A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "States"

Big jump for PreferredOne premiums

Christopher Snowbeck, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Sticker shock awaits thousands of people with health coverage through PreferredOne, the top seller on the MNsure exchange during its first year. The Golden Valley-based insurer said Wednesday that its individual market subscribers will see an average premium increase next year of 63 percent due to high claims costs. “Given the volatility of the individual marketplace due to the first year of the [federal health law], this increase is a significant step at stabilizing our rates and plans for the years to come,” the company said in a statement."

Sorry, pundits: Obamacare is still a major midterm issue

Noah Rothman
Hot Air
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Depending on the source, the Affordable Care Act’s fading from the front burner of American political discourse with just weeks to go before the midterm elections is either a lamentable condition or one to celebrate. Analysts on both the left and the right, however, agree that Obamacare is not the pressing issue that the pundits predicted it would be just a few short months ago. “[T]here is as much ‘good’ news about the PPACA out there for Democrats to point to as there is ‘bad’ news for Republicans to point to so, in some sense, it ends up becoming a wash and neither party can really benefit from the issue,” Christian Science Monitor contributor Doug Mataconis submitted in September in an effort to explain why Obamacare has not proven to be the motivating force many assumed it would be."

Health Data Thefts a Continuing Problem

Andy Miller, Georgia Health News
Fri, 2014-10-17
"A state agency says Georgia consumers’ personal data has not been compromised so far in the wake of a theft of a laptop computer that contained some people’s health information. The computer was stolen from the vehicle of an employee of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities who was attending a Clayton County conference in August. The laptop contained health information on 3,397 individuals who receive services from the agency. A majority of these patients get services in the Columbus region, DBHDD said."

Cost, confusion stall hunt for insurance

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, Health News Colorado
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Cost and confusion prevented many uninsured people from signing up for health coverage this year in Colorado, according to two new reports. A Rand study, Barriers to Enrollment in Health Coverage in Colorado, found that some consumers didn’t want to sign up because they opposed the individual mandate. Others were frustrated that they first had to apply for Medicaid in a cumbersome process. Still others found Colorado’s exchange website confusing. And many people said costs for insurance and co-pays seemed too high."

More than 12,000 Oregonians could owe at tax time under Cover Oregon subsidy errors

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian
Fri, 2014-10-17
"More than 12,000 people who purchased policies through Cover Oregon could owe a combined $1.12 million at tax time because of errors in subsidized premiums issued by the health insurance exchange. The vast majority of people affected are expected to owe no more than $10 per month that their policy was in effect. That figure is not final, however, because a $10,000 consultant's study intended to settle the question did not succeed. The exchange is planning to commission a second, more in-depth study."

Obamacare Headed to the High Court Again?

Todd Gaziano
National Review
Thu, 2014-10-16
"Developments in the last ten days make it more likely that the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will agree to hear the leading challenge of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to the Obamacare individual-mandate penalty — and whoever does not prevail at this level will have a compelling case to take to the Supreme Court. An order from the D.C. Circuit last week, instructing the Obama administration to respond to PLF’s petition for rehearing, and an impressive set of amicus briefs supporting PLF’s petition filed yesterday confirm that this is no ordinary litigation. Readers will recall that Chief Justice John Roberts joined four justices in 2012 to hold that the individual mandate was not authorized by the Commerce Clause or other congressional power, but he sided with four other justices in holding that the penalty for not buying insurance could be read as a tax, pursuant to Congress’s taxing power.

Mars and Venus on Medicaid

John Graham
Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-16
"I will be covering Medicaid Health Plans of America’s annual conference in Washington, DC from October 26 to 28. So, I thought I’d prepare for it by reviewing the research on health outcomes for patients on Medicaid. What a tangled web! According to evidence cited by Forbes opinion editor and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Avik Roy, “patients on Medicaid have the worst health outcomes of any insurance program in America – far worse that those with private insurance and, strikingly, no better than those with no insurance at all. “ On March 10, 2011, the Wall Street Journal published a column by Forbes contributor and American Enterprise Institute Resident Fellow Scott Gottlieb, MD, which concluded that “Medicaid coverage is worse than no coverage at all.”"

Utah Gov Gary Herbert's Obamacare Expansion Won't Work -- And Neither Will Its Enrollees

Jonathan Ingram, Nic Horton and Josh Archambault
Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-16
"The Obama administration and liberal activists hope that Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) will be the next governor lured into Obamacare expansion on the false promise of flexibility and free money. Herbert says he is nearing the end of negotiations with the federal government and wants to call a special session for the legislature to sign off on the Obamacare expansion plan. Unfortunately, most of the details of the plan remain a mystery. He’s given a few snippets of information here and there, but has thus far not released a detailed proposal. Utah is often seen as a national leader for its values of helping individuals help themselves. Yet, Medicaid expansion undermines that very value system. Governor Herbert’s Obamacare expansion efforts are disappointing for the many unintended consequences that will follow in the state, and in light of his very strong position against Obamacare in the past.

Mitch McConnell Is Right -- You Can Repeal Obamacare And Keep Kentucky's Insurance Exchange

Avik Roy
Forbes
Wed, 2014-10-15
"The other night in a debate between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and his challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes (D.), McConnell argued that it was “fine” to keep Kentucky’s insurance exchange, called Kynect, while repealing Obamacare “root and branch.” This has led the lefty blogosphere to explode in outrage. But Sen. McConnell is right. Repealing Obamacare would leave many states’ exchanges in place. But exchanges like Kynect, under a more market-oriented system, would be meaningfully different than those under Obamacare. And that’s a good thing."

California will cancel Obamacare coverage for 10,000 over citizenship

Chad Terhune, LA Times
Wed, 2014-10-15
"California's health insurance exchange is canceling Obamacare coverage for 10,474 people who failed to prove their citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.. Covered California, the state-run insurance exchange, enrolled more than 1.2 million people during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act this year. For most consumers, the exchange said, it could verify citizenship or immigration status instantly with a federal data hub. But more than 148,000 enrollees were lacking proof of eligibility and needed to submit documentation. People living in the U.S. illegally aren't eligible for health law coverage.""

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