On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton issued her defense of the Affordable Care Act and proposals to change the landmark health law, signaling the next battle in a war with all the signs of a political stalemate. Americans are basically evenly split in their assessments of the law and sharply divided along partisan lines; Republican presidential candidates want to scrap the law, while Democrats support keeping it (Clinton) or expanding it (Bernie Sanders). None of this is new to anybody, nor expected to change anytime soon.Details
Some controls New York state relied on to make sure people were eligible for health-insurance coverage and subsidies on the state-run exchange were deficient, potentially letting some consumers get benefits they weren’t entitled to, an audit found.Details
The latest KFF/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey figures have arrived with yet more bad news about Obamacare. Obamacare’s fiercest advocates have been quick to trumpet a purported slowdown in health spending and way too quick to assign Obamacare the credit for this. They’ve failed to acknowledge two inconvenient truths. The slowdown began many years before Obamacare was ever enacted into law. More importantly, and what I’ll highlight in this post, they’ve failed to point out the entire economy has slowed down thanks to Obamanomics, including worker wages, whose growth has been anemic. It is only when we compare slow health spending to even slower growth in wages that the real truth about Obamacare is revealed: Obamacare has not slowed down premium growth relative to wages at all!Details
On Tuesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual survey of employer-sponsored health plans. The number that will probably attract the most attention relates to the premiums attached to employer plans — an important figure, since rising premiums eat up money that could otherwise go toward pay increases. The survey shows that 2015 premiums for family coverage were 4.2 percent higher than in 2014, a rise slightly greater than those of the past couple years.Details
More than two years away from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac” tax, 16 percent of large employers offering health benefits have changed their benefit plans or moved to less expensive plans to avoid going over the limits set by the law, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Tuesday.Details
The key findings from the survey, conducted from January through June 2015, include a modest increase (4%) in the average premiums for both single and family coverage in the past year. The average annual single coverage premium is $6,251 and the average family coverage premium is $17,545.Details
In October 2013, Oregon was just another state whose Obamacare exchange failed to achieve lift-off when its Democrat governor attempted to abet the President in the launch of his “signature domestic achievement.” Shortly thereafter, Governor Kitzhaber earned two additional distinctions not enjoyed by Obama’s other accomplices: He was the first to abandon his constituents to Healthcare.gov, and resigned pursuant to an ethics scandal. Before leaving office, however, Kitzhaber made what may be the most outrageous decision of his tawdry tenure—he sicced his Attorney General on the IT firm that built the exchange as well as some of its employees.Details
A judge has approved a plan to partially pay hundreds of medical providers who are owed money by a Seneca-based health insurer that shut down due to fraudulent letters of credit. A state Insurance Department receivership has paid a “quarter on a dollar” to about 1,700 providers stuck with claims totaling $11.1 million from the collapse of the S.C. Health Cooperative.
A circuit judge in Columbia signed the “rehabilitation plan” Friday in the receivership that was prompted by a discovery last year that the cooperative used two letters of credit totaling $8 million that turned out to be fraudulent. In December, a judge appointed state Insurance Director Ray Farmer to be receiver of S.C. Health Cooperative finances after an audit showed the insurer to be financially insolvent, with $10.6 million in liabilities and $250,000 in assets.Details
On Tuesday, a Senate subcommittee is set to hear testimony from the chief executives of Aetna Inc., which plans to acquire Humana Inc., and Anthem Inc., which is seeking to buy Cigna Corp., as well as the head of the American Hospital Association.
The other big insurer, which isn’t testifying, is UnitedHealth Group Inc.Details
Forget “repeal and replace.” An obscure Obamacare provision that takes effect in 2017 could empower a Republican president to unravel Obamacare — without a single vote from Congress.
The provision allows the executive branch to waive big chunks of the law for a state that chooses a different approach to expanding health coverage. It was designed to allow progressive states to go further than Obamacare.