A project of the Galen Institute

Commentary

Sat, 2014-09-27
"The Affordable Care Act changed the rules on how health insurance plans dealt with pre-existing conditions, outlawing the practice of turning away patients with expensive conditions or charging them a drastically higher cost for coverage. But an editorial alleges some health insurance companies operating on the new marketplaces created by Obamacare may have found a loophole that allows them to discourage sick patients from enrolling in a specific plan. The change has to do with how drugs are categorized in health systems. From the editorial published online at the American Journal of Managed Care: "For many years, most insurers had formularies that consisted of only three tiers: Tier 1 was for generic drugs (lowest copay), Tier 2 was for branded drugs that were designated “preferred” (higher co- pay), and Tier 3 was for “nonpreferred” branded drugs (highest copay).
Sarah Hurtubise
Daily Caller
Sat, 2014-09-27
"After a long list of Obamacare failures in Alaska, one physician is shutting down his decades-old practice, charging that the health-care law and other federal programs are “unsustainable” for practicing doctors. Dr. William Wennen, a plastic surgeon, is closing his Fairbanks practice after 38 years of working in the state. Dr. Wennen blames federal health insurance programs, citing Obamacare, Medicaid and Medicare, for shutting down his practice."
Andrew Branch
World News
Fri, 2014-09-26
"A survey of American physicians released this week paints a restless picture of the nation’s doctors—especially when it comes to Obamacare. “The system is broken and I am out of here as soon as I can,” one doctor wrote. “I am tired of being used, abused, and lied to. Has anyone here woken up to the fact that we are always the last ones to be considered in the equation of change?” Roughly 20,000 of 650,000 doctors responded to the Physicians Foundation’s survey, and voluntary surveys are prone to finding those with strong opinions. But of those strong opinions, 46 percent of doctors gave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a “D” or “F,” while only 25 percent gave it an “A” or “B.”"
Megan McArdle
Bloomberg
Fri, 2014-09-26
"It’s hard to get a good accounting of what we’ve spent on the Affordable Care Act so far. The Barack Obama administration has never really tried to count the cost of all the different elements and put them in one place. The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has pretty much given up. Luckily, we have Bloomberg Government, my employer’s government intelligence service, which has thoughtfully totted up all the data it can glean from public records and come up with a figure for spending to date: $73 billion."
Sarah Ferris
The Hill
Fri, 2014-09-26
"The Obama administration has spent at least $3.7 billion to build and promote online marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, but it can’t prove exactly where it all went, according to an audit released Monday. Federal investigators said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not properly track certain data that public officials need in order to determine whether the healthcare law is working. The government tracks its healthcare spending in an outdated records system that cannot easily respond to data requests such as salaries or public relations contracts in certain departments. Instead, officials rely on manually prepared spreadsheets that can take months to produce."
Rudolph Bell
Greeneville, S.C., News
Fri, 2014-09-26
"New survey data show that companies are passing on to their employees additional costs they have incurred as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a management professor at the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business. And that means employees who get their health insurance through work are bearing the cost of subsidizing people newly covered under President Obama's healthcare reform law, said Professor Patrick M. Wright."
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Normally, no one would care that in a recent Atlantic essay — “Why I Hope to Die at 75” — 57-year-old Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argued that living to be 75 years old was long enough for anyone. After 75, Emanuel suggests, “We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.” But Emanuel is no garden-variety crackpot. Nor is he a wannabe science-fiction writer dreaming of a centrally planned planet of robust youthful humanoids. Unfortunately, he was one of the chief architects of the troubled Affordable Care Act and a key medical advisor to the Obama administration."
S.A. Miller
Washington Times
Thu, 2014-09-25
"The Obama administration has dragged its feet on revoking Obamacare coverage for people who can’t prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency, allowing some of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. to continue enjoying taxpayer-funded benefits, a Republican senator charged Monday. “The Obama administration is bending over backwards to give Obamacare to illegal immigrants but won’t protect hardworking American citizens who are losing their health care coverage,” said Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican and an outspoken critic of President Obama’s health care law."
Ed Silverman
Wall Street Journal
Thu, 2014-09-25
"With just one week left before the launch of the controversial Open Payments database – which will reveal how much money doctors receive from drug and device makers – three of the biggest industry trade groups are complaining they have not had an opportunity to review important background information about relationships with physicians. And the trade groups – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, BIO and AdvaMed – are reiterating concerns expressed last month that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has still not explained why one-third of the payment information submitted by drug and device makers, as well as group purchasing organizations, was removed from the database."
Louise Radnofsky
Wall Street Journal
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told reporters Wednesday that officials are “continuing, step by step” in their effort to get HealthCare.gov ready to open for its second year of business in 50 days’ time but steered clear of specific commitments that have haunted officials who preceded her. In her first on-the-record question session with reporters since taking the top job at HHS, Ms. Burwell got several inquiries about whether the department’s preparations to fix and revamp the site were on schedule, and answered all of them without making the kinds of comments that people could hold against her later. “Right now, what we are doing is prioritizing,” she said. “Every day we are continuing, step by step.”"

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