A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Premiums/Costs"

Obamacare: Most-Used Plans Face Double-Digit Average Premium Increases

Guy Benson
Townhall
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Please consider Friday's 'Obamacare losing streak' post officially updated. Behold, the 'Affordable' Care Act at work. Congratulations, "beneficiaries" (via The Hill): The average price of the most popular ObamaCare health insurance plans rose 10 percent for 2015, according to a new study of premium figures published Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)...Not only are premiums increasing, but if consumers do not pick a different plan, they could pay more due to annual changes in how subsidies are calculated."

In Year Two, Obamacare’s Off to Another Bad Start

Bob Moffit and Kenneth Manyari Magro
The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-11-26
"The implementation of the Affordable Care Act seems like an unending nightmare. Desperate for some good news, the White House is justly relieved and celebrating the fact that the government website is not plagued with last year’s disasters. But other big challenges loom, including the administration of the law’s hideously complex insurance subsidy system, as well as coverage and cost problems."

Puckett’s Senate exit undid McAuliffe’s secret plan for Medicaid expansion

Laura Vozzella
Washington Post
Mon, 2014-11-24
"RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had run out of options to pull off his marquee campaign promise to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Even a risky plan to circumvent the legislature had fallen apart. That’s when the governor, his top priority defeated, picked up the phone and called the man he blamed for the catastrophe. “Hey, Phil? Terry McAuliffe,” the governor said in a seething voice message to Phillip P. Puckett, a Southwest Virginia Democrat who had quit the state Senate days earlier, throwing control of it to the GOP. “I want you to know we just lost the vote, 20 to 19, in the Senate. Medicaid is done. I hope you sleep easy tonight, buddy.”"

HHS Formally Moves To Close Loophole Allowing Plans Without Hospital Benefits

Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News
Mon, 2014-11-24
"The Obama administration took another step to close what many see as a health-law loophole that allows large employers to offer medical plans without hospital coverage and bars their workers from subsidies to buy their own insurance. “It has come to our attention that certain group health plan designs that provide no coverage of inpatient hospital services are being promoted,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in proposed rules issued late Friday."

Obamacare Users Would Move to Low-Cost Plans Under U.S. Proposal

Crayton Harrison, Bloomberg
Mon, 2014-11-24
"Obamacare customers who choose to re-enroll in insurance plans would automatically default to cheaper coverage during sign-up periods, protecting them from price increases, under rules proposed by the U.S. government."

In Obamacare's Wake, New York's Tale of Two Medicaid Programs

Yevgeniy Feyman and Paul Howard
Forbes
Sun, 2014-11-23
"With round two of Obamacare enrollment here, New York’s policymakers should take stock of where the Empire State is and where it’s heading. Take the state’s Medicaid program. Post-Obamacare, Medicaid enrollment has grown by over 7 percent to 6.1 million people: nearly 1 in 3 New Yorkers now receive coverage through the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor. New York’s Medicaid spending, among the highest in the country, makes up about 30 percent of the state budget."

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."

Explainer: What Gruber meant when he said ‘if CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies’

Glenn Kessler
Washington Post
Thu, 2014-11-20
"“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” – MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, captured on videotape What did Gruber mean when he uttered this words in a now-infamous video that has inflamed hostility to the Affordable Care Act?

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."

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