November 29, 2013
only about 57 percent of doctors in California accept new Medicaid patients, according to a study published last year in the journal Health Affairs — the second-lowest rate in the nation after New Jersey. Payment rates for Medicaid, known in California as Medi-Cal, are also low here compared with most states, and are being cut by an additional 10 percent in some cases just as the expansion begins.
“The symbolism is horrible,” said Lisa Folberg, a vice president of the California Medical Association.
The health care law seeks to diminish any access problem by allowing for a two-year increase in the Medicaid payment rate for primary care doctors, set to expire at the end of 2014. The average increase is 73 percent, bringing Medicaid rates to the level of Medicare rates for these doctors.
But states have been slow to put the pay increase into effect, experts say, and because of the delay and the fact that the increase is temporary, fewer doctors than hoped have joined the ranks of those accepting Medicaid patients.
via Medicaid Growth Could Aggravate Doctor Shortage – NYTimes.com.
November 27, 2013
Obamacare applicants are finding their premiums are tripling, their favorite doctors aren\’t available, and many prestigious hospitals offering specialized care are off-limits to them, according to a Washington Examiner survey of health insurance agents and brokers across the country.
via Accountability | Watchdog | Washington Examiner.
November 26, 2013
In fact, both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Congressional Budget Office projected in 2010 that millions would be pushed off Medicare Advantage entirely and back into traditional Medicare over ObamaCare\’s first 10 years.
Recognizing the political risk of deep cuts to a popular program in an election year, the administration created a dubious $8.3 billion \”quality improvement\” demonstration project, with the bulk of the money given to Medicare Advantage plans in 2012.
Not only did this project dwarf any previous federal demonstration project, it was so poorly designed that it was unlikely to \”produce meaningful results,\” according to a Government Accountability Office audit.
But the funds masked nearly all of ObamaCare\’s scheduled Medicare Advantage cuts for 2012, and much of cuts for this year.
In addition to plan cancellations, seniors are starting to feel the impact of these ObamaCare spending cuts via higher costs.
via Obama Breaks ‘Keep Your Doctor’ Promise With Seniors – Investors.com.
November 26, 2013
Although most Americans are now aware of the disastrous rollout of Obamacare health-insurance exchanges for privately insured people, they may not yet have noticed that Obamacare is inflicting pain on Medicare beneficiaries, too.
On November 16, the Wall Street Journal reported that UnitedHealth Group has dropped thousands of doctors in at least ten states from its Medicare Advantage networks. This is a consequence of the federal government’s cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans — by $156 billion over ten years — to fund Obamacare. Earlier this month, Evan Gahr of the Daily Caller wrote an article describing how plans nationwide are shrinking and citing a report by consultants at Avalere, which projected reduction in Medicare Advantage plans, especially in rural areas.
via Will Obamacare Finally Cause American Seniors to Turn Against Government Health Care? | The Beacon.
November 25, 2013
So, let’s summarize:
California has 5.3 million uninsured eligible to buy in the exchange with half estimated to be subsidy eligible.
California is cancelling another 1.1 million people of which Covered California has estimated 510,000 qualify for a subsidy they can only get if they go to Covered California. At least 80% need to act by December 23 to avoid losing their coverage.
The state is spending $250 million in federal money to get people signed up––dramatically more than any other state.
The Covered California goal is to sign-up 500,000 to 700,000 subsidy eligible people by March 31.
via Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review: Trying to Make Sense of the Covered California Numbers.
November 25, 2013
Millions and perhaps tens of millions more Americans will lose their coverage, despite the White House\’s one-year suspension of the mandates that force insurers to liquidate their old products. The problem is backloaded.
The wave would have been worse if not for a loophole that allowed early renewals: If people renewed their 2013 plans early, they could keep them in 2014 without complying with the mandates. Some 42 states allowed this loophole, but it only lasts through next November.
via Review & Outlook: Manias, Panics and ObamaCare Crashes – WSJ.com.
November 22, 2013
Jonathan Gruber, an Obamacare architect, claims that 80% of the population – mostly those with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage—will be “unaffected by Obamacare.” AEI economist Stan Veuger disagrees: “The only people who are certainly completely unaffected are those whose plans will be ‘grandfathered’ into Obamacare. By the administration’s own estimates, only half of those with employer plans fall into this category even now. Many non-grandfathered plans, especially in the small-group market, will be affected significantly”
via Just how many Americans will really have their health insurance affected by Obamacare? | AEIdeas.
November 22, 2013
The dilemma for Democrats: If additional states go California\’s way, more people who may have preferred their old plans will lose them, despite the president\’s promise, now withdrawn, that the health law would allow people to keep plans they liked.
Among states with Democratic governors, nine including California have said they won\’t allow carriers to renew the plans in 2014, seven have said they will and four were still deciding as of Thursday.
via Health-Law Change Spurs Tussle Among Overhaul Backers – WSJ.com.
November 21, 2013
A steady stream of contradictions keeps unfolding since Thursday, undercutting those still-fresh personal assurances from Obama. So far, these include:
The repairs to healthcare.gov look unlikely to be completed by Nov. 30.
Despite over $600-million spent on the site, its maximum capacity will still leave it incapable of handling 20% of those who try to use it. That contradicts Obama’s claim that the site would be as simple to use as buying an airplane ticket or a television online
A congressional committee was told Tuesday that 30 to 40% of the website’s technical infrastructure has yet to be built, including the parts that would make payments to insurance carriers. (This 30-40% is in addition to the massive portions needing re-coding.)
The site’s maximum capacity remains at no more than about 25,000 users
The state of Oregon has still been unable to enroll a single person online
via President’s word games on Obamacare backfire on him: They prove his lies | Washington Times Communities.
November 16, 2013
A law that applied HIPAA’s guaranteed renewability requirement to existing plans won’t be popular with the political class. The President won’t like it, since it will keep millions of paying customers out of the exchanges. Insurers won’t like it since it will require them to renew coverage that they thought they weren\’t allowed to renew and cut into the profits of plans sold through those exchanges. Many state regulators won’t like it, since it will roll back 3-1/2 years of painstaking effort to strip people of their coverage and because, like almost everything else about the health care law, it will be difficult to administer. Republicans won’t like it because it will “fix” one of the myriad problems of a law they detest.
The only people who will like it are those who matter most: people whose policies are being cancelled because of a government edict. Surely they deserve more consideration. If the White House and Congressional leaders are unwilling to step up, then perhaps there is some residue of bipartisanship that would inspire a group of Senators of both parties to unite around a legislative solution that stands a genuine chance of enactment.
Government creates many messes that it can’t clean up. This isn’t one of them. Congress and the President should work together to clean up this mess.
via Obamacare Bipartisanship: You Can’t Keep Your Coverage | Doug’s Brief Case.