A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Business Impact"

Latest Official Figures Show The Obamacare Exchange Performance Was Worse Than We Thought

Chris Conover
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"The Obama administration has admitted to erroneously inflating the count of Exchange enrollees by incorrectly including 380,000 dental subscribers. Instead of 7.1 paid enrollments in the Exchanges as of mid-October, the correct figure should have been only 6.7 million. For the same reason, the reported number of paid enrollments in August should have been only 6.9 million rather than the 7.3 million figure originally reported. It’s a bit disappointing that this goof might never have been discovered but for the investigative efforts of Republican staffers for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data that took weeks of negotiations to secure from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That said, it’s encouraging to see DHHS Secretary Burwell take the position “The mistake we made is unacceptable. I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.”"

ObamaCare architect Gruber set to testify at December House hearing

Fox News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Jonathan Gruber, the controversial MIT professor and ObamaCare architect caught on video calling the American people stupid multiple times, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month on the lack of transparency surrounding the Affordable Care Act. In a letter to Gruber, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House committee, asked him and Marilyn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service administrator, to appear and answer questions on repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions involving the Affordable Care Act. The hearing will be held Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m."

Obama Officials Seek To Clarify Abortion Coverage Rules

Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"The Obama administration is seeking to clarify rules for the coverage of elective abortion in health insurance exchanges. That is the issue that almost scuttled the Affordable Care Act before it became law. A complicated compromise that got the final few anti-abortion Democrats to agree to vote for the measure in 2010 required every exchange to include health plans that do not cover abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the pregnant woman. Plans that do offer abortion other than in those cases are required to segregate funds and bill for that abortion coverage separately."

Alaska Doctors Overwhelmed By New Federal Rules

Annie Fiedt, Alaska Public Radio
Mon, 2014-11-24
"Dr. Oliver Korshin, a 71-year-old ophthalmologist in Anchorage, is not happy about the federal government’s plan to have all physicians use electronic medical records or face a Medicare penalty. A few months ago when he applied for an exemption to the latest requirement, he had to pick an exemption category that fit. “The only one that possibly applied to me was disaster,” Korshin says. “So I picked disaster and I described my disaster as old age and I submitted as my supporting document a copy of my passport.”"

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."

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