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Issue: "Business Impact"

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar: Democrats see skimpy insurance as the next health care issue

Associated Press
Tue, 2015-05-26
"A different health care issue has emerged for Democrats, in sync with the party's pitch to ... middle-class voters ... high out-of-pocket costs for people already covered. Democrats call it 'underinsurance.' After paying premiums, many low- and middle-income patients still face high costs when trying to use their coverage. ... [T]he value of a health insurance card is being eaten away by rising deductibles ... Several liberal-leaning organizations have recently focused on the issue."

Diana Furchtgott-Roth & Jared Meyer: Obamacare Is a Horror Story for Young Americans

National Review
Thu, 2015-05-21
Obamacare has enmeshed many Americans in a bureaucratic nightmare. True, the law has helped some uninsured people obtain coverage. But millions of people have seen their health-insurance plans canceled, because the plans did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Others, particularly young Americans, have seen premiums rise to pay for the roster of newly added benefits. Tommy Groves (not his real name), a young professional working at a small firm in Washington, D.C., was among the nearly 5 million Americans who received termination-of-coverage letters from their health-insurance providers because their plans did not comply with the ACA’s requirements. While about half the states offered to extend canceled plans for another year, later increased to two years, the District of Columbia required its residents to get new insurance. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/418322/obamacare-horror-story-young-americans-diana-furchtgott-roth-jared-meyer

Grace-Marie Turner: House Chairman Calls For ObamaCare Watchdog

Forbes
Thu, 2015-05-21
The Obama administration has spent billions of taxpayer dollars implementing the Affordable Care Act, often taking vast liberties with statutory language. The administration’s actions were the subject of a House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, chaired by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). Roskam is calling for a Special Inspector General to investigate the administration’s actions and track how tens of billions of dollars have been spent. Implementation of the sweeping and complex law stretches across eight separate federal agencies so no one agency IG can see the patterns and possible abuses taking place. Rep. Roskam’s SIGMA Act (Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act) would create an ObamaCare watchdog to conduct much-needed audits of the ACA to guard against further waste of tax dollars, such as the extraordinarily expensive and problem-prone exchange websites.

Melissa Quinn: Congressman Pushes for Appointment of Obamacare Watchdog

The Daily Signal
Tue, 2015-05-19
Following close to two years of reports of cost overruns on HealthCare.gov, increased premium prices and lost work hours since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is introducing legislation to appoint a watchdog to oversee the health care law and ensure the protection of taxpayer dollars. The legislation calls for the creation of a special inspector general for monitoring the Affordable Care Act, or SIGMA. “The false, rosy claims of Obamacare have largely been debunked, and there’s a level of dissatisfaction all around,” Roskam said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “More time and more attention is in the oversight function.

Scott Gottlieb: How many people has Obamacare really insured?

American Enterprise Institute
Thu, 2015-05-14
One of the key questions surrounding Obamacare is just how many people have been newly insured under the law. The answer is clouded by the fact that the White House and others have changed some rules of math for making these assessments. For example, several years ago, the Obama administration fiddled with the Census Bureau’s definition of what it means to be “uninsured.” The new parameters, which were looser than the old factors, make it hard to construct comparisons between today’s figures for the total number of uninsured and the historical trends. The Obama team also abruptly started to exclude uninsured illegal immigrants from the national tally on total number of uninsured Americans. Before Obamacare, these individuals were counted in that reporting, inflating the numbers.

Felice J. Freyer: Report alleges cover-up of impending Health Connector failure

The Boston Globe
Mon, 2015-05-11
A report scheduled for release Monday by a conservative-leaning think tank accuses state officials of misleading the federal government and the public about the Massachusetts Health Connector’s readiness to launch its new website in October 2013. The report from the Pioneer Institute draws on public audit reports and interviews with anonymous people described as “whistle-blowers” to detail what they characterize as a bungled effort by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, software developer CGI, and the Connector to upgrade the Connector’s software in 2012 and 2013. The Connector — designed to link people with health insurance when they don’t have another source — eventually ended its relationships with UMass and CGI.

Contrary to goals, ER visits rise under Obamacare

USA Today
Mon, 2015-05-04
Three-quarters of emergency physicians say they've seen ER patient visits surge since Obamacare took effect — just the opposite of what many Americans expected would happen. A poll released today by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that 28% of 2,099 doctors surveyed nationally saw large increases in volume, while 47% saw slight increases. By contrast, fewer than half of doctors reported any increases last year in the early days of the Affordable Care Act. Such hikes run counter to one of the goals of the health care overhaul, which is to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by getting more people insured through Medicaid or subsidized private coverage and providing better access to primary care. A major reason that hasn't happened is there simply aren't enough primary care physicians to handle all the newly insured patients, says ACEP President Mike Gerardi, an emergency physician in New Jersey.

Robert E. Moffit: Shed sunshine on ObamaCare's subsidies for Congress

The Hill
Wed, 2015-04-29
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has a simple question: How and why did Congress qualify as a "small business" eligible for special taxpayer subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? For anyone in a real small business — private employers who get no such subsidies — the very idea is absurd. But getting a straight answer is as difficult as getting Lois Lerner's IRS emails. In search of answers, Vitter proposed subpoenaing documents from the District of Columbia Health Benefits Exchange Authority. But his colleagues on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee recently voted (14 to five) to block the effort. They've tried to justify their lack of curiosity by calling the proposed subpoena an unnecessary "distraction" or an invitation to a "protracted" legal fight. But these are rather obviously lame excuses.

Rich Kirchen: Milwaukee-based Assurant Health to be sold or closed, parent company says

Milwaukee Business Journal
Wed, 2015-04-29
With Milwaukee-based Assurant Health continuing to bleed red ink, its parent company announced in a Tuesday news release it will either sell the health insurer or exit the health insurance business. Assurant Health’s product lines include Time Insurance and John Alden. The company has more than 1,000 employees at its downtown Milwaukee offices, 501 W. Michigan St. The impact on those employees will depend on whether the company is sold and the business strategy of a buyer. "It's premature for us to comment on possible outcomes," said Assurant Inc. spokeswoman Vera Carley of impact on employees.

Connor Wolf: Obamacare Leaves Behind Millions Of Lower Income Workers

The Daily Caller
Tue, 2015-04-28
Despite being designed to help the poor, certain aspects of Obamacare are holding millions of individuals back who fall into what is being called the “coverage gap.” Reverend Vann R. Ellison, the president of the Florida based St. Matthew’s House, is trying to bring attention to the issue which he says affects people that fall between the $10,000 and $12,000 a year income range. St. Matthew’s House, which takes care of roughly 1,500 people, provides food and shelter to those individuals trying to work their way out of poverty. “We generally deal with lower income people trying to get their lives together,” Ellison told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “These are people that can’t afford their own apartments.” Those in that income range make too much to qualify for assistance under Obamacare but often times make too little to actually afford coverage or the fee that comes with not being covered.

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