While the House Speakership remains in limbo, plans to repeal Obamacare via reconciliation are still moving forward. Last week, the House Budget Committee advanced the bill, which would gut key Obamacare provisions, along with defunding Planned Parenthood for a year–to the House floor.
Community Health Alliance, Tennessee’s health insurance co-op, will stop offering health insurance coverage in 2016, reports The Tennessean. The move will make nearly 27,000 individuals find insurance elsewhere. In January, the co-op froze enrollment. The organization will continue to pay out existing claims and slow down its operations, The Tennessean reports.
Kentucky sometimes failed to ensure that all consumers who signed up for insurance on the state’s health exchange were eligible for coverage, the latest federal audit found.
The audit, released Thursday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, found that some of the Kentucky exchange’s controls for confirming consumers’ eligibility weren’t effective. Earlier audits also identified deficiencies in the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, as well as state-run exchanges in California, Connecticut and New York.
Six provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should come up for target practice next week on the Capitol Hill shooting range. Included in a budget reconciliation measure before the House of Representatives are such items as repeal of the individual mandate, employer mandate, Independent Payment Advisory Board, medical device tax, and auto-enrollment of workers in larger businesses. None of those clay pigeons are likely to suffer any permanent harm, given the certainty of a veto if the bill manages to get to President Obama’s desk. But the latest political contortions over one particular provision — the so-called Cadillac tax – are particularly rich in circular irony and evasion.
Health insurance enrollment data for 2014 shows that the number of Americans with health insurance increased by 9.25 million during the year. However, the vast majority of the increase was the result of 8.99 million individuals being added to the Medicaid rolls. While enrollment in private individual-market plans increased by almost 4.79 million, most of that gain was offset by a reduction of 4.53 million in the number of people with employment-based group coverage. Thus, the net increase in private health insurance in 2014 was just 260,000 people.
Nine out of 10 large companies are working to avoid Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac Tax on health insurance plans if lawmakers fail to reform the law, according to a new study.
The American Health Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, found that nearly every major employer in the country is taking steps to avoid the tax, which targets comprehensive health plans deemed to be luxurious by regulators. The law will hike taxes by $68 billion for American workers.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in 2018, an excise tax on high-value employer provided health plans, the so-called “Cadillac tax,” takes effect. Even before 2018, though, the excise tax is already driving many employers to fundamentally reassess their health care plans. While the tax was intended to reduce health care spending, its impact in the real world is being felt by workers who are seeing the value of their health care plans reduced.
Obamacare was enacted more than five years ago, and is now in its second year of nearly full implementation, but, in political terms, it is still not a settled matter. Republicans remain nearly unanimous in their opposition to the law, which continues to inspire widespread unease among the larger electorate. Many of its most important provisions — for instance, the individual mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and the “Cadillac” tax — are so unpopular that even many Democrats would like to see them repealed.
For decades, federal health policy — through taxes, spending, and regulation — has encouraged people to get their health insurance through their employers, and has encouraged them to choose health plans that pay for routine care. These policy decisions have inflated prices and made insurance harder to obtain for people who don’t have access to employer coverage, and especially for those who have chronic ill health. Obamacare attempted to fix some of these problems, mainly by adding an additional layer of government interventions and attempting to centralize the health-care system.
Jeb Bush’s new health-care plan looks a lot like the plan Scott Walker embraced two months ago, which in turn looks a lot like the one Marco Rubio sketched in an op-ed article and the one touted by Senators Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr and Representative Fred Upton. That’s a good thing. It means that Republicans are finally reaching a consensus on what to do about health policy that draws on the best conservative thinking on the subject. Bush (for whose campaign my wife works) is helping to ratify that consensus.