Americans are living longer due to several medical advances, but unhealthy behavior and preventable illness threaten quality of life, according to United Health Foundation’s 2012 America’s Health Rankings®.
As the newest “Global Burden of Disease” report in the Lancet just acknowledged, with increasing longevity come two very expensive consequences: more people are surviving to die of chronic diseases found only in old age. They require expensive drugs, diagnostics, and hospital care; and more people are living with disorders that don’t kill them, but that produce disability and reduced health.
The federal government will likely be involved in running the ObamaCare exchange in at least 30 states, 26 of which expressly declined to establish state exchanges. One health-policy expert refers to it as an “administrative nightmare” for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Well, $4 billion has already gone out to 82,535 professionals and 1,474 hospitals, and a total of $6 billion will be doled out by 2016. But the feds’ reckless profligacy, neglect and favoritism have done more harm than good.
Don’t take my word for it. A recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General acknowledged that the incentive system is “vulnerable to paying incentives to professionals and hospitals that do not fully meet” the program’s quality assurance requirements. The federal health bureaucracy “has not implemented strong prepayment safeguards, and its ability to safeguard incentive payments postpayment is also limited,” the IG concluded.
HHS is generally issuing rules with only 30 days for public comment when the standard is 60 days and for complex regulations 90 days and more. But the larger problem is that HHS’s Federal Register filings reveal many of the rules were approved in-house and ready to go as early as May. Why the delay?
To take another example, the feds are building a data hub to determine who is eligible for Medicaid and ObamaCare’s “exchanges,” the bureaucracies that will dispense insurance subsidies and police the market. Many states have cut administrative costs by combining the application process for Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance and other antipoverty programs, but HHS’s privacy rules say the hub can only be used for ObamaCare. So HHS will force states to become less efficient and flatly refuses to reconsider.
“The big unwritten story is that for people who already have insurance through the individual market, or small companies that are buying products in the state-regulated small group market — those current policies are going to see premium increases on the order of 25 percent to 30 percent come Jan. 1, 2014,” says James Capretta, a health care expert and close student of Obamacare at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. ”
Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obamas reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.