A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Social Impact"

Insurers steal a beat from Apple, open retail branding stores

Bob Herman
Modern Healthcare
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Health insurers increasingly are building and staffing bricks-and-mortar retail centers to potentially expand their membership base and, most importantly for now, enhance their brand image with the public. The retail approach represents a major pivot in insurer tactics to grow their books of business brought on by changes in how consumers get insurance thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

Would a GOP Congress Embrace or Replace Obamacare?

Brianna Ehley
Fiscal Times
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Republicans have been eerily quiet about the president's health care law on the campaign trail lately. But that's likely to change if the GOP is victorious and wins control of the Senate next week.Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told Fox News this week that taking aim at Obamacare is at the top of his list of priorities that he wants the Senate to address next year. If the senator wins his fiercely competitive re-election campaign and the GOP clenches a Senate majority, he will likely take over as the majority leader—having the luxury of calling as many repeal Obamacare votes as he wants."

Blue Cross mistakenly notifies 42,000 NC customers of incorrect rate increases

John Murawski and Ann Doss Helms, Raleigh News and Observer
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, said Thursday that about 42,000 customers around the state received insurance renewal letters with incorrect rates, some showing cost increases of more than 100 percent. The Chapel Hill company has been flooded with calls since Wednesday from irate customers who began receiving their renewal notices this week. Blue Cross officials soon realized the insurance rates were incorrectly transferred from the company’s database to the computer-generated renewal notices."

Politico: ObamaCare still not a boon for Democrats at the polls

Ed Morrissey
Hot Air
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Remember when Democrats insisted they’d run in the midterms on the success of ObamaCare? Good times, good times. Granted, the last time Debbie Wasserman-Schultz uttered that bon mot was almost a year ago, and it was so ridiculous a notion even at that time (while the rollout melted down) that the DNC chair had to reiterate it three days later. Her Democratic colleagues in the House tried following through in January with an ad filled with anecdotes about all of the successes of the Affordable Care Act, which ran for, oh … sixty-six seconds. By April, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer backtracked to an argument that ObamaCare would have no impact on the election at all. Hoyer also said that Democrats would pick up seats in November."

Obamacare May Mean High Drug Costs For Floridians With HIV

Nicholas Nehemas, Miami Herald
Fri, 2014-10-31
"When Tony Smith lost his job as a corporate paralegal two years ago, a state program stepped in to help him keep his health insurance — and the expensive drugs his life had depended on since his 2008 HIV diagnosis. Now Smith, 42, of Coral Springs, has been told he must sign up for coverage on Florida’s federally run insurance exchange or the state will stop helping him pay his premiums. “The landscape of healthcare has changed, and with the passage of the Affordable Care Act we have the opportunity to access and enroll in cost-effective health plans,” an official at the AIDS Insurance Continuation Program wrote in a letter to Smith and other AICP beneficiaries. But it is not clear that ACA insurance plans will be cheaper — or even affordable — for those with HIV and AIDS, according to patient advocates."

Mitch McConnell willing to kill Obamacare with just 51 votes

Philip Klein
Washington Examiner
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he would be willing to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority if he takes over as majority leader in January, his spokesman told the Washington Examiner on Thursday. The announcement comes just days before Tuesday's midterm congressional election, in which Republicans have a strong chance of seizing the upper chamber from the Democrats and putting the Kentucky senator in charge."

ACA Advertising in 2014 – Insurance and Political Ads

Bianca DiJulio, Mira Norton, Mollyann Brodie, Elizabeth Wilner and Mitchell West, Kaiser Family Foundation
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the law has been an often potent and divisive political issue, and has sparked an unprecedented amount of political and campaign advertising, particularly from candidates and groups that oppose the law. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), no other federal program or policy has resulted in the kind of advertising the ACA has caused, namely the combination of new insurance “product” advertising and sustained political advertising across multiple election cycles."

Confirmed: Obamacare is Hurting Democrats

Guy Benson
Townhall
Fri, 2014-10-31
"Long gone are the days of Democratic chest-thumping about "running on" Obamacare in 2014. That boast was abruptly replaced with assertions that the issue was receding from the scene and wouldn't really benefit either party. As it turns out, candidates on one side of the aisle has been talking quite a lot about the healthcare law on the campaign trail and in ads, while the other side has been notably tight-lipped. And now Politico finally states the obvious: ...Not only did the political benefits that Democrats thought the 2010 law would eventually bring them not materialize, opposition has only grown, according to an analysis of multiple polls taken between 2010 and last month. “There have been backlashes, but never like this,” said Robert Blendon, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the analysis released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

As Obamacare Batters Device Makers, Lobby Snuggles With Hillary Clinton In Chicago

Bruce Japsen, Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic party’s nomination for President in 2016, is giving a speech at this week’s annual meeting of the powerful Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed, in her hometown as the lobby prepares to derail a tax key to funding the Affordable Care Act. The former U.S. Secretary of State, who has yet to officially declare her presidential candidacy, is also in Chicago to campaign for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a tight race with billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner as the incumbent gains momentum here. During her visit, which has been kept under wraps until this week, Clinton has been given a prime spot during the three-day AdvaMed event, delivering a keynote at Wednesday’s midday plenary session at Chicago’s McCormick Place."

New York Times: 14% Is Good Enough To Call Obamacare A Success

Merrill Matthews
Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Most of us have long realized that the New York Times’ standards are low. Just look at who the Gray Lady endorses for president and other high political offices. But even we were a little surprised at what little it takes for the editors to call Obamacare a success. The Times poses the question “Is the Affordable Care Act Working?” Given all the ACA’s problems, one could be forgiven for thinking it was a rhetorical question. It wasn’t. The paper asserts, “After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows.”"

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