The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers


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.”

After launching the only health care cooperative in the country that made money, the top executives of Maine’s Community Health Options insurance company received hefty pay hikes that more than doubled their pay in the first two years of operation.

Now, a year later, the same managers are dealing with millions of dollars of losses and are expected to sharply increase premiums on its 84,000 customers to cover claims that poured in during 2015 when thousands of policy holders – many of them previously uninsured – accessed medical care on a scale no one anticipated.

Vermont has filed a 1332 state innovation waiver to avoid building a website for its small-business insurance exchange. The state hopes to have those employers enroll directly through insurers.

Under the waiver, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, states can request that the federal government waive basically every major coverage component of the Affordable Care Act, including exchanges, benefit packages, and the individual and employer mandates. The only requirement is that a state’s healthcare coverage remains consistent and adequate. Vermont is the first state to send a finalized request (PDF) to the CMS.

There’s much more to fix in the health care system than the lack of price and quality information. And given the status quo of blunt benefit designs, the benefits of greater transparency may be limited. But transparency initiatives can and should help improve insurance benefit designs, directing patients to more cost-effective providers. This can happen with or without patients spending their own money.

Thirty-four top executives at 10 failed Obamacare co-ops were paid a whopping $8,211,384 in 2014, according to 990 tax forms obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

New York had the highest total, having paid four of its employees an astounding total of $1,156,317 , with Health Republic Insurance of New York CEO Debra Friedman taking in $427,632 and COO Nicholas Liguori making $316,411. Nevada Health Cooperative’s CEO had the highest salary of the year, receiving $428,001 in compensation for 2014.

Arizona’s Compass Cooperative Mutual Health Network, Inc. also provided hefty salaries — its CEO Kathleen Oestreich was compensated $377,279, while its COO Jean Tkachyk made $351,807.

The co-ops represent a modest component of the sweeping 2010 health law that put new coverage requirements on insurers and required most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The co-ops were included to foster nonprofit health insurance providers to compete in the individual and small group markets.

The report will be released in advance of a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday. It is likely to spur more questions about prospects of the Obama administration’s $2.4 billion co-op program.

Thousands of doctors, hospitals and providers in some states still haven’t been paid for health services given to members insured by the co-ops. More than half a million people signed up for health insurance under the ACA lost coverage or had to get new insurance because their co–op had folded.

Oregon’s health insurance co-operative is yet another Obamacare failure. It squandered taxpayer-backed handouts and loans, disappointed its customers and now has shuttered its operations.

But with an audacity that would make even Donald Trump blush, Health Republic of Oregon wants more taxpayer money. Its executives are suing the federal government to demand more government handouts.

The Obama administration just might settle the case and give Health Republic and hundreds of other insurers the $5 billion that the class-action lawsuit seeks.

Federal health officials approved loans to Obamacare health insurance co-ops despite “specific warnings” about across-the-board failures from Deloitte Consulting, according to a blistering Senate staff report released Thursday.

The report was released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations at a hearing that featured Andy Slavitt, the embattled acting administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)  — the section of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that manages Obamacare.