A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Federal Budget/Deficit"

Obamacare: Largest NC Insurer Announces Double-Digit Premium Increases

Guy Benson, Townhall
Thu, 2014-10-23
"It's been a tough week for North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, who's clinging to a razor-thin lead in her re-election fight. She chose not to attend a 'debate' this week, ceding an hour of statewide airtime to her surging Republican opponent, Thom Tillis. Her chair sat empty throughout the forum. What didn't she want to discuss? Perhaps it was her decision to skip a key classified briefing on ISIS in favor of a New York City fundraiser. Or maybe it was the explosion of reports that her immediate family benefited directly from the "stimulus" law she voted for. It could have been President Obama's endorsement of candidates like Hagan as strong supporters of his agenda in Washington; the extent of Hagan's fealty was underscored again in yesterday's CQ analysis of 2014 voting records:"

Now There Can Be No Doubt: Obamacare Has Increased Non-Group Premiums In Nearly All States

Chris Conover
Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-23
"Remember this categorical assurance from President Obama? “We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year. .  .  . We’ll do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States” OK, it’s probably a little unfair to take some June 2008 campaign “puffery” literally–even though it was reiterated by candidate Obama’s economic policy advisor, Jason Furman in a sit-down with a New York Times reporter: “‘We think we could get to $2,500 in savings by the end of the first term, or be very close to it.” Moreover, President Obama subsequently doubled-down on his promise in July 2012, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.” Fortunately, the Washington Post fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, honestly awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”)."

Sorry, Obamacare Is Still Unfixable

Ramesh Ponnuru
Bloomberg View
Thu, 2014-10-23
"For the most part, the political debate over President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul has become a duel between vague slogans: Republicans say they want to "replace" the Affordable Care Act but generally don't say with what. Democrats say they want to "fix" it but usually don't say how. So Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Mark Begich deserve credit for advancing specific legislation to change the law. The main change they're advocating, though, is unlikely to make people any happier with the law -- and could cause new problems."

The Real Story on How Much Obamacare Increased Coverage

Ed Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski
The Daily Signal
Thu, 2014-10-23
"We now have the Medicaid and private-market health insurance enrollment data for the second quarter of 2014 needed to complete the picture of how Obamacare’s rollout affected coverage. What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured."

Reestimating Obamacare: The evidence mounts that it will increase future deficits, despite what CBO says.

James Capretta
American Action Forum
Thu, 2014-10-23
"During the long congressional debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — i.e., Obamacare — one thing was certain: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would ultimately certify that the final legislation would lower future budget deficits. It had to be that way. President Obama had made an unequivocal promise in a nationally televised address to Congress: He would not sign a bill that added “one dime” to projected federal deficits. The only way to make good on that promise was to have in hand a CBO cost estimate showing modest deficit reduction from the law’s provisions. CBO delivered what the president was looking for with its final cost estimate of the legislation in March 2010."

The $500 Billion Medicare Slowdown: A Story About Part D

Loren Adler and Adam Rosenberg
Health Affairs
Thu, 2014-10-23
"A great deal of analysis has been published on the causes of the health care spending slowdown system-wide — including in the pages of Health Affairs. Much attention in particular has focused on the remarkable slowdown in Medicare spending over the past few years, and rightfully so: Spending per beneficiary actually shrank (!) by one percent this year (or grew only one percent if one removes the effects of temporary policy changes). Yet the disproportionate role played by prescription drug spending (or Part D) has seemingly escaped notice. Despite constituting barely more than 10 percent of Medicare spending, our analysis shows that Part D has accounted for over 60 percent of the slowdown in Medicare benefits since 2011 (beyond the sequestration contained in the 2011 Budget Control Act)."

Gov. Kasich's four Obamacare tricks

Philip Klein
Washington Examiner
Wed, 2014-10-22
"Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the Republican governor and possible 2016 contender, had a dust-up this week when the Associated Press reported pro-Obamacare comments he made. In reality, he subsequently said, he was only praising the Medicaid expansion — which he’s trying to argue is totally separate. I’ve already written about why this is a dishonest distinction, but his office has decided to dig in further. In a statement released on Twitter on Tuesday, his press department attempted to trick conservatives by using several cynical strategies often employed by Republicans trying to explain their big government policies."

71% of Obamacare Signups Traced to Government’s Expansion of Medicaid

Melissa Quinn
The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-10-22
"The vast majority of Americans gaining health coverage under Obamacare actually qualified for Medicaid because of loosened eligibility —and that’s what boosted enrollment among those previously uninsured, according to a new report from The Heritage Foundation. The Obama administration has boasted that the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, would allow those previously uninsured to purchase quality, affordable health care. “The inescapable conclusion is that, when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is an expansion of Medicaid,” Heritage Foundation health policy experts Edmund F. Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski write in a research paper scheduled for release today."

Jeanne Shaheen's Dishonest Claim That Obamacare Doesn't Cut Medicare

Avik Roy
Forbes
Wed, 2014-10-22
"In last night’s U.S. Senate debate in New Hampshire between incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D.) and challenger Scott Brown (R.), Shaheen uttered a flat-out, bald-faced lie: that Obamacare doesn’t cut Medicare spending to pay for its expansion of coverage to the uninsured. It’s a talking point that a number of Democratic Senate candidates—and their enablers in the lefty blogosphere—have been clinging to. And it’s embarrassingly dishonest."

ObamaCare — Why, sure, it's 'paid for'

Bob Moffit, The Heritage Foundation
The Hill
Mon, 2014-10-20
"Republican Senate Budget Committee analysts reported last week that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a.k.a. ObamaCare — would increase the federal deficit by $131 billion over the period from 2015 to 2024. Drew Hammill, a senior aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), dismissed the report as "complete garbage." Name-calling is no substitute for analysis. The Senate budget analysts' work is fully transparent. Based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data on medical spending and labor market effects, it is quite easy to check out. In fact, the Senate Budget analysts do not question any of the CBO's assumptions concerning ObamaCare's biggest fiscal problem: massive government spending. The CBO now says that the Medicaid expansion and the new exchange subsidies will cost taxpayers $1.9 trillion by 2024. It will account for more than half the cost-growth in federal health programs by 2023."

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