California’s Public Option Would Not Rescue Obamacare | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org

The wheels are falling off Obamacare in California. UnitedHealth Care, the nation’s largest health insurer, only participated in the state’s exchange, Covered California, for one year before deciding to bail out. Participants are much older and sicker than the Administration or health insurers expected. So, premiums are spiraling up, beyond people’s ability to pay.

Covered California is already responsible for a significant taxpayer-funded cash flow. Currently, only a very small share is borne by the state. That will change if a public option relieves beneficiaries of their sky-high premiums. Last March (after the dust had settled on Obamacare’s third open season), Covered California had just under one million policies in force, covering almost 1.4 million enrollees. Total annual 2016 premiums would amount to $6.8 billion.

However, nine of ten enrollees pay significantly discounted premiums, because the insurers who write the policies receive significant tax credits to induce them to participate. Only $2.4 billion of the estimated total 2016 premium will have been paid by enrollees. Fully $4.4 billion will have been funded by federal taxpayers. So, if the public option eliminates enrollees’ responsibility to pay premium, state taxpayers would be on the hook for $2.4 billion.

But wait, there’s more! The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimatesthere are 313,000 Californians who are eligible for subsidized health insurance in Covered California, but chose to buy unsubsidized individual policies outside the exchange. It is not clear why they forgo the subsidies. Perhaps they want access to more doctors and hospitals than are available in Covered California’s infamously narrow networks. If they were freed from the responsibility of paying for any part of their premium in Covered California, surely many would get onboard.

If they are similar to the current enrollees, they would add almost half a billion dollars to the state taxpayers’ tab…

(A version of this Health Alert was published by the Orange County Register.) Dave Jones, California’s Insurance Commissioner, has lifted a page from Hillary

Source: California’s Public Option Would Not Rescue Obamacare | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org

Single-Rural Heath Care: Obamacare Insurers Retreat, Leaving Only One ACA Insurer In Some Areas – Matt Vespa

Monopoly?

Obamacare has been disastrous for health insurers, like UnitedHealth Group, billions have been wasted on state exchanges, which are hanging by a thread, and the law’s enrollment projections (calculated by the CBO three years ago) were off by 24 million for 2016. Now, more Americans are opting to pay the penalty and remain uninsured because it makes more sense for their finances. No wonder why this law is unpopular. Oh, and did I mention that premiums are projected to rise (again) this year. Given the expensive nature of the Obamacare market, some insurers are dropping like flies, giving Americans in some rural areas just one choice when it comes to their health care. Of course, some folks are worried about monopoly dynamics

Source: Single-Rural Heath Care: Obamacare Insurers Retreat, Leaving Only One ACA Insurer In Some Areas – Matt Vespa

It Was the Best of Days and the Worst of Days | Jeffrey Gold | LinkedIn

Jeff Gold

Jeff Gold, MD

 

Last Wednesday, January 6 2016, was a day I will not forget any time soon. It was a day that showed me the worst of our healthcare system but also the best. The week prior, a new patient enrolled with

Source: It Was the Best of Days and the Worst of Days | Jeffrey Gold | LinkedIn

Defending Public Policy: What’s in a Name? | Robert Nelson, MD | LinkedIn

Robert Nelson, MD

Robert Nelson Publisher & Editor, The Sovereign Patient

Let’s pretend a non-partisan, unelected committee had drafted a health reform plan to be reviewed and debated by the people of each state and then voted on with a simple up or down vote. If a minimum of 38 states passed it, then it would become the law of the land. Let’s assume this health reform plan contained the following characteristics:

Read the entire article via Defending Public Policy: What’s in a Name? | Robert Nelson, MD | LinkedIn.

King vs Burwell: Even Wrong-Headed Decisions Can Have an Upside | Robert Nelson, MD | LinkedIn

The Supreme Court’s ruling in King vs Burwell has some parallels to PPACA in general and the subsequent ruling 5D3_0034on the individual mandate “penalty vs tax” issue in 2012, in the way in which it may influence policy decisions downstream.  In the case of the 2012 ruling, Judge Roberts really provided us with two legal choices: obtain the kind of coverage the government deems appropriate OR pay penalty (I mean tax).  

The K v B ruling, albeit another judicially illogical head-scratcher from Chief Justice Roberts, does not create any political emergencies or policy conundrums which could lead to the adoption of hasty “remedies”; remedies that would even be harder to undo when they miss their mark.  For this small positive, those of us that favor Insurance market-friendly public policy alternatives to PPACA can be grateful.  

via King vs Burwell: Even Wrong-Headed Decisions Can Have an Upside | Robert Nelson, MD | LinkedIn.

SCOTUS Rulings: a twitter poll would be quicker and just as meaningful | Robert Nelson, MD | LinkedIn

5D3_0034

Robert Nelson, MD

As noted by Justice Antonin Scalia in a scathing dissent, the Court rules that the term “established by the State,” which appears seven times in the statute, can also mean “not established by the State.”

For those of us opposed to the economic catastrophe that is PPACA, this ruling may be a blessing in disguise.  More tomorrow on the intended and unintended consequences of the SCOTUS ruling.

But for starters, here is something to think about. We now know (per Gruber and many others) the portion of the law that ties subsidies to formation of State Exchange was intentional and DEFINITELY NOT an oversight as Judge Roberts as other apologists for PPACA would have us believe – leaving him “no choice” but to intervene in order to prevent chaos…. as if there was no other financial option besides the subsidies as prescribed and ineptly administered by the ObamaCare mandate.

via SCOTUS Rulings: a twitter poll would be quicker and just as meaningful | Robert Nelson, MD | LinkedIn.

Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Certainly, reasonable people can disagree about whether Obamacare is, on balance, a good law, and improves upon the dreadful state of the U.S. healthcare regime. But it’s vexing to see so many liberals cheering the utter death of the Court’s ability to rebuke lawmakers when they put forth nonsensical laws. Roberts’ decision gives a lot more power to Congress, obligating the Court to ignore the plain text of laws “if at all possible.”

Well, anything is possible. Is the preservation of limited government so universally unimportant—and the protection of Obamacare so paramount—that it was worth the utter subjugation of the Court (hereafter known as the Legislative Subcommittee on Wording Tweaks) to the will of Congress?

via Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare – Hit & Run : Reason.com.