy experts say that focusing on reducing costs on the front end exposes consumers to unacceptably high out-of-pocket costs if they get sick. The trade-off, they say, may not be worth it.
“It’s a false promise of affordability,” says Sabrina Corlette, project director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “If you ever have to use the plan, you won’t be able to afford it.””
“The Obama administration announced they hit their revised goal of 6 million enrollees on the Affordable Care Act exchanges this week, several days before enrollment closes tomorrow. Politically, hitting this benchmark is an important symbol for the administration, as it has struggled to recover from the disastrous rollout of the insurance exchange websites this fall. But policy-wise, it doesn’t mean nearly as much. And it may take until 2016 to really see if the law is successful at consistently getting lots of Americans affordable health insurance.”
“In recent weeks, I’ve talked to a handful of large healthcare firms and medical practices that offer specialty medical services. I asked them what kinds of prices they’re soliciting from the new health plans now taking shape under Obamacare. These providers said that they’re demanding, and in some cases securing, pretty rich reimbursement rates from the new, Obamacare health plans.”
“The main focus of our analysis is assessing access to primary-care physicians under the health-care law. The reason for this focus is twofold: first, we already know that we will be facing a primary-care shortage in the coming years, so understanding the role that Obamacare plays in affecting the shortage is important; second, much of the law was motivated by the argument that expanding access to inexpensive (or free) preventive care and primary care physicians would ultimately bend the curve of health-care spending.”
“For Obamacare to succeed, American doctors need to earn less money. Last week, Washington took a step in that direction. One of Medicare’s influential advisory boards recommended that payment rates to providers be sanded down.”
“The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.”
“If all states implement the Affordable Care Act, 18 million more people will be enrolled in Medicaid by the end of 2016. Even if some states opt out, the program is poised for a huge expansion. But having insurance does not guarantee access to health care. Policymakers need to explore and reduce the barriers Medicaid patients face as millions join an already overburdened system.”
“Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces for small businesses, which have already stumbled before getting out of the gate, are facing another pressing question just months before millions can sign up for benefits: What happens if insurers don’t show up to sell? Early looks at insurance offerings on the Obamacare exchanges show that insurers aren’t exactly signing up in droves to sell on the new Small Business Health Option Program exchanges.”
“The bottom line: Thousands of newly minted MDs may be unable to find work as doctors while wrestling with enormous student loans. The median debt for medical students in 2012 was $170,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. ‘We’re looking at the reality of medical students in 2016 graduating and having no residency programs available,’ said Christiane Mitchell, AAMC director of federal affairs. ‘If you can’t guarantee residencies, then our best and brightest may look elsewhere.'”