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Issue: "Business Impact"

HHS-Funded Study: Obamacare Will Suffer ‘Death Spiral’ If Subsidies Fail

Sarah Hurtubise, Daily Caller
Tue, 2014-10-21
"The Obama administration has funded a new study by top consulting firm RAND Health that startlingly finds that if taxpayer subsidies are eliminated, Obamacare exchanges will fall into a “death spiral.” The study comes in the wake of a number of lawsuits which are challenging the Obama administration’s implementation of Obamacare subsidies. Three lawsuits have made it to U.S. Circuit Courts, just one step from the Supreme Court, arguing that the text of the Affordable Care Act allows premium subsidies for state-run exchanges only. (RELATED: Second Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies In Federal Exchanges)"

A recent poll shows that most doctors give Obamacare low grades – but should this influence voters’ evaluation of the program?

Ilya Somin
Washington Post
Tue, 2014-10-21
"A recent survey of doctors by the Physicians Foundation finds that most give low grades to Obamacare. Some 46% of the doctors polled gave Obamacare a grade of “D” or “F” and 29% gave it a “C.” Only 25 percent give it an “A” or a “B,” including just 4% who gave it the highest grade. It’s possible that some of the doctors who chose C really meant to say that it was at least reasonably good. But in modern America, thanks to grade inflation, a C is generally considered a very bad grade. Thus, it seems likely that a large majority of doctors have strongly negative view of the program."

More Plans Setting Spending Limits For Some Medical Services

Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News
Tue, 2014-10-21
"Aiming to contain health care costs, a growing number of employers and insurers are adopting a strategy that limits how much they’ll pay for certain medical services such as knee replacements, lab tests and complex imaging. A recent study found that savings from such moves may be modest, however, and some experts question whether “reference pricing,” as it’s called, is good for consumers. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which administers the health insurance benefits for 1.4 million state workers, retirees and their families, has one of the more established reference pricing systems. More than three years ago, the agency began using reference pricing for elective knee and hip replacements, two common procedures for which hospital prices varied widely without discernible differences in quality, says Ann Boynton, CalPERS’ deputy executive officer for Benefit Programs Policy and Planning."

Ask Your Doctor About Obama's Affordable Care Act

Jason Fodeman
Investors.com
Mon, 2014-10-20
"You shouldn't judge the Affordable Care Act based on headlines or by listening to politicians or talking heads. I tried for a while, but only heard wildly conflicting stories that seemed to have little basis in reality. Instead, you should ask someone who actually deals with the law on a daily basis — a doctor, for instance. The Physicians Foundation did exactly that in its "2014 Survey of American Physicians," which was released last month. The survey, which reached over 80% of doctors in the U.S. and elicited responses from some 20,000, is doctors' collective report card on the Affordable Care Act's first four years. The grades aren't good. Only 25% of doctors give it an "A" or a "B" grade. Nearly half ( 46%) give it a "D" or an "F""

Why doctors give Obamacare a failing grade

Jeffrey Singer
The Hill
Sun, 2014-10-19
"The Physicians Foundation made shockwaves last month when it released its 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians. The survey’s top-line finding: Of the 20,000 doctors surveyed, almost 50 percent stated that Obamacare deserves either a “D” or an “F.” Only a quarter of physicians graded it as either an “A” or a “B.” Count me among the discontented. Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients. It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients’ care. This is the heart and soul of medicine, as I have learned in in my 33 years as a practicing physician. The doctor-patient relationship is critical for positive health outcomes because it allows both parties to work together to identify and ultimately treat medical problems. Simply put, a relationship of trust and continuity is essential to our professional mission."

Obamacare cancellations, again: Column

Tim Phillips
USA Today
Sun, 2014-10-19
"Last fall, millions of Americans breathed a sigh of relief when Obamacare didn't cancel their health care plans. Now they're holding their breath once again. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will soon receive cancellation letters affecting their 2015 health care plans — and that number may quickly rise into the millions. This wave of cancellations will fall into two categories. The first group hit will be in the individual market, the same group that suffered through at least 6.3 million cancellation letters last year. They will almost certainly be joined by millions of people in the small-employer market, which has 40 million plans and will be under Obamacare's control starting next year."

Will Obamacare's State Exchanges Be Ready for Year 2?

Briana Ehley
Fiscal Times
Thu, 2014-10-16
"With just one month to go until the start of Obamacare’s second open enrollment period, state and federal officials are being cautiously optimistic about their health exchange websites—assuring the public that there won’t be a repeat of last year’s technological nightmare.Speaking to health reporters last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell touted the newly revamped Healthcare.gov as a vast improvement over last year’s website—which was plagued with technical glitches.Related: Millions Wasted on Broken Obamacare State WebsitesBut when asked about how some of state exchanges that had trouble last year are shaping up, Burwell hesitated and said HHS is monitoring them on a state-by-state basis."

Administration Signals Doubts About Calculator Permitting Plans Without Hospital Benefits

Jay Hancock
Kaiser Health News
Thu, 2014-10-16
"Insurance consultants were shocked recently to learn that Obama administration rules allow large companies to offer 2015 worker health plans that don’t include hospital benefits. Now the administration is concerned too. Treasury Department officials are preparing to reverse course on an official calculator that permits plans without hospital coverage to pass the health law’s strictest standard for large employers, said industry lawyers who have spoken to them. These sources expect the administration to disallow such coverage by the end of the year."

Obamacare has victimized many, helped few

Jim Brown, NFIB
The Tennesseean
Thu, 2014-10-16
"It’s been more than four, long painful years since the Affordable Care Act became law. When it passed, many believed small-business owners and their employees would suffer under its weight. That’s why my organization, the National Federation of Independent Business, tried to stop it by suing the federal government. Since the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in 2012 to uphold Obamacare, the results for small business continue to be alarmingly bad or disastrous."

Obama Tells GM His Healthcare Costs Are Rising Because He’s Not ‘Shopping’ Correctly

Washington Free Beacon
Wed, 2014-10-15
"President Obama said healthcare costs are rising for Indiana steel workers because employers are not “shopping” correctly for insurance plans during an event at Millennium Steel Service in Princeton, Ind., on Friday. “We are seeing almost a double-digit increase in health-care costs every year,” General Manager Mihir Paranjape said. “Do you think that trend is going to go down, and what can we do to control that trend?” “That’s really interesting, you’re gonna have to talk to Henry,” Obama said, referring to the company’s CEO, Henry Jackson. “The question is whether you guys are shopping effectively enough.” Obama said healthcare premiums were rising at the slowest rate in 50 years and that the higher-ups at Millennium Steel were simply not aware of the options they have in the healthcare market to ensure they are getting the best deal."

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