As part of an ObamaCare initiative meant to reward quality care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is allocating some $1.5 billion in Medicare payments to hospitals based on criteria that include patient-satisfaction surveys. Among the questions: “During this hospital stay, how often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help you with your pain?” And: “How often was your pain well controlled?”
To many physicians and lawmakers struggling to contain the nation’s opioid crisis, tying a patient’s feelings about pain management to a hospital’s bottom line is deeply misguided––if not downright dangerous. “The government is telling us we need to make sure a patient’s pain is under control,” says Dr. Nick Sawyer, a health-policy fellow at the UC Davis department of emergency medicine. “It’s hard to make them happy without a narcotic. This policy is leading to ongoing opioid abuse.”
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UnitedHealth is withdrawing from most of the 34 ObamaCare Exchanges in which it currently sells, citing losses of $650 million in 2016. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report indicates UnitedHealth’s departure will leave consumers on Oklahoma’s Exchange with only one choice of insurance carriers.
Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute explains five results of UnitedHealth’s withdrawal from the exchanges:
1. UnitedHealth’s departure shows ObamaCare is suffering from self-induced adverse selection.
2. UnitedHealth’s departure is bad news for other carriers.
3. UnitedHealth’s departure shows ObamaCare premiums will continue to rise.
4. There will be more exits.
5. UnitedHealth’s departure shows quality of coverage under ObamaCare will continue to fall.
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Health insurance subsidies are expected to cost the federal government about $660 billion in 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Much of the $136 billion in extra health spending stems from “significantly higher” enrollment in Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income people, according to the CBO’s latest annual report on healthcare spending. The estimates do not include spending on people over the age of 65.
The CBO figures also show an 11 percent increase in the cost of ObamaCare subsidies.
When federal lawmakers wrote the act overhauling the nation’s health-care system six years ago, they ruled out any possibility of extending health insurance to illegal immigrants.
Local officials where many of those immigrants live are treating them anyway.
A Wall Street Journal survey of the 25 U.S. counties with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations found that 20 of them have programs that pay for the low-income uninsured to have doctor visits, shots, prescription drugs, lab tests and surgeries at local providers. The services usually are inexpensive or free to participants, who must prove they live in the county but are told their immigration status doesn’t matter.
Expanded health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative legacy, will cost the government more, according to an official study released Thursday. Still, on balance, the measure more than pays for itself.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the health care law will cost $1.34 trillion over the coming decade, $136 billion more than the CBO predicted a year ago. That 11 percent hike is mostly caused by higher-than-expected enrollment in the expanded Medicaid program established under the law.
All told, 22 million more people will have health care coverage this year than if the law had never been enacted, CBO said. The measure’s coverage provisions are expected to cost $110 billion this year.
Federal officials have been lucky until now, but the Affordable Care Act’s Internet web portal could become a hacker’s playground — with plenty of sensitive data compromised — without a significant tightening of security, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
The new warning comes on the sixth anniversary of the enactment of the ACA and addresses security problems related to the personal information — including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and sensitive income and tax details — of literally millions of Americans who have enrolled in the insurance program online through HealthCare.gov.
Birthdays usually represent a time for celebration. But when it comes to Obamacare’s sixth birthday, partying is the last thing on Arizonans’ minds.
Six years after the so-called Affordable Care Act was signed into law, President Obama’s litany of failed promises continue to add up. Despite all his assurances, Americans who liked their health care plans couldn’t keep them, premiums have gone up – not down – and taxes continue to multiply.
That’s why it is no surprise that a February poll by National Public Radio and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found only 15 percent of people say that they have personally benefited from Obamacare, while 25 percent allege they have been personally harmed by the law.
Health insurance premiums have increased faster than wages and inflation in recent years, rising an average of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014 despite the enactment of Obamacare, according to a report from Freedom Partners.
The Obama administration expressed concern in 2009 about skyrocketing health care premiums in a report entitled, “The Burden of Health Insurance Premium Increases on American Families.” They were concerned that premiums had increased by 5.5 percent from 2008 to 2009.
However, from 2010 to 2011 in the first year after Obamacare was enacted, premiums increased by 9.4 percent.
According to the report, while premiums increased by 28 percent from 2009 to 2014, wages increased by only 7.8 percent. From 2004 to 2009 when premiums increased by 30 percent, wages increased by only 12.2 percent.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a white paper detailing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s risk adjustment model Thursday.
“CMS has implemented a risk adjustment program to mitigate the effects of risk selection on health insurance premiums for non-grandfathered plans in the individual and small group markets,” the paper concludes. “The risk adjustment program, supports market stability by pooling risk and transferring funds from plans with more low-risk (i.e., healthier and lower cost) enrollees to those plans with more high-risk (i.e., less healthy and higher cost) enrollees.”
The paper also suggests potential modifications for the 2018 and 2019 benefit years.
The Congressional Budget Office reduced the projected number of people who will enroll on the federal insurance exchanges to 12 million from 21 million in a report released Thursday.
Still, between 2017 and 2026, the CBO projects the number of insured people in the U.S. will grow from 246 million to 253 million. While the number of uninsured is expected to grow from 26 million to 28 million, the portion of uninsured people younger than 65 is expected to stay around 10 percent, according to the report.