“What would you call a health-insurance program that has worse health outcomes for cancer and heart disease than Medicare or private insurance, that pays doctors and specialists so little that they often refuse to see patients, and that’s driving state budgets into bankruptcy? If you’re the Obama administration, apparently, you call it a success and make it the cornerstone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health-care-reform legislation passed in March 2010 that is better known as Obamacare.”

“The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first-ever hearing on the constitutionality of ObamaCare yesterday, and talk about a barn door closing. After federal Judge Roger Vinson struck down on Monday the entire statute in a suit brought by 26 states, some states are already suspending any efforts to comply with its regulations and mandates.”

“Health insurers in 34 states have stopped selling child-only insurance policies as a result of the health reform law, and the market continues to destablize.
According to a survey of state insurance departments by Republican Senate committee staff and obtained by POLITICO, states that have seen carriers exit the market include those that have been ardent supporters of the health reform law, like California and Oregon. Twenty states now have no insurers offering child-only policies.”

“In a Jan. 7 letter to President Obama, more than 30 current and former GOP governors urged the White House to remove ‘excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates.’ The letter says that ObamaCare and spending mandates from the stimulus bill passed in 2009 ‘prevent states from managing their Medicaid programs for their unique Medicaid populations.'”

“The top-down federal approach to health care reform assaults the traditional state role in insurance regulation, squashes innovation, and undermines real choice and competition. PPACA is thus a bad deal for states, reducing them to mere agents of federal health and insurance policy. They could not make full use of their comparative advantages in coping with very different insurance markets, mending the safety net care for the poorest and most vulnerable of their citizens with new policies, or undertaking imaginative reforms without getting a permission slip from Washington.”

“Roughly half of the anticipated gains in insurance coverage from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are achieved through a massive expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal–state health insurance program for the poor. The Medicaid program, with its soaring price tag and dubious level of care for recipients, is in serious need of reform, not expansion. Increasing enrollment in this program by a third is a major flaw of the new health care law.”

“Once ObamaCare becomes fully effective in 2014, the cost of newly eligible Medicaid enrollees will be almost fully covered by the federal government through 2019, with federal financial support expected to be extended thereafter. But ObamaCare provides states with zero additional federal financial support for new enrollees among those eligible for Medicaid under the old laws. That makes increased state Medicaid costs from higher enrollments by ‘old-eligibles’ virtually certain as they enroll into Medicaid to comply with the mandate to purchase health insurance. This study estimates and compares potential increases in Medicaid costs from ObamaCare for the five most populous states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.”

“Florida officials have joined a growing number of states and companies seeking waivers from the new medical-loss-ratio requirements imposed by the federal government under President Obama’s health care law.”

“The current Medicaid program is arguably the worst health insurance plan in the country. It has expanded massively beyond the original intent in 1965 and is now one of the two or three largest budget items for nearly every state. In spite
of massive annual increases in spending, Medicaid chronically experiences budgetbreaking costs. Expanding Medicaid, as the new health care reform law requires,
will only compound these problems.”

“Under the 136-page rule, the federal government will now decide what counts as an ‘unreasonable’ rate increase, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to Governors yesterday urging them ‘to prevent unjustified and excessive health insurance premium growth.’ Apparently, ‘unreasonable’ means rate increases that exceed 10% next year, except when it doesn’t. If an insurer crosses this arbitrary threshold, ‘The review process would then determine if the increase is, in fact, unreasonable.’ So that’s cleared up.”