“One of the enduring mysteries of President Obama’s health law is how its spending constraints and payroll tax hikes on high earners can be used to shore up Medicare finances and at the same time pay for a massive new entitlement program. Isn’t this double counting? The short answer is: Yes, it is. You can’t spend the same money twice. And so, thanks to the new health law, federal deficits and debt will be hundreds of billions of dollars higher in the next decade alone.”

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“As you may know, the Affordable Care Act raises taxes on pretty much everyone, directly or indirectly, in order to fund its expansion of coverage for the uninsured. Most of these new taxes are unwise policy. But one Obamacare tax increase stands out for sheer boneheadedness: the law’s tax on insurance premiums, a provision that will raise taxes paid by the government itself, and make insurance less affordable.”

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“The mandate, they say, is necessary to rein in the cost-shifting to the insured caused by uninsured individuals who receive free or ‘uncompensated’ care when they visit emergency rooms and fail to pay. Will the justices buy Team Obama’s reasoning? They shouldn’t. The Administration’s argument for the mandate has it all backwards. In fact, the individual mandate will increase the amount of cost-shifting resulting from uncompensated care.”

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“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) – regardless of the view one has of the legislation – has created enormous disruption. And with disruption comes enormous opportunity, as well as risk. Many provider organizations (e.g. hospitals and physician groups) have responded to the changing healthcare delivery environment by safety in size through merger and acquisition. Payers are also buying or creating partnerships with hospitals, and hospitals are acquiring other hospitals and physician practices to become gigantic systems.”

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“New estimates suggest that health insurers will pay out more than $1 billion in rebates this year due to a provision in the 2010 health care overhaul.
A success for ObamaCare? Maybe not. The rebates don’t account for premium increases we’ve already seen during the administration’s time in office. And pressure created by the provision, which caps the percentage of each premium dollar that can be spent on profit, marketing, and administrative costs, is likely to contribute to rising premiums rather than control them. “

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“In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a ‘guidance bulletin’ regarding the compatibility of health savings accounts with Obamacare’s insurance regulations. According to HSA expert Roy Ramthun, the news isn’t good. ‘HSA plans will not be as affordable as they are today,’ says Ramthun.”

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“If you like your doctor, you can keep her — unless you’re poor or disabled.
The latest installment of ObamaCare is a scheme that’s uprooting the elderly poor and disabled who get care under Medicare and herding many into state-run Medicaid plans.”

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“This year, the actuaries incorporated a more realistic ‘alternative scenario’ for future Medicare spending directly into the trustees’ report. The alternative scenario drops the unrealistic cuts from Obamacare and assumes a permanent ‘doc fix’ to prevent deep cuts in physician reimbursement rates. With these more realistic assumptions, Medicare spending is still headed through the roof. Indeed, in 2085, under the alternative scenario, Medicare spending would reach 10.5 percent of GDP, up from 3.7 percent today.”

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“Consultants have told some large employers they can save money by dropping health insurance in 2014 and funneling employees into insurance exchanges under the new health-care law, according to a report by congressional Republicans.”

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“So how is Medicare, the nation’s biggest health care entitlement, doing now? Not so well. Two years after the passage of the Patient Protection Protection and Affordable Care Act, the program’s Trustees are reporting that the seniors’ health program is on a glide path to insolvency—perhaps by as soon as 2016. The technocratic reforms that were supposed to remake the program aren’t working nearly as well as hoped.”

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