A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Business Impact"

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."

'Stupidity' remark leads to free health site work

Dave Gram, Associated Press
Thu, 2014-11-20
"MONTPELIER, Vt. An economist who said "the stupidity of the American voter" helped pass the complex federal health care law has agreed to finish his work on Vermont's health insurance systems for free, a top state official said Wednesday. But the state will continue to pay assistants working with Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who advised the Obama administration as it crafted the Affordable Care Act."

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."

Health law provision prompts Dallas to lay off police retirees

Tristan Hallman and Tom Benning, Dallas Morning News
Thu, 2014-11-20
"Retired Dallas police Sgt. Tom Wafer recently received a call from a commander that “shocked the fool” out of him: The city can’t let him or any of his fellow retirees watch police surveillance camera feeds anymore when the year is over because of an obscure provision of the Affordable Care Act. City officials say they had to cut Wafer, 74, along with two dozen other retired officers because the health care law put them in a costly bind. The layoffs also affect a few other city agencies but hit the Dallas Police Department hardest."

Watch Architect Jonathan Gruber Run Away When Confronted About Lying to Americans About Obamacare

Katie Pavlich, Townhall
Wed, 2014-11-19
"Over the past few years Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has been candid about how the Obama administration lied to misled "stupid" Americans in order to get healthcare legislation passed. We've seen countless videos that show Gruber talking about his close relationship with President Obama, how seniors are "terrible" at picking healthcare plans, describing how taxes were "mislabed" in order to dupe Americans into believing Obamacare wasn't a tax increase, how a lack of transparency was "critical" to passing Obamacare, how the redistribution of wealth from healthy to sick was covered up, etc. But when the folks over at Hannity confronted Gruber this week about his comments, he didn't have much to say other than "no comment.""

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."

Gruber strikes again: Obama knew “the American public doesn’t actually care that much about the uninsured”

Zachary Goldfarb, Washington Post
Thu, 2014-11-13
"CNN has unearthed a new Jonathan Gruber video speaking undiplomatically about the White House's approach to passage of the health care law in 2010. In this video, Gruber says bluntly what many observers noticed at the time: President Obama focused on how the Affordable Care Act would bring down the cost of health care, not on the moral imperative of extending health insurance to millions of low- and moderate-income Americans. "Barack Obama's not a stupid man, okay? He knew when he was running for president that quite frankly the American public doesn't actually care that much about the uninsured. ... What the American public cares about is costs. And that's why even though the bill that they made is 90 percent health insurance coverage and 10 percent about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control. How it's going to lower the cost of health care, that's all they talk about.""

Obamacare 2015: Higher costs, higher penalties

Aimee Picchi, CBS
Wed, 2014-11-12
"With the Affordable Care Act to start enrollment for its second year on Nov. 15, some unpleasant surprises may be in store for some. That's because a number of low-priced Obamacare plans will raise their rates in 2015, making those options less affordable. On top of that, penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families' pocketbooks. "The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage," said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. "This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.""

Consumer Guide To The Supreme Court’s Action On ACA Subsidy Issue

Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-11-12
"The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers."

Analysis of 2015 Premium Changes in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces

Kaiser Family Foundation
Wed, 2014-11-12
"With the second open enrollment period of the health insurance marketplaces approaching, this analysis provides an initial look at premium changes for marketplace plans for individuals in 15 states and the District of Columbia that have publicly released comprehensive data on rates or rate filings for all insurers. The analysis examines premium changes for the lowest-cost bronze plan and the two lowest-cost silver plans in 16 major cities. The second-lowest cost silver plan in each state is of particular interest as it acts as a benchmark that helps determine how much assistance eligible individuals can receive in the form of federal tax credits. The findings show that in general, individuals will pay slightly less to enroll in the second-lowest cost plan in 2015 than they did in 2014, prior to the application of tax credits."

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