A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Liberty & Limited Government"

Dylan Scott: Obamacare Waiver Gives States Opening For Huge Reforms. But Will They Take It?

National Journal
Tue, 2015-08-18
Starting in 2017, the Affordable Care Act will allow states to use waivers to pursue virtually any type of proposals for health care reform that they can imagine. It's a huge opportunity for states interested in expanding or changing how health care is delivered. But will anyone actually take advantage of it?

Chris Conover: Uninsured Risk Fell At Least Twice As Much Under Eisenhower As Under Obama

Forbes
Thu, 2015-04-02
Obamacare reached age 5 on Monday [1]. As I’ve pointed out earlier, this anemic child is not exactly a picture of health, falling behind the lofty expectations set for it on many dimensions. But the one bright spot for its proud parents relates to how much the law has reduced the number of uninsured. The president’s Council of Economic Advisors ecstatically announced last December: “the drop in the nation’s uninsured rate so far this year is the largest over any period since the early 1970s.” A little perspective is in order. First, taking the CEA’s figures at face value (which my chart below does), this decline amounts to a 2.8 percentage point net reduction in the rate of being uninsured, that is, above and beyond the decline that would have occurred anyway according to CBO [2]. It may well be the biggest one-year decline since the 1970′s, but CBO’s expectation at the time the law was passed was that uninsured risk would drop by 6 percentage points in 2014 alone.

Jason Millman: Where Romneycare fell short — and what that could mean for Obamacare

The Washington Post
Thu, 2015-04-02
The landmark 2006 Massachusetts health-care law that inspired the federal overhaul didn't lead to a reduction in unnecessary and costly hospitalizations, and it didn't make the health-care system more fair for minority groups, according to a new study that may hold warnings for the Affordable Care Act. Massachusetts’ uninsured rate was cut by half to 6 percent in the years immediately following the health-care law signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney. Blacks and Hispanics, who have a harder time accessing necessary medical care, experienced the largest gains in insurance coverage under the Massachusetts law, though they still were more likely to be uninsured than whites. The new study, published in the BMJ policy journal, examined the rates of hospitalizations for 12 medical conditions that health-care researchers say wouldn't normally require hospitalization if a patient has good access to primary care.

David Schwartz: Arizona governor signs bill blocking abortion coverage through Obamacare

Reuters
Tue, 2015-03-31
(Reuters) - Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a law on Monday that requires doctors to tell women that drug-induced abortions can be reversed and that blocks the purchase of insurance on the Obamacare health exchange that includes abortion coverage. The requirement that patients be told that the effects of abortion pills may be undone by using high doses of a hormone was the most hotly contested provision during legislative debate. Supporters said there was ample evidence the reversal was possible if acted upon quickly, although they provided no peer-reviewed studies in support of their position.

Richard Pollock: Health Industry Paid Acting CMS Chief Millions When He Joined Gov’t

The Daily Caller
Mon, 2015-03-30
When Andy Slavitt reported for work as deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last June 10, he pocketed at least $4.8 million in tax-free income from major health-care companies. That’s according to financial disclosure forms obtained by The Daily Caller, now published for the first time. On June 27, he sold additional stock he personally held, raising his total windfall from the health industry to $7.2 million. United Health Group was Slavitt’s most recent private sector employer. The financial disclosure documents permit the public to examine for the first time Slavitt’s financial relationship with United Health Group, which is the largest health insurance company in the nation.

Michael Cannon: Why the Supreme Court will overrule the IRS

The Richmond Times Dispatch
Mon, 2015-03-30
Kevin Pace is a jazz musician who teaches music appreciation in Northern Virginia. When the IRS announced it would impose the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate here in the Old Dominion, Pace’s employer cut hours for part-time professors in order to avoid steep penalties. Pace lost $8,000 in income. That would be bad enough if the penalties the IRS is now imposing on Virginia employers were legal. Yet two federal courts have held they are not. In King v.

Joseph Antos and James C. Capretta: Unpacking The Burr-Hatch-Upton Plan

Health Affairs Blog
Tue, 2015-03-24
Anticipating the upcoming Supreme Court decision on King v. Burwell, which could halt health insurance subsidies available through the federal exchange, Republican Senators Richard Burr and Orrin Hatch joined with Representative Fred Upton to propose a comprehensive replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, or Patient CARE Act, is modeled on a proposal of the same name offered last year by Senators Burr, Hatch, and Tom Coburn, who has retired from the Senate. The Burr-Hatch-Upton plan, like its predecessor, adopts consumer-based reforms of the insurance market, modernizes the Medicaid program, and makes other changes intended to lower cost and increase choices. In an earlier post, we described in detail the provisions of the Burr-Coburn-Hatch bill. In this post, we discuss how the Burr-Hatch-Upton plan differs from the earlier proposal.

Sean Higgins: Dem senators warn Obamacare rule 'particularly harmful and disruptive'

The Washington Examiner
Tue, 2015-03-24
Six Democratic senators and one independent have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to a delay a new rule that would likely force small businesses to pay more for employee health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The senators warn that if the administration goes ahead with the change it would be "particularly harmful and disruptive" to small businesses. Starting in 2016, the Obamacare change will require businesses that employ between 51-100 people to purchase insurance in what the government defines as the "small group market," rather than the market for large group plans. The senators warn that the change will inflate health care costs for those businesses. "[T]hey could experience higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage.

Edmund Haislmaier: Did 14.1 Million People Gain Health Coverage? Fact Checking the Obama Administration’s Claim

The Daily Signal
Tue, 2015-03-24
Looking closer, the 6.3 million-person enrollment drop in fully insured employee plans represents a sudden 10 percent decline in a market that previously had been eroding by about 1 percent to 3 percent a year. In contrast, the 1.4 million more individuals in self-insured plans equates to enrollment growth of about 1.5 percent in a market that, prior to Obamacare, was growing at about 1 to 3 percent a year—putting that uptick solidly within the pre-Affordable Care Act trend range. Thus, the data indicates Obamacare likely was responsible for a significant additional decline in fully insured employer group coverage. But, with respect to another anticipated effect—the expectation that more employers will shift to self-insured plans to escape Obamacare’s costly benefit mandates—the data does not indicate that is yet occurring to any noticeable extent.

Did Anthony Kennedy Just Show His Hand On The Obamacare Subsidies Case?

The Daily Caller
Tue, 2015-03-24
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s comments in a run-of-the-mill budget meeting Monday may have signaled how he intends to vote in this year’s biggest Obamacare lawsuit over the legality of federal premium subsidies. In a Monday budget request before the House Appropriations Committee, Justice Anthony Kennedy, typically the swing vote on the Court, made comments that could suggest he’s leaning in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell. The question in the pivotal case is whether the text of Obamacare restricts the law’s popular premium subsidies to state-run exchanges, of which there are only 14, and bans them from the vast majority of states that use the federally-run exchange, HealthCare.gov. The battle over the lawsuit about Obamacare subsidies currently before the Supreme Court has focused on whether anyone’s got a solution if the Court’s decision ends up skyrocketing HealthCare.gov premiums.

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