A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Social Impact"

Why doctors give Obamacare a failing grade

Jeffrey Singer
The Hill
Sun, 2014-10-19
"The Physicians Foundation made shockwaves last month when it released its 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians. The survey’s top-line finding: Of the 20,000 doctors surveyed, almost 50 percent stated that Obamacare deserves either a “D” or an “F.” Only a quarter of physicians graded it as either an “A” or a “B.” Count me among the discontented. Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients. It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients’ care. This is the heart and soul of medicine, as I have learned in in my 33 years as a practicing physician. The doctor-patient relationship is critical for positive health outcomes because it allows both parties to work together to identify and ultimately treat medical problems. Simply put, a relationship of trust and continuity is essential to our professional mission."

Obamacare cancellations, again: Column

Tim Phillips
USA Today
Sun, 2014-10-19
"Last fall, millions of Americans breathed a sigh of relief when Obamacare didn't cancel their health care plans. Now they're holding their breath once again. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will soon receive cancellation letters affecting their 2015 health care plans — and that number may quickly rise into the millions. This wave of cancellations will fall into two categories. The first group hit will be in the individual market, the same group that suffered through at least 6.3 million cancellation letters last year. They will almost certainly be joined by millions of people in the small-employer market, which has 40 million plans and will be under Obamacare's control starting next year."

4 Rules for Replacing Obamacare

James Capretta and Lanhee Chen
Poilitico
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Republicans are in a strong position as the midterm election approaches. They are nearly certain to retain control of the House of Representatives in the next Congress and may pick up a few seats to add to their majority. They are also poised to make gains in the Senate, perhaps even adding the six seats necessary to take control of the upper chamber—and maybe more. The mere possibility of full Republican control of Congress in 2015 is leading some to wonder what Republicans would do if they found themselves in such a position come January."

Big jump for PreferredOne premiums

Christopher Snowbeck, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Sticker shock awaits thousands of people with health coverage through PreferredOne, the top seller on the MNsure exchange during its first year. The Golden Valley-based insurer said Wednesday that its individual market subscribers will see an average premium increase next year of 63 percent due to high claims costs. “Given the volatility of the individual marketplace due to the first year of the [federal health law], this increase is a significant step at stabilizing our rates and plans for the years to come,” the company said in a statement."

Sorry, pundits: Obamacare is still a major midterm issue

Noah Rothman
Hot Air
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Depending on the source, the Affordable Care Act’s fading from the front burner of American political discourse with just weeks to go before the midterm elections is either a lamentable condition or one to celebrate. Analysts on both the left and the right, however, agree that Obamacare is not the pressing issue that the pundits predicted it would be just a few short months ago. “[T]here is as much ‘good’ news about the PPACA out there for Democrats to point to as there is ‘bad’ news for Republicans to point to so, in some sense, it ends up becoming a wash and neither party can really benefit from the issue,” Christian Science Monitor contributor Doug Mataconis submitted in September in an effort to explain why Obamacare has not proven to be the motivating force many assumed it would be."

Health Data Thefts a Continuing Problem

Andy Miller, Georgia Health News
Fri, 2014-10-17
"A state agency says Georgia consumers’ personal data has not been compromised so far in the wake of a theft of a laptop computer that contained some people’s health information. The computer was stolen from the vehicle of an employee of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities who was attending a Clayton County conference in August. The laptop contained health information on 3,397 individuals who receive services from the agency. A majority of these patients get services in the Columbus region, DBHDD said."

Fact Checker: Obama’s claim that Obamacare has helped produce a ‘$1,800 tax cut’

Glenn Kessler
Washington Post
Fri, 2014-10-17
"“If we hadn’t taken this on, and [health insurance] premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are. Now, most people don’t notice it, but that’s $1,800 you don’t have to pay out of your pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That’s like a $1,800 tax cut.” –President Obama, remarks on the economy, Northwestern University, Oct. 2, 2014 Remember that 2008 campaign promise touted by then-candidate Obama — that his health care law would reduce the cost of premiums by $2,500 by 2014? As we have noted, he was quickly called out by fact checkers for making a dubious claim based on shaky assumptions."

Cost, confusion stall hunt for insurance

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, Health News Colorado
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Cost and confusion prevented many uninsured people from signing up for health coverage this year in Colorado, according to two new reports. A Rand study, Barriers to Enrollment in Health Coverage in Colorado, found that some consumers didn’t want to sign up because they opposed the individual mandate. Others were frustrated that they first had to apply for Medicaid in a cumbersome process. Still others found Colorado’s exchange website confusing. And many people said costs for insurance and co-pays seemed too high."

More than 12,000 Oregonians could owe at tax time under Cover Oregon subsidy errors

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian
Fri, 2014-10-17
"More than 12,000 people who purchased policies through Cover Oregon could owe a combined $1.12 million at tax time because of errors in subsidized premiums issued by the health insurance exchange. The vast majority of people affected are expected to owe no more than $10 per month that their policy was in effect. That figure is not final, however, because a $10,000 consultant's study intended to settle the question did not succeed. The exchange is planning to commission a second, more in-depth study."

Dem push for health law rooted in demographics

Steve Ohlemacher, Associated Press
Kansas City Star
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Why do Democrats and Republicans view this law so differently? Ideology plays a big role. Democrats are generally more willing than Republicans to look to government to help address people's problems. Demographics shape the debate, too. If a community has a large concentration of people without health insurance, there is a good chance it is represented by a Democrat in Congress. Of the 50 congressional districts with the most uninsured people, all but nine are represented by Democrats."

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