Favorable and unfavorable views of the health care law are tied this month with 42 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable. Compared to when most of the law’s provisions were just taking effect in early 2014, more now say their impression of the health care law is based on their own experience (35 percent now, 23 percent in February 2014), while fewer say it is based on what they’ve seen in the media (30 percent now, 44 percent in February 2014). In addition, the public continues to be divided on what Congress should do about the law – 32 percent say repeal, 11 percent say scale back, 16 percent say move forward with implementation, and 28 percent say expand the law.
Mississippi will be ground zero for ObamaCare’s individual mandate to buy coverage or pay a tax penalty. The state already is near the bottom when it comes to the percentage of the subsidy-eligible individuals who are enrolled via HealthCare.gov — just 38%. Now Mississippi’s subsidized premiums are about to jump far more than any of the 36 other states using HealthCare.gov.
It isn’t just Obamacare premiums that are set to spike next year. The rates on commercial health plans that are sold off the Obamacare exchanges will also rise, by double digits in most states. Inflation in the health plan sector continues to grow. The latest data comes from a regular survey of commercial insurance brokers, conducted by the investment bank Morgan Stanley. The survey tracks how much the annual increases built into the price of insurance are rising or falling.
Yesterday, the White House and Congressional leaders announced a last-minute budget agreement that avoids a so-called government shut-down for now. The deal has four health-related items, and is expected to reduce net federal health spending by about $4.5 billion over five years, and $15.5 billion over ten years. Overall, it is not a bad deal with respect to health care. However, some of its budget savings are fragile and it largely avoids reforms that will actually reduce the growth of health spending.
Voters in the battleground state of Colorado will likely have a big issue to vote on in 2016 — and it’s not the presidential election. The Centennial State is looking to implement a universal health care proposal that goes above and beyond what Obamacare offers. “Part of the reason Obamacare is so unpopular is that it’s a one-size-fits-all approach for 50 different states,” Colorado Democratic state Sen. Irene Aguilar, a doctor, told The Blaze. “What we are hoping to do with this is create a plan that works for Colorado.”
The Obama administration was able to push the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — through Congress in part because the Congressional Budget Office said it would modestly reduce future federal budget deficits. The claim of deficit reduction rests on a shaky foundation. It depends entirely on the uninterrupted implementation of four carefully constructed “indexing” provisions. These provisions, which make annual adjustments to key spending and tax parameters of the law (or specify that such adjustments will not be made), were written with the clear intention of making the ACA look better financially as time passed. Our new study, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, shows that these budgetary manipulations are no more likely to survive mounting political pressure than did income-tax “bracket creep” in the 1970s or across-the-board cuts in Medicare physician fees over the past 15 years.
The clock is ticking on new rules under the Affordable Care Act that aim to ensure that hospitals devote more resources to charity care. But an article in the New England Journal of Medicine argues that the changes, known as Section 501(r) under the Internal Revenue Code, may not be yielding the desired effect. Section 501(r) mandates that not-for-profit hospitals must provide charity care to patients who need it—by actively ensuring that those who qualify for financial assistance get it, by charging reasonable rates to uninsured patients and by avoiding extraordinary collection practices. Hospitals also must perform a community needs assessment every three years.
A 10th co-op created under Obamacare has collapsed. Combined, the failed nonprofit insurance companies have received more than $1 billion in loans, with more than 600,000 consumers affected. The latest casualty, the Utah Insurance Department, announced yesterday that Arches Health Plan, a consumer-oriented and operated plan, or co-op, will not sell insurance in 2016. The co-op received $89.7 million in loans from the federal government.