A project of the Galen Institute
On Sunday evening, CBS’ 60 Minutes did a feature story on Steven Brill’s new book, America’s Bitter Pill, in which Brill complains that Obamacare didn’t do enough to tackle the exorbitantly high price of U.S. hospital care. “Obamacare does zero to change any of that,” says Brill. That’s not exactly right. What Brill—and CBS—don’t tell you—is that Obamacare is driving hospitals to charge you more than they already do.
The U.S. hospital industry is crony capitalism at its finest
Steven Brill, founder of The American Lawyer and Court TV took a starring role in the health care debate when he published the Time article “Bitter Pill,” describing how hospitals charge extreme prices for ordinary care to the uninsured. For example, Sean Recchi, an uninsured lymphoma patient, went to MD Anderson Cancer Center, a world-renowned facility in Houston, to seek treatment. MD Anderson proceeded to charge him $283 for a $20 chest X-ray.
New York Times
New York Times correspondent Abby Goodnough asks if the latest legal challenges to ObamaCare are signaling a divide within the party or are Republicans still recovering from getting burned when the ACA went to the Supreme Court last time?”
About 5 million middle-income people in 36 states currently are receiving subsidies for health insurance through the federal exchanges. Since 87 percent of them are receiving subsidies to purchase coverage, many likely would no longer be able to afford coverage.
Ms. Goodenough reports that after the health overhaul law was passed in 2010, Republicans on both the state and federal level spoke with one voice flatly rejecting ObamaCare. However, in the years following ObamaCare’s passage while the majority of governor’s still remain critical of the law, nine governors have expanded their Medicaid programs and four more governors are considering Medicaid expansion this year at the urging of hospitals and business groups.
By Jason D. Fodeman, MD
President Obama recently checked in to Walter Reed hospital with a sore throat. During his visit, it appears he received a suite of treatments to aid in diagnosing his illness, including a CT scan, a fiber optic exam, and ENT consultation. Ultimately, the doctors concluded that he has acid reflux.
As the leader of the free world, Obama certainly deserves top notch medical care. Yet the breadth and quality of medical care that he received starkly contrasts with the diminished care that too many Americans could soon receive thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
As a physician, I strive to give the best medical care to every patient who walks through the door. The ACA has the potential to undermine my ability to do this in a number of ways.
One example is the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), one of the many bureaucratic agencies created under the law.
American Health Line
The Affordable Care Act faces several challenges in 2015.Which of those will just be bumps in the road, and which ones will become major issues this year?
The Potential Headache: Owing the IRS
This year will be the first that individuals could potentially need to repay IRS if they incorrectly calculated their projected 2014 income and received subsidies to help purchase exchange coverage that were larger than for which they were eligible.
As many as half of the about 6.8 million U.S. residents who received subsidies might have to repay at least a portion of them, according to an estimate by H&R Block.
”Safer Cars Lead to Drop in Fatalities” trumpets a recent Wall Street Journal headline. Not to be a curmudgeon, but whether this is good news or bad news depends on what it cost to achieve this reduction in mortality. No one disputes that saving lives is a very good thing, but even the richest nation in the world lacks infinite resources. We will never lack opportunities to save lives. But since there are more and less cost-effective ways of achieving this objective, we are best served by policies that move us in the direction of saving lives at the least cost.
Obamacare has come to Harvard, and the faculty is in a state of shock and dismay.
In what has to be considered an early contender for the most hilarious and enjoyable news story of the year, the New York Times recounts the tumult over Obamacare in Cambridge.
“For years,” the Times writes, “Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.”
In other words, they are getting the change they believed in — good and hard. As a wag commented on Twitter, karma is a pre-existing condition. The Harvard imbroglio is a little like the famously free-market University of Chicago economics faculty launching a revolt against tax cuts or deregulation.
As the saying goes, when you’ve lost the Harvard faculty . . .
By Jonathan Ingram, Josh Archambault, and Nic Horton — Mr. Ingram is Research Director, Mr. Archambault a Senior Fellow, and Mr. Horton is a Policy Impact Specialist at the Foundation for Government Accountability.
Tomorrow, a new Congress convenes, with the largest Republican majorities in nearly a century. These Republicans, elected on the promise of rolling back Obamacare, are ready to start chipping away at the law. One of their first targets? Obamacare’s immoral funding scheme that prioritizes able-bodied adults over the truly needy.
Obamacare Values The Able-Bodied Over The Truly Needy
The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rates determine how the cost of Medicaid will be divvied up between the federal government and the states. FMAP rates vary by state, depending on states’ per capita personal income.
Here is something few pundits predicted.
Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally going to the doctor’s office for care. But middle-class patients are increasingly staying away.
Take Praveen Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Kentucky. The Arlas’ patient load used to be 45% commercially insured and 25% Medicaid. Those percentages are now reversed, report Laura Ungar and Jayne O’Donnell in USA Today.
What’s the difference? Medicaid patients generally face no deductible or copayment when they seek care. But people who get health insurance at work or buy it in the (Obamacare) exchanges can face high out-of-pocket costs.
Nationwide, the size of the average deductible more than doubled in eight years, from $584 to $1,217 for individual coverage according to the Kaiser Foundation. Deductibles of $1,000 and up are now the workplace norm.
The American Spectator
Obamacare was designed such that its most harmful provisions would not be implemented until after the President had been returned to office for a second term and his Democrat accomplices had been reelected to their congressional seats. Fortunately for the nation, the latter part of that strategy was a spectacular failure. Nonetheless, it did provide the public with a temporary reprieve from the health care law’s most painful exactions. That brief respite is now at an end. This year, you will begin to experience the realities of “reform” first hand and you are not going to like how it feels.
In fact, you are probably already feeling the first twinges without recognizing that their source is Obamacare. If you are among the 150 million Americans who get health insurance through their employers, for example, chances are that the coverage your company offered for 2015 has much higher premiums than did last year’s plan.
By Grace-Marie Turner
Thirty-six states that rely on private managed care programs to provide medical services to all or some of their Medicaid recipients are facing an added ObamaCare tax.
According to a report by Milliman consulting actuaries, states that contract with Medicaid managed care plans face up to $15 billion in added costs over 10 years for their share of the law’s tax on private health insurance.
States will pay even if they strongly oppose ObamaCare and are refusing to establish health insurance exchanges or expand Medicaid.
The health law imposes an annual tax on private health insurance plans – a tax designed to recoup what some call their “windfall” from the millions of new customers they could gain because of the law. The tax on health insurers was expected to raise a total of $8 billion in 2014 and as much as $150 billion over the next 10 years.