A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Federal Budget/Deficit"

Open Payments Goes Live

Inside Health Policy
Tue, 2014-09-30
"CMS on Tuesday goes live with a website that discloses what drug and device companies pay physicians, and the doctor lobby already is warning reporters not to misuse the data. Also this week, America's Health Insurance Plans holds three conferences covering key health care issues, and drug-pricing policies are a hot topic with events on protected drug classes; insurance designs that encourage patients to use specialty medicines; and a briefing on the cost and value of new drugs. The American Medical Association sent reporters a guide for appropriately handling data from the Open Payments website, which Congress created under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.

Obamacare's $73 Billion Question

Megan McArdle
Bloomberg
Fri, 2014-09-26
"It’s hard to get a good accounting of what we’ve spent on the Affordable Care Act so far. The Barack Obama administration has never really tried to count the cost of all the different elements and put them in one place. The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has pretty much given up. Luckily, we have Bloomberg Government, my employer’s government intelligence service, which has thoughtfully totted up all the data it can glean from public records and come up with a figure for spending to date: $73 billion."

GAO: Where did ObamaCare’s $3.7B go?

Sarah Ferris
The Hill
Fri, 2014-09-26
"The Obama administration has spent at least $3.7 billion to build and promote online marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, but it can’t prove exactly where it all went, according to an audit released Monday. Federal investigators said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not properly track certain data that public officials need in order to determine whether the healthcare law is working. The government tracks its healthcare spending in an outdated records system that cannot easily respond to data requests such as salaries or public relations contracts in certain departments. Instead, officials rely on manually prepared spreadsheets that can take months to produce."

GOP: Obamacare ‘bending over backwards’ for illegals

S.A. Miller
Washington Times
Thu, 2014-09-25
"The Obama administration has dragged its feet on revoking Obamacare coverage for people who can’t prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency, allowing some of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. to continue enjoying taxpayer-funded benefits, a Republican senator charged Monday. “The Obama administration is bending over backwards to give Obamacare to illegal immigrants but won’t protect hardworking American citizens who are losing their health care coverage,” said Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican and an outspoken critic of President Obama’s health care law."

Health Reform’s Cost: $73 Billion and Counting

Peter Gosselin, Bloomberg
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Nearly five years after passage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a companion electronic health records (EHR) program have run a startup tab of more than $73 billion, the Bloomberg Government analysis finds. Part of that total is the cost of healthcare.gov, the flawed website and related enrollment system intended to expand U.S. health insurance coverage. BGOV’s analysis shows that costs for both healthcare.gov and the broader reform effort are far greater than anything publicly discussed. They’re also substantially greater than what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) initially estimated health reform would cost by this point, although not what the agency’s more recent piecemeal estimates suggest."

Affordable Care Act lies

Robert L. Ehrlich
Baltimore Sun
Thu, 2014-09-25
"The man-made catastrophe known as the "Affordable Care Act" and "Obamacare" still lurks. And nobody should interpret the absence of daily negative headlines as a sign the law's myriad problems have been rectified, or that there is substance to Harry Reid's claim of "untrue" horror stories following the law's implementation. So, how much damage has been inflicted now that gross ineptitude in foreign policy has replaced gross ineptitude in health care policy? Let me count the ways … and lies."

Replacing Obamacare Saves A Lot of Money

James Capretta
National Review
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Supporters of the Obama administration like to create the impression that there is no viable alternative to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare. But that is demonstrably not true. Republican senators Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, and Orrin Hatch introduced a plan earlier this year that would cover just as many people with insurance as Obamacare at a fraction of the cost. Now we have confirmation, in the form of a new cost estimate, that a similarly constructed but slightly different proposal would also cost less, while covering nearly the same number of people."

Trainwreck, Continued: Eight New Pieces of Bad Obamacare News

Guy Benson
Townhall
Thu, 2014-09-25
" Who's up for the latest batch of bad Obamacare-related news? (1) Consumers brace for the second full year of Obamacare implementation, as the average individual market premium hike clocks in at eight percent -- with some rates spiking by as much as 30 percent. (2) "Wide swings in prices," with some experiencing "double digit increases."(Remember what we were promised): Insurance executives and managers of the online marketplaces are already girding for the coming open enrollment period, saying they fear it could be even more difficult than the last. One challenge facing consumers will be wide swings in prices. Some insurers are seeking double-digit price increases…"

The "7.3 Million"

Bob Laszewski
Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review
Wed, 2014-09-24
"The administration finally released the Obamacare enrollment count this week. Like everything else about their scorekeeping we got a number. Just one number. A number that was conveniently better than we had expected. And, we got no real context for the number or any of the back-up information. I thought this quote in a Politico article was telling: The figure is complex to unravel. The number came from the health insurers, who told the Obama administration every month how many people are covered by Affordable Care Act plans. A CMS official said Thursday that in prior monthly reports, the numbers varied widely, but recently stabilized.""

How states have gamed Medicaid for hundreds of millions of dollars

Josh Hicks
Washington Post
Mon, 2014-09-22
"States have developed various ways to avoid paying their fair share of Medicaid expenses over the years, in some cases costing the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding for the program. The Department of Health and Human Services, which runs Medicaid through its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has known about the issue for more than a decade, but states still find ways to game the system. The agency’s inspector general this year listed the issue among 25 key problems the agency needs to address."

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