“If you want to get an understanding of how the health reform law works, both in theory and practice, it would be a good idea to take a look at the process called ‘rate review.’ The idea is that health insurance premiums can be restrained by forcing health insurance companies to explain ‘unreasonable’ premium increases to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the state authorities, and on their web sites.”

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“Doctors’ feelings about the health-care overhaul law passed last year are about as mixed as their patients’, research released today shows…
Many of the 501 physicians surveyed indicated that they had sour feelings about specific aspects of the law.
Around three-fourths of the doctors worried about physician shortages and longer wait times as more people get health coverage, and also that emergency rooms would become overwhelmed. And 90% thought they would be paid less by insurance companies as a result of the law.”

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“The healthcare law’s program for early retirees is an example of the law’s broader flaws, House Republicans charged Wednesday. Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee criticized the way the Obama administration handled the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (EERP). The Health and Human Services Department announced last week that nearly all of the EERP’s $5 billion budget had been spent and the program would shut down at the end of the year.”

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“Beginning September 1, 2011, health insurers must
submit requests to state or federal reviewers if they
wish to increase insurance rates by 10 percent or more.
This “rate review” process is required by Section 2794
of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), which was
added to Section 1003 of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Pub. L. 111-148…
The goal of this mandate is to reduce health care costs
by addressing the asymmetry of information in the
health insurance market between consumers, providers
and industry actors. However, despite the stated goals
of the mandate, it fails to ultimately address the
underlying issues accelerating health care costs.”

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“Undoubtedly, it’s true that some of those individuals did get coverage due to that provision, but HHS claiming credit for Obamacare for all of the increase appears to be an example of the classic statistical fallacy of confusing correlation with causation. Even more importantly, over the long term, the net effect of Obamacare’s many provisions will be to increase the already unaffordable cost of health care, which is one of the main reasons young adults and other uninsured forego coverage.”

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“However, the bottom line is that Obamacare’s MLR regulations won’t deliver us a utopia of government-run single-payer health care. Instead, they will usher in a new era of private insurance monopolies and significantly drive up the cost of health insurance, things that neither liberals nor conservatives should cheer.”

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“Congress made a serious drafting error in the health-overhaul law when it said that subsidies could be delivered through state exchanges but not through any federal fallback exchanges… The Obama administration has been trying an end-run around the problem by ordering the IRS to simply say in its proposed regulations that the subsidies can be delivered through either type of exchange. This is a big issue because a growing number of states are refusing to create exchanges. If they don’t, the feds can come in and set one up, but these will be relatively useless if they can’t deliver subsidies.”

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“The goal is to keep the spotlight on other controversial aspects of the healthcare law while the Supreme Court rules on the unpopular individual mandate. Republicans see this as a winning strategy, and appear to be supported in this assessment by the latest Kaiser Health tracking polls. They show the law continues to be unpopular, with 44 percent of Americans saying they have a negative view of the law versus 37 percent who support it.”

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“New Hampshire has a high percentage of Medicare Advantage enrollees. Last month, 7,600 of them received notices that their coverage was being cancelled. Obamacare and another federal law passed in 2008, the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act, are killing Medicare Advantage to steer senior citizens back into regular Medicare, which offers fewer choices and is more heavily controlled from Washington.
As a result, thousands of Granite State seniors are being forced to switch doctors because they have to switch coverage.”

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“So clearly President Obama’s key promise will
be broken after the law fully takes effect. But the
deterioration in coverage already has begun as
many people already are losing the coverage they have now as health insurers are dropping out
of markets in many states. Some of the carriers
are exiting because of onerous state regulations,
others are victims of a faltering economy, but
the cascade has been accelerated by the rules that
already have taken effect and the many more that
are to come as a result of PPACA.”

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