A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Premiums/Costs"

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."

ObamaCare's whopping Cadillac tax under fire

Jim Angle
Fox News
Thu, 2014-11-20
"Of all the taxes in ObamaCare, none is more onerous than the whopping 40 percent Cadillac tax on the more generous employer-provided health care plans, which often are union plans. The now-famous former outside adviser on ObamaCare, Jonathan Gruber of MIT, spoke about the Cadillac tax before an audience at the Pioneer Institute in 2011, saying, "It turns out politically, it's really hard to get rid of. And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we all know it's a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.""

'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."

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."

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