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.
Health insurance premiums may as much as double for some small businesses and individual buyers in the U.S. when the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions start in 2014, Aetna Inc. (AET)’s chief executive officer said.
While subsidies in the law will shield some people, other consumers who make too much for assistance are in for “premium rate shock,” Mark Bertolini, who runs the third-biggest U.S. health-insurance company, told analysts yesterday at a conference in New York. The prospect has spurred discussion of having Congress delay or phase in parts of the law, he said.
“We’ve shared it all with the people in Washington and I think it’s a big concern,” the CEO said. “We’re going to see some markets go up as much as as 100 percent.”
The United States has backed a United Nations draft resolution favoring universal healthcare coverage.
The nonbinding measure calls on U.N. member states to ensure citizens’ access to health insurance, and was approved by the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
Supporters say the draft resolution paves the way for the post-2015 development agenda to include universal health coverage.
A top Senate staffer explained (after ObamaCare passed), “This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill.” David Bowen, who helped to craft the legislation, said that Senate Democrats had planned to follow in the path of Massachusetts’ RomneyCare plan by providing insurance coverage first, “knowing that that would bring on a cost battle second.”
In fact, RomneyCare’s mandates and subsidies caused health care costs to dramatically increase in the Bay state, leading the current governor and state legislature to exert never-before-seen controls on insurers and health care providers as they also raised taxes.