A project of the Galen Institute
Why is Obamacare still so unpopular? Why aren’t the working class and middle-class signing up for it? Why is the Obamacare population sicker and causing so many big rate increases a year earlier than expected? Is Obamacare financially sustainable in its present form? Is it politically sustainable as it is?
The Wall Street Journal
The Supreme Court ruling upholding subsidies on the federal health-insurance exchange may prompt state-run exchanges to forge regional networks or use the federal marketplace. Many of the dozen states operating exchanges under the Affordable Care Act are encountering financial strains, and could join the three dozen states already using the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov. Some policy experts say it’s possible most of those states will eventually do just that, creating a largely national exchange program.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Premium growth in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces has been an area of significant interest, as this is one of the most tangible and measurable indicators of whether the ACA is working to keep health insurance affordable. The ACA’s rate review provision requires premium increases over ten percent to be made public. As a number of individual market insurers are requesting 2016 increases well above 10 percent, concern has been raised over the affordability of premiums in the coming year. However, these increases are not necessarily representative of the range of products from which consumers will be able to choose, and similar data is not widely available for the plans with moderate increases or decreases.
Associated Press
Health insurance premiums are poised to go up for 220,000 Oregonians who buy their own coverage, according to the state's proposed rates unveiled Thursday. In some cases, insurance companies proposed rates that were similar to or better than the current rates, but they were told by the state that they must be raised. The state says the cost of medical care has far outstripped revenue, forcing insurers to dip into reserve funds.
The Oregonian
More than 220,000 Oregonians who buy their own health insurance are poised to pay higher premiums next year -- some of them a lot higher. State regulators on Thursday announced rates for people who aren't covered by their employers or government programs. And the news is not good. While some insurers proposed rates similar to or better than this year's, officials are ordering them to be raised -- saying they need to close a sizable gap between what insurers have collected and what they spend on claims.
The Wall Street Journal
Last week, the White House released a report outlining the economic benefits to states of expanding Medicaid. The report continues a line of argument the Obama administration has used in encouraging states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the president’s health-care law. The administration faces several obstacles in attempting to sell this argument to reluctant states.
Washington Examiner
Leading Republicans are charging that the Obama administration is illegally funding yet another part of Obamacare, in addition to the part of the healthcare law over which House Republicans are already suing. Their latest criticism centers on the Affordable Care Act's basic health program, an optional program for states that started this year, in which low-income residents can get subsidized, state-contracted health plans instead of buying them through the new online marketplaces.
Clash Daily
This week, Hawaii pulled the plug on its state-created Obamacare exchange. Gov. David Ige (D) declared that the Hawaii Health Connector has been “unable to generate sufficient revenues to sustain operations.” The decision to kill the exchange will cost taxpayers $200 million, a relative bargain compared to the political-inspired fiasco that happened with the Oregon version of the Obamacare exchange — Cover Oregon.
The Hill
It may be easier than expected for states to save their ObamaCare subsidies, if the Supreme Court rules against the law this month. Two states — Pennsylvania and Delaware — said this week they would launch their own exchanges, if needed, to keep millions of healthcare dollars flowing after the decision. Both want to use existing pieces of the federal ObamaCare exchange, like its website and call center — a path that would be far less costly than the way most other states have created their exchanges. If those plans win approval, many of the other 36 states that stand to lose their subsidies could then pursue a similarly simple strategy.
Chicago Tribune
The Florida House has soundly rejected a Medicaid expansion compromise that even supporters admitted had its flaws and was seemingly doomed to fail almost from the start. The bill, which tore apart the regular session as the House and Senate bitterly disagreed, was voted down 72-41 Friday after a rousing, nearly seven-hour debate during which nearly 60 lawmakers spoke. It was an attempt by the Senate to draw down $18 billion federal dollars and give it to hundreds of thousands of Floridians to purchase private health insurance instead of putting them in the regular Medicaid program. But Republicans insisted it would still expand President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and increase the federal deficit. Even supporters acknowledged the bill would cover far fewer people than the 800,000 who are eligible. Gov. Rick Scott was also strongly opposed.

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