Tag: Health Insurance

On this AEI Events Podcast, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich discuss their proposal to stabilize the individual insurance market and to make a series of other health reforms with Vox’s Sarah Kliff. The two governors stressed the importance of stabilizing the individual insurance market in the near term and maintaining a bipartisan approach. They spoke of the need for compromise as the health care debate moves forward.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed how the health insurance market works, making coverage available to everyone regardless of their health status. This year’s premium increase and the departure of insurers from some local markets have raised concerns that those markets are unstable. Uncertainty about the federal government’s commitment to promoting this market and paying insurers for new cost-sharing reductions required by the ACA has created new concerns for 2018.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have good news from Wall Street: stocks are soaring, regardless of the chaos in Washington. Transcripts of President Trump’s January phone calls to the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to the press this week, and Jim and Greg react both to Trump’s comments and the blatant leaking and publishing of classified information. And they have little sympathy for health insurance companies who are forced to bail on the Obamacare exchanges after losing huge amounts of money, but the vanishing coverage is leaving many Americans in a terrible position while Congress accomplishes nothing.

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Opioid Crisis! Alarm! Panic!

 

The opioid crisis has struck America. I know, because my health insurance has notified me of such. It’s Cigna’s “goal to offer access to coverage for safe, effective and affordable medications.” They want me to know that starting July 1st, they will restrict my coverage to amounts that they consider to be safe.

I was shocked, just shocked, to see that “accidental opioid overdoses reportedly kill more people than car accidents.”

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It’s Time to Uncouple Health Insurance from Employment

 

It’s a little-known fact in the great outside world — although probably widely known among Ricochet readers — that employer-paid health insurance is an artifact of the Roosevelt administration.

When employers were prevented by law from raising their employees’ salaries, they compensated by offering benefits, such as health insurance, to make it more desirable to stay on as employees.

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This Isn’t the Obamacare Repeal You’re Looking for

 

After years of dawdling, we finally have an “official” rough draft by Republican House leaders for repealing and replacing Obamacare. I thought I’d share my take (I work in regulatory affairs for the pharmaceutical industry) — especially since there seemed to be a fair deal of uncertainty among Ricochet members about what this bill really means. Instead of getting into too many nitty gritty details, I’ll use some broad brushstrokes to illustrate my opinion.

As the title of this post says, this bill is definitely not what most conservatives probably have in mind when they imagine “repeal” of Obamacare. Now technically, that was never the intention: because of the filibuster, Congressional Republicans always planned on using the reconciliation process to eliminate specific crucial, budget-related provisions of Obamacare. And since the law resembles something between a Jenga tower and a Rube Goldberg machine, this strategy should eliminate enough key pillars to render the rest of the law unsustainable or irrelevant. So did Congress succeed?

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“It doesn’t matter what your card says. We’re not taking patients.” Or the Joys of Obamacare, Part 320,349

 

Today, I finally decided I was low enough on my standard medications for my chronic illnesses that I would finally contact that new doctor I signed up for in August. It didn’t take effect until September 1st. See, I had to fire my last internist. After a (literal) 5 minute appointment with the man for my yearly evaluation, I was told that he was very busy, one of my other specialists could do my labs and investigate any further issues (that being every issue, since he did nothing). That was the extent of the appointment. After he rushed out, I was nearly in tears which does take quite a lot for me these days.

 

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Rational Responses to an Irrational System

 

Kathleen_Sebelius_Secretary_of_Health_and_Human_Services_nominationObamaCare is not proving to be the boon insurance companies expected (I know, I know; the poor dears). Via Megan McArdle, one of the many causes is that a number of health providers have figured out some very clever ways to game the system:

This weekend brought a new suggestion across my desk. At Forbes, Bruce Japsen writes that insurers think providers are funding nonprofits to pay Obamacare premiums for high-cost Medicaid patients, thus sticking insurers with a lot of big bills for a lot of very sick patients.

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End the Obamacare Prohibition

 
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“Pssst… hey, lady! You wanna plan with a moderate deductible?”

