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Issue: "Business Impact"

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.

Robert Moffit PhD: Five Years Later: Obamacare’s Dim Prospects

MedPage Today
Thu, 2015-04-23
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted 5 years ago, 2014 was the first year of implementation for most of the health law's major provisions. In fact, it turned out to be a glitch machine. Defying the expectations of even the law's most ardent critics, Obamacare's rollout of the federal online health exchange was a disaster, combined with the cancellation of millions of private health insurance policies (if you "liked" your plan, too bad), a delay in reporting requirements of the employer mandate, and new administrative exemptions from the individual mandate penalty. Nonetheless, the Obama administration's allies insist that the law is "working" and that it will even become popular with the majority of Americans with the passage of time. The law's congressional supporters, they hope, will reap political benefits rather than political retribution.

J. Kevin A. McKechnie: HHS Challenges HSA Plans

The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism
Tue, 2015-04-21
King vs. Burwell is on the horizon. If the plaintiffs are successful, so goes the theory, subsidies end in 37 exchanges operated by the Department of Health and Human Services and serviced by HealthCare.gov. Coverage gets more expensive, and people won’t be able to afford their policies. But, this outcome was foretold all the way back in the Senate mark-up of the proposed ACA legislation. Purposely requiring subsidies in state-run exchanges remains the incentive for states to set them up. The administration did not expect so many states elected not to set up their own exchanges, and it is now a big problem. As was noted in 2009 by critics of the bill, if states don’t hand out subsidies, people won’t be able to afford to buy coverage. In the health savings account industry, the problem is compounded. The ACA law also created a perpetual rule change engine.

Ben Boychuk: Playing the specialty drug lottery

The Sacramento Bee
Fri, 2015-04-17
My son Benjamin has a serious growth hormone deficiency. He’ll be 13 years old in May but could easily pass for a boy of 8 or 9. In fact, many 8- and 9-year-olds are taller than him. He’s a full head shorter than all of his pals in seventh grade. Although his mother and I don’t have medical degrees, we medical degrees, we had Benjamin’s diagnosis pegged when he was 3 years old and still wearing clothing for an 18-month-old. Several trips to his pediatrician along with a couple simple tests to assess Benjamin’s bone age confirmed with data what we could see with our own eyes. Our boy wasn’t just in the bottom percentile in average height for kids his age – he was in the sub-basement

David Mills: Is It True? Do Doctors Really Loathe Obamacare?

Healthline News
Wed, 2015-04-15
Doctors in the United States appear as bitterly divided over the Affordable Care Act as the general public. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, has been a lightning rod since it was signed into law in 2010. Five years after its enactment, the healthcare reform legislation still divides the American public.

Testimony of the Hon. Tevi D. Troy, Ph.D.

United States Congress
Wed, 2015-04-15
House Committee on the Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Hearing on “Five Years of Broken Promises: How the President’s Health Care Law is Affecting America’s Workplaces” Tuesday, April 14, 2015 Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, Members of the Committee, My name is Tevi Troy, and I am the President of the American Health Policy Institute, adjunct fellow at Hudson Institute, and a former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a former senior White House Domestic Policy Aide. The American Health Policy Institute is a 501(c)3 think tank dedicated to studying the issue of employer sponsored health insurance and highlighting the challenges employers face in offering care to their employees and their dependents.

Holtz-Eakin: If Individual Mandate Axed, 7 Million Fewer Insured But $191 Billion Saved

Inside Health Policy
Wed, 2015-04-15
Repealing the ACA's individual mandate would result in 7 million fewer insured Americans in 2025 but would reduce federal spending on financial assistance by $191 billion, American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who backs axing the mandate, told the House Ways and Means health subcommittee Tuesday.

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