A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Premiums/Costs"

Jason Millman: Where Romneycare fell short — and what that could mean for Obamacare

The Washington Post
Thu, 2015-04-02
The landmark 2006 Massachusetts health-care law that inspired the federal overhaul didn't lead to a reduction in unnecessary and costly hospitalizations, and it didn't make the health-care system more fair for minority groups, according to a new study that may hold warnings for the Affordable Care Act. Massachusetts’ uninsured rate was cut by half to 6 percent in the years immediately following the health-care law signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney. Blacks and Hispanics, who have a harder time accessing necessary medical care, experienced the largest gains in insurance coverage under the Massachusetts law, though they still were more likely to be uninsured than whites. The new study, published in the BMJ policy journal, examined the rates of hospitalizations for 12 medical conditions that health-care researchers say wouldn't normally require hospitalization if a patient has good access to primary care.

Liz Zamosky: Rising healthcare costs are pressuring patients

LA Times
Wed, 2015-04-01
Coping with ever-increasing medical bills is frustrating — and getting more so.. A recent survey by private health insurance exchange EHealth highlights the pressure Americans are feeling. It found that more than 6 in 10 people say they're more worried about the financial effect of expensive medical emergencies and paying for healthcare than about funding retirement or covering their kids' education. People who get health insurance through work and on their own have seen their costs rise dramatically over the last decade. According to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York think tank, annual increases in work-based health plan premiums rose three times faster than wages from 2003 to 2013. Out-of-pocket costs have also been climbing. "More people have deductibles than ever before," says Sara Collins, a Commonwealth Fund vice president.

Chris Jacobs: Obamacare Enrollment Split: Subsidies vs. No Subsidies

The Wall Street Journal
Tue, 2015-03-31
Two reports released in the past week demonstrate a potential bifurcation in state insurance exchanges: The insurance marketplaces appear to be attracting a disproportionate share of low-income individuals who qualify for generous federal subsidies, while middle- and higher-income filers have generally eschewed the exchanges. On Wednesday, the consulting firm Avalere Health released an analysis of exchange enrollment. As of the end of the 2015 open-enrollment season, Avalere found the exchanges had enrolled 76% of eligible individuals with incomes between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level—between $24,250 and $36,375 for a family of four. But for all income categories above 150% of poverty, exchanges have enrolled fewer than half of eligible individuals—and those percentages decline further as income rises.

Sean Higgins: Dem senators warn Obamacare rule 'particularly harmful and disruptive'

The Washington Examiner
Tue, 2015-03-24
Six Democratic senators and one independent have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to a delay a new rule that would likely force small businesses to pay more for employee health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The senators warn that if the administration goes ahead with the change it would be "particularly harmful and disruptive" to small businesses. Starting in 2016, the Obamacare change will require businesses that employ between 51-100 people to purchase insurance in what the government defines as the "small group market," rather than the market for large group plans. The senators warn that the change will inflate health care costs for those businesses. "[T]hey could experience higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage.

Greg Corombus: 5 years later, Obamacare's broken promises get worse

WND Radio
Tue, 2015-03-24
Five years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the White House claims the law is working even better than imagined, but one of its leading critics says every major promise is now proven untrue and costs will keep going higher and higher unless we change course. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, into law. It happened after a fierce debate on the House floor just a few days earlier and a controversial move by Senate Democratic leaders to pass changes by a simple majority since they did not have the votes to do it through regular order. The law took full effect in 2014, following a disastrous roll-out of the federal health-care exchange website in October 2013.

Grace-Marie Turner: For Many Americans, Opposition To ObamaCare Has Become Personal

Forbes
Tue, 2015-03-24
ObamaCare is celebrating its fifth anniversary, but few Americas are cheering. The Real Clear Politics average of the latest major opinion polls about the health law shows that 52.5% oppose it and only 42% approve. The 10.5% spread is identical to the average of polls taken when the law was signed five years ago. Approval numbers never have topped disapproval numbers since the law was enacted. It is not getting more popular and it is not settled law, as President Obama claims. President Obama is touting the increased number of people who have health insurance as a result of the law. According to Gallup, the uninsured rate among U.S. adults averaged 12.9% in the fourth quarter of last year.

Repayments and Refunds: Estimating the Effects of 2014 Premium Tax Credit Reconciliation

Kaiser Family Foundation
Tue, 2015-03-24
Half of the people who received ACA subsidies in 2014 will owe money to the government because they underestimated their incomes when applying for coverage and got too large a monthly premium credit, according to an analysis released by the Kaiser Family Foundation today. Nearly as many people — 45 percent of individuals with subsidies — overestimated incomes last year and received too small a tax credit every month, Kaiser found. Individuals at the lower-income end of this population will be more likely to owe money (54 percent) than to get any back (40 percent). They also will have lower repayment or refund amounts on average than subsidy-eligible people with higher incomes. Overall, the average repayment will be $794, while the average refund will be $773, Kaiser calculated. These findings spell trouble as many people who received subsidies might not know that they could end up owing back a portion.

Senator Marco Rubio: My three part plan for the post-ObamaCare era

Fox News
Mon, 2015-03-23
Five years ago, President Obama and Congressional Democrats disregarded both the Constitution and the opinion of the American people when they enacted ObamaCare. Since then, Americans have seen the law transition from political to personal. Many have lost access to their longtime doctor. They lost the insurance plan they were happy with. They pay higher premiums or a higher deductible. Maybe it cost them their job, maybe it cost them hours at work, or maybe they’re suffering from all of the above. As the legislation has been implemented over the last five years, the cracks in the final bill have expanded one by one into full scale crises. President Obama has attempted to patch these problems by writing new rules and regulations on the fly, often with questionable constitutionality. But soon his days of bypassing federal law and the Constitution may catch up to him, and to all of us.

Joyce M. Rosenberg: Small businesses struggle with health care law

USA Today
Mon, 2015-03-23
Complying with the health care law is costing small businesses thousands of dollars that they didn't have to spend before the new regulations went into effect. Brad Mete estimates his staffing company, Affinity Resources, will spend $100,000 this year on record-keeping and filing documents with the government. He's hired two extra staffers and is spending more on services from its human resources provider. The Affordable Care Act, which as of next Jan. 1 applies to all companies with 50 or more workers, requires owners to track staffers' hours, absences and how much they spend on health insurance. Many small businesses don't have the human resources departments or computer systems that large companies have, making it harder to handle the paperwork.

Marc Siegel: ObamaCare stinks even with subsidies

The New York Post
Tue, 2015-03-10
Last week’s Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare struck me as a bit irrelevant, and not just because the case won’t impact New York. The case is about whether federal subsidies are actually legal in states that didn’t set up their own insurance exchanges — but the truth is, ObamaCare is a bad deal even with the subsidies. Down here in the medical trenches, the harsh reality of the Affordable Care Act continues to play out.

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