When the government tries to ban a product people want, they’ll often go to great lengths to get it. That’s true for morally dubious products like drugs, but it’s also true for … short-term, selective, limited, family health insurance plans. Via the WSJ, more and more people are exploiting loopholes in Obamacare — and risking the tax penalties for doing so — to purchase exactly the kind of policies that the ACA promised to do away with:

Robin Herman, the 34-year-old owner of a marketing firm in San Francisco, bought a short-term policy in December. The monthly cost of her short-term coverage, plus conventional ACA-compliant plans for her two children, is roughly one-quarter of what she would have paid for conventional health plans covering all three of them, she says. “This is saving me a ton of money for the year,” she said, despite the penalty. Plans that comply with the health law’s rules cost more than her old pre-ACA policy and are “just not affordable,” she said.

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A Health Care Story

 

shutterstock_136718327A couple of years ago, I had a sebacious cyst on my back. It was relatively small because it drained freely, but my wife was disgusted and ordered me to have our doctor remove it. At the time, I was on my company’s PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) health insurance, so I simply had the procedure done, paid my co-pay, and went about my business. I subsequently received an explanation of benefits in the mail some time later describing the amount paid by insurance, the cost of lab work done to examine the cyst afterward, and some other information regarding deductible expenditures.

Well, as sometimes happens, the doctor failed to get the root of the cyst and had sealed up the drain. So, a couple of years later, what was formerly a tiny hole was now a bulbous mass on my lower back which was steadily growing. Thus, I made an appointment at the general surgeon’s office for a routine cystectomy.

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No, Congress is Not a Small Business

 

shutterstock_52991284Was Barack Obama worried that if legislators had to live under Obamacare they might be more sympathetic to the law’s critics? Many believe that’s exactly why the President administratively arranged a special waiver for Congress. Their “waiver” contravenes unambiguous language in the Affordable Care Act that defines Congressional participation. But how do you administer such a patently illegal exemption? Through the friendly DC Small Business Exchange of course.

Congress must be the biggest “small business” ever served by the DC Small Business ObamaCare Exchange. The application was signed by someone from the Senate and someone else in the House (their names have been redacted) and the fact that they each swore (upon penalty of perjury) that each body has only 45 employees – since 50 is the legal maximum – is being studiously ignored by all involved. (Scroll down here to see the redacted documents received by Judicial Watch from their FOIA request.)

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Capitalist Heath Care For Everyone

 

shutterstock_155901572For thousands of years, the question of healthcare has been basically irrelevant. If you got seriously ill, your death or survival — usually the former — had little to do with how much care you received, and it didn’t matter if you were the King of England or an American slave. People may have thought healthcare was important, but it didn’t really matter; environmental factors such as general health and diet, shelter, and workload mattered much more. To put it in perspective, most of us can count how many times we would have already died had we lived 150 years ago. For me, the score is two: I’ve had appendicitis and bacterial pneumonia so bad I was coughing blood. Neither was tremendously problematic or fearsome.

Because we’ve made such remarkable progress, healthcare matters. That progress is broadly the result of two things. The first is evidence-based medicine. In the late 1800s, somebody did a study and realized that outcomes were no better if you went to a doctor for treatment. That didn’t speak well for doctors. More recent studies have shown the same thing for Medicaid: outcomes are better for people who are totally uninsured rather than for those on Medicaid.

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The Obamacare Debate is Far From Over

 

After the announcement that the Obama Administration had exceeded its targets for sign-ups for Obamacare, the President, engaging in premature triumphalism, announced that the debate over whether the law should be repealed is over.

He was astonishingly premature, as I explain in the latest installment of my weekly column for Defining Ideas:

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Obamacare Is Not Health Insurance

 

Last week, President Obama exulted in the number of signups on the federal exchange and excoriated Republicans for continuing to oppose Obamacare. This is nothing new. What is new is the President’s accusation that Obamacare opposition is synonymous with opposition to health insurance.

In his remarks, Obama preached his sermon of health care redemption to a choir of exuberant members of Congress. He then built a crescendo of support through two pro-Obamacare letters into a fanfare of false outrage:

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