Today in New Hampshire, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush unveiled his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. In many ways, the plan reflects the mainstream of Republican wonk thinking on health care, and expresses similarities to an earlier plan proposed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Like Walker’s plan—but in a different way—Bush’s plan seems likely to increase the deficit.
It has been clear for some time that Republicans need just two things in order to repeal Obamacare—a winning alternative and political willpower. The jury is still out on how much of the latter the party possesses. But when it comes to uniting around a well-conceived alternative that can pave the way to full repeal, the news is increasingly good. Jeb Bush’s just-released Obamacare alternative is the latest example of this encouraging trend.
Half of the Americans who remain uninsured several years into Obamacare are eligible for government assistance in buying coverage, a new survey shows.
In less than three weeks, the Obama administration will embark on the third enrollment period under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, where it faces the ongoing challenge of persuading those who have resisted obtaining health coverage to buy it. About 32 million people, or about 11 percent of the U.S. population, are still uninsured.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extends health insurance coverage to people who lack access to an affordable coverage option. Under the ACA, as of 2014, Medicaid coverage is extended to low-income adults in states that have opted to expand eligibility, and tax credits are available for middle-income people who purchase coverage through a health insurance Marketplace. Millions of people have enrolled in these new coverage options, but millions of others are still uninsured. Some remain ineligible for coverage, and others may be unaware of the availability of new coverage options or still find coverage unaffordable even with financial assistance.
By liberal and media acclamation, ObamaCare is a glorious success, the political opposition is fading and the entitlement state has gained another permanent annex. The reality, for anyone who cares to look, is different and suggests that ObamaCare is far more vulnerable than this conventional wisdom.
Tonight, the first Democratic debate of the election season will kick off. With two GOP debates in the rearview mirror, the first of the debates on the left should offer an opportunity to see how the candidates will distinguish themselves. In particular, one issue that’s been largely absent (at least from the GOP debates beyond “repeal and replace”) is health care. In this coming debate, and in the later GOP debates, the moderators ought to seek out the candidates’ positions on a slew of health care issues.
Almost half of the 32.3 million nonelderly people who have no health insurance could gain coverage through their state’s existing Medicaid policy or a subsidized exchange plan, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The federal government is hoping those uninsured will sign up for coverage during the Affordable Care Act’s upcoming open enrollment. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 33 million people will have a health plan through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or the exchanges by 2016, a large jump from the current 17.6 million people who have become insured under the ACA.
Joshua Smith, a Rockland County insurance broker, was deluged with questions from clients after regulators said they were shutting down Health Republic Insurance of New York, which was known for having some of the lowest rates in the state.
“It’s been a week of craziness,” said Mr. Smith, who owns Vanguard Benefit Solutions LLC, which enrolled about 75 small businesses in Health Republic’s plans. “Lots of emails, lots of calls, and everybody is nervous about what is going to happen.”
In apparent recognition of the distinct unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax—an excise tax on high-value, employer-provided health benefits—more than 100 economists have signed a letter defending it. As the Washington Post headline about the letter read: “101 Economists Just Signed a Love Letter to the Obamacare Provision Everyone Else Hates.”
Risk corridor data released on October 1 by the administration shows that insurers lost a lot of money on Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in 2014. The ACA established a three-year risk corridor program to transfer funds from insurers with lower-than-expected medical claims on ACA plans, i.e., profitable insurers, to insurers with higher-than-expected claims, i.e., insurers with losses. Despite administration claims that incoming payments from profitable insurers would cover losses from unprofitable ones, the risk corridor program shortfall exceeded $2.5 billion in 2014. Insurers with lower-than-anticipated claims owed about $360 million, and insurers with higher-than-anticipated claims requested about $2.9 billion from the program.