“Congress and President Barack Obama agreed this summer that widening deficits and growing debt threaten our economic future, and something must be done to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. A good start would be to agree to delay initiating the new spending in the Affordable Care Act so that a broader and more stable bipartisan consensus can be built around fiscally sustainable entitlement and tax policy.”Details
Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Touts ObamaCare’s New Rate-Review System Coming Online:
Today, consumers got some good news when a big insurance company – Blue Shield of California – announced it will be returning $295 million to consumers and the community by the end of the year. This announcement will provide some much needed relief to families who have seen their premiums increase in recent years. And it’s the fourth positive announcement we’ve heard this week alone about health insurance premiums. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, many insurance companies could raise your premiums without any transparency or accountability. If you wanted to know why your rates were going up, they were under no obligation to tell you. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that’s all changing. Starting September 1, 2011, in every State and for the first time ever, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. The Affordable Care Act also included $250 million to help States strengthen their rate review procedures so they can successfully fight high premium hikes and help keep costs under control.Details
President Obama Likes The Term “ObamaCare” Because It Shows He Cares, And His Opponents Don’t
President Obama is embracing the term ‘ObamaCare’ on the campaign stump, attempting to turn the tables on critics who use it in a derogatory way. ‘They call it ObamaCare?’ the president told supporters at a St. Louis fundraiser Tuesday evening. ‘I do care! You should care, too.’ Earlier in the day, Obama told an audience in Dallas, ‘Folks go around saying ObamaCare. That’s right — I care. … That’s their main agenda? That’s your plank? Is making sure 30 million people don’t have health insurance?’ The president’s remarks are clearly part of a White House strategy to reclaim some lost ground on healthcare, taking the fight to Republicans… ‘If the other side wants to be the folks that don’t care, that’s fine with me. I do care.’
Yet House Democrats Dislike The Term So Much, They Banned It From Official House Mailings
In the latest battle in the Congressional franking wars, Democrats have been vetoing use of the word ‘Obamacare’ in taxpayer-financed mass mailings, saying it violates rules against using the franking privilege for “personal, partisan or political reasons.’… ‘It’s telling that Democrats are fearful of taking ownership of the president’s signature piece of legislation,’ a GOP House aide said. ‘The White House and Congressional Democrats exhausted all of their political capital and a Congressional majority to move the bill across the finish line and into law. You would think given how much it cost them, that they would embrace the end result and proudly attach the president’s name to it at every opportunity.’ ‘You know, if it was popular they’d be all about calling it Obamacare,’ another Republican source added.Details
At issue is the ability to send provocative communications using Congressional funds. The franking commission reviews official mail, email and social media for overtly political or inflammatory content.
“State officials are pushing back hard against what they view as shortcomings in the healthcare reform law for fear they’ll be barraged with complaints when people have trouble affording insurance. Federal regulators are writing the rules governing key aspects of the law, including the guidelines to determine who’s eligible for subsidies to buy private insurance. Those benefits will be delivered through state-based exchanges, however, leaving state officials on the receiving end of angry phone calls if glitches in the law aren’t ironed out by 2014.”Details
“Some of the federal healthcare law’s requirements related to insurance exchanges threaten the autonomy of U.S. states, which need more support in establishing the marketplaces, state governors said in a letter released on Thursday. ‘The decision to implement health insurance exchanges requires a number of complex policy decisions amid aggressive timelines,’ wrote the National Governors Association in a letter to U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dated Nov. 2.”Details
“The Obama administration has failed to meet more than half of the new health care law’s deadlines, from submitting plans for new, value-based Medicare purchasing programs to publishing criteria for determining the medically underserved. A report requested by Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, indicates that the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies missed 18 of 30 deadlines since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010.”Details
“A new technical analysis by Oliver Wyman estimates that the new health insurance tax in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ‘will increase premiums in the insured market on average by 1.9% to 2.3% in 2014,’ and by 2023 ‘will increase premiums 2.8% to 3.7%.'”Details
“Now that Obama’s CLASS Act has crashed and burned, you may be wondering what ever happened to his much-vaunted high-risk pools. The administration has not been making much of it — a sure sign that it must be failing. And so it is. On October 14 it posted the enrollment data as of August 31, 2011. It turns out that 13 months after the pools went into effect, 33,958 people had enrolled, less than 10% of the 375,000 CMS predicted would be enrolled by the end of 2010.”Details
“Under President Obama’s health care plan, the United States Preventive Services Task Force now wields great power to decide which health services (like mammograms) doctors should provide, yet it has few checks on its sweeping authority.
Its mandates are likely to raise health insurance costs and premiums, while reducing the number of covered preventive services.
To improve accountability for an agency that is both out of date with the medical community and out of touch with the public, Congress should closely monitor the impact new mandates have on patient care.”
“We’re economists, not political consultants, so we offer no unique insight on whether the administration’s proposed rule will hold in the face of political pressure. But we do know that this unpopular definition and its possible revision hold significant implications for everyone impacted by this law’s provisions. Either millions of dependent families of employees will be stuck without an offer of affordable coverage-or taxpayers will be stuck with significantly more subsidy costs than originally projected.”Details