Arkansas Private Option’s Latest Boondoggle: “Health Independence Accounts” Increase Dependence and Increase Costs

August 12, 2014

Like so many of the promises ObamaCare expansion advocates have made, however, this promise turned out to be false.Not only did the Private Option lack any kind of meaningful “skin in the game” requirements, it actually reduced cost-sharing to below what Medicaid allows.It’s these cost-sharing provisions, which have enrollees pay a portion of their own health care costs, which can incentivize enrollees to be more responsible health care consumers. Yet more than 80 percent of Private Option enrollees currently have no cost sharing whatsoever.

via Arkansas Private Option’s Latest Boondoggle: “Health Independence Accounts” Increase Dependence and Increase Costs.


A First Look at Enrollment Under Obamacare | National Review Online

July 29, 2014

this first tranche of data is highly revealing. Drew and I present the numbers and analyze them in more detail in our new report, but here are three key takeaways from the data for the six-month period of October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014:

  • Net enrollment in the individual-coverage market grew by 2,236,942 individuals, while net enrollment in employer group coverage declined by 1,716,540 individuals.
  • The decline in employer-sponsored coverage offset 77 percent of the gain in individual-market coverage, for a net increase in private-market coverage of only 520,000 individuals during the period.
  • Medicaid and CHIP enrollment reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services CMS show that enrollment in those programs increased by about 5 million individuals during the same six-month period, with 87 percent of those gains occurring in the 26 states plus the District of Columbia that elected to adopt Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to able-bodied adults.

via A First Look at Enrollment Under Obamacare | National Review Online.


Arkansas’s Alternative to Medicaid Expansion Raises Important Questions about How HHS Will Implement New ACA Waiver Authority in 2017

July 21, 2014

This essay presents Arkansas’s alternative to Medicaid expansion as a case study motivating John McDonough’s assessment of the recommendations states may want to make to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the implementation of statewide Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–alternative waivers scheduled to begin in 2017. Arkansas’s private option uses federal funds to purchase marketplace silver level qualified health plans for low-income, low-risk participants, while “medically frail” adults are covered through Medicaid. By improving the size and risk profile of Arkansas’s health insurance marketplace, the private option will also encourage entry of and competition among private carriers. If it succeeds in keeping insurance premiums below the level they would otherwise be in the marketplace, Arkansas’s private option could reduce subsidy costs for the federal government. Under the broadened scope of section 1332 waivers, states will be able to capture such savings and use them to support innovation across both Medicaid-funded and Treasury-subsidized programs and populations.Freely available online through the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law open access option.

via Arkansas’s Alternative to Medicaid Expansion Raises Important Questions about How HHS Will Implement New ACA Waiver Authority in 2017.


A Health Reform Framework: Breaking Out Of The Medicaid Model – Health Affairs Blog

July 15, 2014

A primary aim of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ACA is to expand insurance coverage, especially among households with lower incomes. The Congressional Budget Office CBO projects that about one-third of the additional insurance coverage expected to occur because of the law will come from expansion of the existing, unreformed Medicaid program. The rest of the coverage expansion will come from enrolling millions of people into subsidized insurance offerings on the ACA exchanges — offerings that have strong similarities to Medicaid insurance.Unfortunately, ample evidence demonstrates that this kind of insurance model leaves the poor and lower-income households with inadequate access to health care. The networks of physicians and hospitals willing to serve large numbers of Medicaid patients have been very constrained for many years, meaning access problems will only worsen when more people enroll and begin using the same overburdened networks of clinics and physician practices.It does not have to be this way. It is possible to expand insurance coverage for the poor and lower-income households without reliance on the flawed Medicaid insurance model. Opponents of the ACA should embrace plans to replace the current law with reforms that would give the poor real choices among a variety of competing insurance offerings, including the same insurance plans that middle-class families enroll in today. Specifically, we propose a three-part plan that includes a flexible, uniform tax credit for all those who lack employer-based coverage; deregulation of Medicaid; and improved safety-net primary and preventive care.

via A Health Reform Framework: Breaking Out Of The Medicaid Model – Health Affairs Blog.


The real Medicaid problem – The Washington Post

July 14, 2014

The White House recently put out a 40-page report arguing that the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act ACA or “Obamacare” are hurting their poor and themselves. It’s an easy case to make, but it’s incomplete and misleading. The further truth is that Medicaid also threatens to crowd out spending for many traditional state and local functions: schools, police, roads, libraries and more.

via The real Medicaid problem – The Washington Post.


Healthcare Reform Update: Can Medicaid beneficiaries find a doctor? The CMS wants to know | Modern Healthcare

July 9, 2014

The CMS is planning to conduct its first nationwide research effort to answer the question of whether adult Medicaid beneficiaries can find providers, and if factors such as being in managed Medicaid versus a fee-for-service offering aid or hurt the search. What it’s likely to find, according to interviews conducted with state Medicaid officials and medical society officials in 20 states, is a mixed picture overshadowed by general concerns that reimbursement rates remain too low to entice many doctors to accept new Medicaid patients.

Many states already conduct such surveys annually, but the CMS’ aim is to standardize the collection and analysis of data from state to state. The survey will begin this fall, with the goal of reaching roughly 29,000 adult Medicaid enrollees from each state for a total sample size of approximately 1.5 million, according to a bulletin circulated to state officials.

via Healthcare Reform Update: Can Medicaid beneficiaries find a doctor? The CMS wants to know | Modern Healthcare.


Sebelius’s claim that Obamacare has brought ‘affordable coverage’ to 22 million people – The Washington Post

July 2, 2014

Given that Sebelius is touting “affordable coverage,” she should stick to citing the figures for the central parts of Obamacare — insurance bought on the exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid. Those are also relatively hard numbers, whereas the figures for the young adults and off-exchange plans are much fuzzier.Since the administration actually exceeded the goal it had set for itself for exchange sign-ups, there’s really little reason to further pump up the number.Two Pinocchios

via Sebelius’s claim that Obamacare has brought ‘affordable coverage’ to 22 million people – The Washington Post.


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