A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Quality/Access"

Gruber Model Errs in Colorado as Vermont Prepares to Rely on Data

Vermont Watchdog
Tue, 2014-12-16
By Bruce Parker | Vermont Watchdog Jonathan Gruber’s health care forecasting is failing in Colorado as Vermont’s Gov. Peter Shumlin prepares to use the economist’s math for single-payer health care. As Vermonters anxiously await a Gruber-modeled financing plan for Green Mountain Care, modeling done for Colorado’s health exchange by Jonathan Gruber Associates has proven wildly erroneous. In 2011, following Colorado’s decision to set up a state health exchange for Obamacare, the state hired Gruber to forecast enrollment trends from which the state and federal government could estimate costs. According to a presentation delivered to the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Board on Sept.

ObamaCare’s Threat to Private Practice

The Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-12-08
By Scott Gottlieb Dec. 7, 2014 5:12 p.m. ET Here’s a dirty little secret about recent attempts to fix ObamaCare. The “reforms,” approved by Senate and House leaders this summer and set to advance in the next Congress, adopt many of the Medicare payment reforms already in the Affordable Care Act. Both favor the consolidation of previously independent doctors into salaried roles inside larger institutions, usually tied to a central hospital, in effect ending independent medical practices. Republicans must embrace a different vision to this forced reorganization of how medicine is practiced in America if they want to offer an alternative to ObamaCare. The law’s defenders view this consolidation as a necessary step to enable payment provisions that shift the financial risk of delivering medical care onto providers and away from government programs like Medicare.

Exploring the shortcomings and fault lines of the Affordable Care Act

Physicians for a National Health Program
Mon, 2014-12-08
The case for single payer – Medicare for All By Jeoffry B. Gordon, M.D., M.P.H. December 3, 2014 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has as its main and overriding purpose the expansion and subsidization of health insurance coverage for many (usually poor and uninsured) Americans who were previously unable to reliably access medical services. Under its auspices, the federal law has provided for health insurance enrollment for 1 million to 3 million additional 19- to 26-year-olds; 6 million new, expanded Medicaid enrollees; and 7.2 million commercial Qualified Health Plan enrollees. Of the latter, about 80 percent qualify for financial subsidy. Taking into account additional factors, e.g. the fact that some of the new enrollees were previously insured, there has been a net gain of about 10 million people who have coverage. Yet even at full expansion, it is estimated that the ACA will not insure another 30 million U.S.

ObamaCare author Tom Harkin: Health law is 'really complicated'

Alexander Bolton
The Hill
Wed, 2014-12-03
Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the coauthors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill. The Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laments the complexity of legislation the Senate passed five years ago. He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress. “We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill.

The real lesson from 'Grubergate': Column

USA Today
Tue, 2014-12-02
Luke Hilgemann: A few weeks ago, hardly anyone in America had heard of Jonathan Gruber. Now, the Obamacare architect is a household name. Gruber became a national sensation earlier this month after videos emerged of him detailing how the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" became law. The short version: Its architects, including Gruber, exploited the legislative process to pass a bill that voters never would have supported had they known what it was.

ObamaCare's small business site reportedly opens to scant interest

The Washington Post
Mon, 2014-12-01
By Amy Goldstein: A year after the Obama administration temporarily shelved an unfinished part of HealthCare.gov intended for small businesses, it has opened with reports of only modest technical flaws — but with doubts that it will soon benefit the millions of workers at little companies with inadequate health insurance or none at all. Insurance brokers are, at times, having trouble getting into their accounts and, in scattered cases, are not showing up in the computer system’s lists of local insurance professionals available to coach small businesses.

Coming Soon to a Mall Near You: Obamacare

Christine Rousselle
Townhall
Sat, 2014-11-29
"The holiday shopping season kicks off tomorrow with Black Friday, the annual mad-dash for good deals and early-morning sales. This year, shoppers in a few states will see something new this year at shopping malls--and its not exactly a hot new store. It's...Obamacare. In an effort to boost floundering enrollment numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to partnering with retail stores, pharmacies and websites to promote the open enrollment period, which lasts until Feb. 15. Enrollment workers will be present on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to tell shoppers about how to sign up for a plan on the exchange."

Administration Warns Employers: Don’t Dump Sick Workers From Plans

Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"As employers try to minimize expenses under the health law, the Obama administration has warned them against paying high-cost workers to leave the company medical plan and buy coverage elsewhere. Such a move would unlawfully discriminate against employees based on their health status, three federal agencies said in a bulletin issued this month."

A Quarter Of Uninsured Say They Can’t Afford To Buy Coverage

Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Just days before the health law’s marketplaces reopened, nearly a quarter of uninsured said they expect to remain without coverage because they did not think it would be affordable, according to a poll released Friday. That was by far the most common reason given by people who expect to stay uninsured next year, according to the latest tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) Forty-one percent of individuals without health insurance said they expected they would remain uninsured, while about half said they plan to get coverage in the coming months."

Obamacare: Most-Used Plans Face Double-Digit Average Premium Increases

Guy Benson
Townhall
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Please consider Friday's 'Obamacare losing streak' post officially updated. Behold, the 'Affordable' Care Act at work. Congratulations, "beneficiaries" (via The Hill): The average price of the most popular ObamaCare health insurance plans rose 10 percent for 2015, according to a new study of premium figures published Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)...Not only are premiums increasing, but if consumers do not pick a different plan, they could pay more due to annual changes in how subsidies are calculated."

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