A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Quality/Access"

Post-Obamacare Health Reform: Will Health Insurers Be Redeemed?

John R. Graham
Forbes
Sun, 2014-11-23
"Robert Pear of the New York Times recently described the “symbiotic” relationship between the Obama Administration and health insurers. It was not always so: “But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment. “Insurers and the government have developed a symbiotic relationship, nurtured by tens of billions of dollars that flow from the federal Treasury to insurers each year,” said Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato CATO -1.93% Institute."

Chance To Pass Free-Market Health Reform Just Ahead For GOP

Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
Investors Business Daily
Thu, 2014-11-20
"The pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare coupled with a small provision buried in the law could give Republicans in the new Congress the opportunity to power-boost free-market health reform. The high court will hear arguments, likely in March, on whether the Obama administration had legal authority to allow tax subsidies to flow through the health insurance exchange established by the federal government."

How a key Obamacare enrollment number slipped below the 7 million mark without anyone noticing

Phillip Bump, Washington Post
Thu, 2014-11-20
"In the blink of an eye, Obamacare enrollment numbers through August fell from 7.3 million to just under 7 million -- a level that dips overall enrollment under 2013 enrollment projections from the Congressional Budget Office. How'd it happen? In short, the administration combined Obamacare medical plan enrollment with dental plan enrollment for those August numbers -- while previous reports had kept the two numbers distinct. Here's how the Department of Health and Human Services reported enrollments in a report last April. This shows only the last line of enrollments, but the number of plans with data on "metal level" (that is, the quality of the plan), is fairly close to the overall number of enrollments. Underneath, the number of people who got standalone dental coverage. 8 million; 1.1 million."

Lawmakers voice anger with insurance exchange’s technical troubles

Lisa Stiffler, Seattle Times
Wed, 2014-11-19
"State lawmakers on Tuesday voiced their continued frustration with the technical problems still afflicting the Washington Healthplanfinder insurance exchange. On Saturday, the first day of enrollment for the second round of insurance signups on the exchange, the site was live for only a couple of hours before a technical error was discovered and the exchange was taken offline for repairs. Meanwhile, first-round problems involving the transfer of payment information from the exchange to insurance companies have not been corrected, despite assurances they would be fixed by now."

'Peak Obamacare': Will Exchanges End With A Bang Or A Whimper?

John R. Graham
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-19
"The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear King v. Burwell, an important case about Obamacare’s subsidies (tax credits) to health insurers. Plaintiffs argue that in the 36 states with federal Obamacare exchanges, subsidies cannot be paid legally. If no subsidies can be paid, neither the individual mandate to buy health insurance nor the employer mandate to offer insurance can be enforced. Few people would voluntarily buy health insurance from an Obamacare exchange if health insurers on the exchanges did not receive subsidies to enroll people. The premiums would be too high otherwise. Experts expect that the Supreme Court might decide on King v. Burwell in July, in which case Obamacare will end with a bang."

Thanks to Jonathan Gruber for revealing Obamacare deception

Marc Thiessen
Washington Post
Wed, 2014-11-19
"Democrats are desperately distancing themselves from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. He “never worked on our staff,” President Obama said this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, (even though Gruber was paid almost $400,000 by his administration, is the intellectual author of the individual mandate and met in the Oval Office with Obama and the head of the Congressional Budget Office to pore over the bill). “I don’t know who he is,” Nancy Pelosi declared on Capitol Hill (even though she repeatedly cited him by name during the Obamacare debate). The reason Democrats are running from Gruber is the same reason conservatives should be thanking him: Gruber has exposed what liberals really think of the American people."

Support for Obamacare Drops to New Low

Kate Scanlon, The Daily Signal
Tue, 2014-11-18
"Support for Obamacare has reached a new low. According to a new Gallup poll, only 37 percent of Americans approve of the president’s signature law, its lowest approval rating ever. Additionally, 56 percent of Americans disapprove of the law, its highest disapproval rate."

White House defends itself in ‘Gruber’ gate

Lesley Clark, McClatchey
Sun, 2014-11-16
"The White House looked to distance itself Thursday from critical remarks made by one of the architects of President Barack Obama’s health care law, who suggested the law benefited from a lack of transparency and the ignorance of the American voter. In videos that have surfaced, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has been quoted as saying the “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage," in seeing the complicated law passed. "Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever,” he said in the video from a conference in 2013. “But basically, that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass. I wish we could make it all transparent. But I'd rather have this law than not.""

Health law’s small-business enrollment fell far short of expectations, GAO finds

J.D. Harrison, Washington Post
Sun, 2014-11-16
"Small-business enrollment on new insurance marketplaces set up under the president’s health-care law has fallen well short of the administration’s expectations, according to government report released Thursday."

What Should Republicans Do if SCOTUS Strikes Down Federal Subsidies?

Guy Benson
Townhall
Sun, 2014-11-16
"By now you're aware of the red hot 'federal subsidies' controversy, yes? The star of the show at the moment is one Jonathan Gruber -- a famed economist and top Obamacare architect -- who's been caught repeatedly lying about the law he helped design, while smirking about the "stupidity" of the American people. Gruber's performance has become so harmful to The Cause that Nancy Pelosi is now pretending she doesn't know who he is:"

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