“[T]he only sure way that we’re going to
bend the cost curve is by coming up with fundamentally new ways to deliver
healthcare services that improve efficiencies and enable us to get more medical care
for each dollar we spend. These ideas are going to come forward the same way
better ideas have always arisen – from start-ups backed by entrepreneurs,
supported by investment capital, coming together in search of profits. Yet PPACA
contains provisions that I fear tilt against these kinds of innovations. The legislation
relies instead on arrangements that could serve to entrench existing players.”

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“HSAs prove that having more control over health care decisions goes a long way toward creating savings. Instead of building on this successful cost-saving model, Obamacare all but obliterates it. Many provisions of the law affect HSAs. For example, the medical loss ratio (MLR), which requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent (85 percent for group plans) of premiums on medical claims or quality improvement, weakens HSAs. Obamacare’s MLR does not take contributions to HSAs into account when determining if a plan meets the 80 percent threshold.”

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On Monday, e21 sponsored a discussion, moderated by National Journal’s Major Garrett, between Charles Blahous and Jared Bernstein. The topic was Blahous’ recent paper entitled “The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act” (published by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University). Click through for post-debate commentary from Jim Capretta, to watch the video, and read the presentations.

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On Monday, e21 sponsored a discussion, moderated by National Journal’s Major Garrett, between Charles Blahous and Jared Bernstein. The topic was Blahous’ recent paper entitled “The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act” (published by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University). The full event can be viewed here.

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“Here’s the reason the Affordable Care Act’s future is predictable: Its basic requirements have been tried, and failed, in many states in the past two decades. A new study, prepared by Milliman, Inc. for AHIP, the group representing America’s healthcare insurers, examines the experience of eight states, including Kentucky, Maine and Washington, that adopted the two basic pillars of the Obama plan in the 1990s.”

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“The stench of Chicago cronyism over the White House just got fouler. Inhale this: A shadowy $10 billion Obamacare agency with zero oversight just awarded first lady Michelle Obama’s pet patient-dumping scheme at the University of Chicago Medical Center a $5.9 million taxpayer-funded grant. It will enable Mrs. Obama’s cronies to build a government-sponsored electronic medical record-sharing system.”

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“More than a dozen Catholic bishops — including Washington’s — sued the Obama administration on Monday, ratcheting up the standoff between church officials and the White House over a government mandate requiring employers to provide contraception coverage. Catholic bishops were already leading the fight against the mandate, which requires most religious organizations to provide the coverage, although houses of worship are exempt.”

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“The PR push is part of a sustained effort to try to sell the unpopular Obamacare law to the American public. Last year, HHS asked Congress to quadruple the budget for its public affairs office – to nearly $20 million – and nearly double the size of the office’s staff. The department insisted the changes were necessary to ‘help Americans understand and access their benefits and information under the law.'”

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“Some consumers and businesses might see a little extra cash this summer as a result of the 2010 health care law. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates will be delivered from health insurers who spent more than the law allotted on administrative expenses and profits. What people don’t realize is that there’s a catch to this ‘free’ money. The rebates are required by an obscure regulation in the health care law, called the ‘minimum loss ratio,’ which also contains longer-term incentives for health insurers to increase costs that will be passed along to all of us. Instead of rushing to spend these extra dollars, rebate recipients are better off pocketing it to pay for higher premiums in the future.”

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“Tax credits in President Obama’s healthcare law aren’t big enough to prompt small businesses to start offering healthcare benefits, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. The small-business tax credit has not lived up to expectations. The Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the credits would total $2 billion in 2010, but the real cost that year only came to $468 million, GAO said.”

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