April 15, 2014
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have updated their estimates of the budgetary effects of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that relate to health insurance coverage. The new estimates, which are included in CBO’s latest baseline projections, reflect CBO’s most recent economic forecast, account for administrative actions taken and regulations issued through March 2014, and incorporate new data and various modeling updates.
March 7, 2014
The state’s Republican-dominated Senate voted Thursday to expand health care coverage to an estimated 50,000 adults using Medicaid funding made available through the Affordable Care Act.
The bill moves to the House, which has passed similar legislation. Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, praised the bill, calling it “a New Hampshire-specific solution to making sure that we can have health care coverage for working men and women throughout the state who haven’t had it before.”
New Hampshire would join a small group of states, including Arkansas and Iowa, that have opted to expand health care to low-income adults with programs that focus not on expanding their existing Medicaid programs, as 25 other states and Washington, D.C., have done, but on using federal Medicaid money to buy private health insurance.
via New Hampshire Senate Votes to Expand Health Insurance Coverage – NYTimes.com.
March 5, 2014
This chart shows that at least 4.7 million Americans received the cancellation notices. It also provides details about what decision has been made in each state since Obama’s announcement (some states had previously decided to allow insurers to continue older policies for a limited time).
It reflects reporting by AP staffers in every state and the District of Columbia and does not include policy cancelations in the small-business insurance market (December 26, 2013).
via Policy notifications and current status, by state – Yahoo News.
February 23, 2014
Though I’m no expert on ObamaCare (at 10,000 pages, who could be?), I understand that the intention—or at least the rhetorical justification—of this legislation was to provide coverage for those who didn’t have it. But there is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother’s old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death. She awaits an appeal with her insurer.
Will this injustice be remedied, for her and for millions of others? Or is my mother to die because she can no longer afford the treatment that keeps her alive?
via Stephen Blackwood: ObamaCare and My Mother’s Cancer Medicine – WSJ.com.
February 4, 2014
In more and more countries, ratings of medicines have become part of the already lengthy process that stands between new treatments and the patients who might be helped. Some ratings take the form of medical-benefit or innovation scales that try to predict the contributions of new medicines to health outcomes, often by comparing new and existing treatments.
In France, for example, the so-called Medicines Evaluation Commission uses a five-point scale ranging from “no improvement” to “major innovation” to rank new medicines against treatments already in use. A recent study of all 10 cancer medicines launched between 2003 and 2005 found that not a single one received a “major innovation” rating from French authorities—though several went on to become widely recognized standards of care.
Other systems—such as England’s—place the new medicines on cost-benefit curves, declaring whether or not they have met certain thresholds before the National Health Service will pay for them. These efforts are known as Health Technology Assessment or comparative-effectiveness research, or CER. Thanks to ObamaCare, CER now is heavily funded in the U.S. It is intended to evaluate established treatments but could evolve quickly into a gate-keeping system….
These efforts have two critical problems. First, it is almost impossible to predict the ultimate value of new treatments before they have been used widely in the actual practice of medicine. Second, expectations about outcomes that dismiss what appear to be small improvements ignore the very nature of progress against cancer. Science, medicine and public-health efforts have moved forward against cancer not in giant leaps but incrementally.
via John C. Lechleiter: How to Win the Super Bowl Against Cancer – WSJ.com.
January 1, 2014
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor late Tuesday ordered a temporary halt to the Obama administration\’s enforcement of the federal health-care law\’s contraception requirements in a case brought by nonprofit Roman Catholic homes for the aged.
The move brings the high court into another dispute involving the 2010 Affordable Care Act\’s requirement that employers include free contraception in health plans offered to employees….
Companies whose owners say their religious beliefs would be violated if they were forced to provide contraception coverage have challenged the law, and lower courts reached conflicting rulings. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear two of the cases involving for-profit companies this spring, with a ruling expected by June.
via Justice Delays Health Law’s Birth-Control Mandate – WSJ.com.
December 3, 2013
Certain health plans sponsored by labor unions would be exempted from new fees imposed on insurance companies and on many self-insured group health plans.
Labor unions have been lobbying for such an exemption, saying the fees could be “highly disruptive” to Taft-Hartley plans administered jointly by labor and management representatives in construction, entertainment and other industries.
But Republicans denounced the administration proposal. Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said it would provide “special treatment to President Obama’s political allies.”
via Insurers Are Offered Assistance for Losses – NYTimes.com.
November 24, 2013
Research published in the journal Health Affairs showed that small businesses with 10 to 24 employees have paid 10 percent more than large ones for the same health care coverage, and that companies with fewer than 10 employees have paid 18 percent more until now. Small businesses’ plans were also more vulnerable to rate increases; as a result, they often provided less coverage, if they offered it at all, resulting in a competitive disadvantage in hiring.
“Assuming we get the website working, it’s going to be the biggest step we’ve had in a long time in the U.S. in terms of changing the structure of the economy,” says Craig Garthwaite, assistant professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Mr. Garthwaite is a co-author of one of two recent studies that conclude that the Affordable Care Act could spur entrepreneurship by easing job lock — where people stay in a job mainly for the health insurance….
Small-business owners are “very confused and they’re very concerned,” Mr. Sloane says. And those feelings are only intensifying amid news reports that just a tiny number of Americans have enrolled in the exchange plans and amid questions about the government’s ability to keep enrollees’ personal information secure. “The negative stigma around the Affordable Care Act is building steam,” he says.
via In the Health Law, an Open Door for Entrepreneurs – NYTimes.com.
November 16, 2013
CBO and JCT’s projections for 2023 for people under age 65 relative to prior law:
—About 25 million more people will have health insurance, as the number of uninsured will fall from 56 million to 31 million.
—Of those 31 million:
- About 30% will be unauthorized immigrants and thereby ineligible for almost all Medicaid benefits and exchange subsidies;
- About 20% will be eligible for Medicaid but choose not to enroll;
- About 5% will not be eligible for Medicaid because their state chose not to expand coverage; and
- About 45% will have access to insurance through an employer or could buy it through an exchange or directly from an insurer.
November 13, 2013
This Milliman report explains in detail differences between ACA risk adjuster and Medicare Part D’s and showing how the former will tend to privilege larger health plans.