When I first answered God’s call to join the Little Sisters of the Poor and vow myself to Him and to the care of the elderly, I never dreamed of the happiness I would experience in serving, living with and caring for the aging poor until God calls them to Himself. I also never thought one day, I would be walking up the white marble steps of the Supreme Court to attend a legal proceeding in which the high court will decide whether the government can force my order to help offer health care services that violate my Catholic faith and that are already available through existing government exchanges.
A controversial federal health program that helps insurers withstand the ebbs and flows of the new insurance exchanges will be put under the microscope this week with the hope of making it fairer in the long term.
The CMS will host a public meeting Friday in which health insurers, state officials and others will offer their input on how to change the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment methodology for 2018 and beyond. Under the permanent risk-adjustment program, which is a zero-sum game, the federal government redistributes money from plans that have lower-cost, healthier members to companies that have higher-cost, sicker members.
Both the percentage of employers who offer insurance and the percentage of people covered will be important to watch as the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to unfold. New coverage provisions and financial assistance provided in the ACA affect employers’ decision to offer coverage and employees’ decisions to take up any coverage they are offered at work. The employer shared responsibility provision, for example, requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer coverage to full-time employees and their dependent children or face a financial penalty.
On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, a landmark case challenging the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
It is common knowledge that the Catholic Church has taught the immorality of abortion and contraceptive use for millennia. Yet the regulations in question force our institutions to pay for insurance that covers abortifacients like Ella and Plan B, plus prescription contraceptives and surgical sterilizations.
The United States was founded on the concept of religious freedom. The First Amendment says clearly that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The Obama administration is trying once again to address a criticism that has dogged the president ever since his health care bill passed six years ago: they need to sell it better.
On Tuesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services is rolling out a new promotional video, which was provided to STAT first, to explain the changes the administration is making to the health care delivery system through the law.
It’s a three-minute, rapid-fire, visually driven attempt to make terms like “care coordination” and “electronic health records” something that an average person who is getting his or her knee operated on can actually understand.
The administration has decided to explore the ‘next chapter’ of healthcare reform, rather than focusing on the issues of access and affordability.
The administration continues with an aggressive agenda to make administrative changes that impact millions of people without benefit of congressional input.
The latest changes that the Obama administration wants to make to Medicare Advantage plans offered to retirees of companies, labor unions, and municipal governments—called Medicare Advantage Employer-Group Waiver Plans (EGWP, pronounced “egg whips”).
The main reason many insurers are raising premiums this year is because they are experiencing higher than expected costs. This update implies that the people currently signed up in the plans are less healthy than what was anticipated by the company when calculating what to charge for premiums last year.
The Affordable Care Act was sold as something that would lower the cost of health care for millions of Americans. The only thing another year of premium increases, now once again accelerating, proves is that the promise becomes harder and harder to believe.
Big government tries to do too many complex things that it can’t do very well. In order to get the job done, government bureaucracies rely on unelected advisory groups from the private sector. For example, in Medicare and Medicaid, the government usually draws advisers from major hospitals and health-insurance companies. You can imagine the opportunities for cronyism and conflicts of interest such a scheme might create.
What makes the risk of corruption even greater is that many of the advisory groups the government puts together are relatively obscure.
Hillary Clinton wants to use Obamacare to provide health coverage for illegal immigrants.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper as part of CNN’s presidential primetime event Monday, Clinton said, “It’s not only the right and moral thing to do for them, it’s also important that we keep ourselves healthy and public health requires that.”
Republican lawmakers are trying to draw attention to what they say are the law’s failures. On Monday, the Ways and Means Committee said they would send out six ways the administration has violated the law over the next few days.
Committee members said the administration has said it would “use taxpayer dollars to pay off special interests” and “changed the risk corridor payment formula to provide more money to insurance companies.”