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  • Poll: ObamaCare enrollees less satisfied with insurance plans

    08/03/2015 4:18:33 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 10 replies
    The Hill ^ | August 3, 2015 | By Peter Sullivan
    ObamaCare enrollees are less satisfied with their plans than people with other types of health insurance, according to a new poll. The poll from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, the research arm of the consulting firm, finds that 30 percent of people with insurance through ObamaCare’s marketplaces are satisfied with their plans. That compares with 42 percent satisfaction from people with employer-sponsored plans, 48 percent with Medicaid and 58 percent with Medicare. Cost is the most common reason cited for the dissatisfaction with ObamaCare.
  • A breakdown of New York’s Obamacare numbers

    07/30/2015 3:55:51 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 15 replies
    Capital New York ^ | July 30, 2015 | By Dan Goldberg
    New Yorkers are proving to be cost conscious when choosing a private health insurance plan from New York State of Health, the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, which has now enrolled more than 10 percent of state residents. Of the 2.1 million enrollees, 415,352 chose a private plan, 1,568,345 signed up for Medicaid and 159,716 enrolled in Child Health Plus, according to an enrollment report released Wednesday by the state's health department. Other highlights from the report: - The state's call center handled calls in 92 different languages and dialects. - Two-thirds of those who purchased a private...
  • Mike Lee goes for nuclear option to repeal Obamacare

    07/24/2015 3:37:46 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 39 replies
    Washington Post ^ | July 24, 2015 | By Kelsey Snell
    Senate conservatives couldn’t stop a vote on the Export-Import bank. So they’re going to try to force a vote on Obamacare instead. Conservative firebrand Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced on Friday that he plans to use a complicated procedural maneuver known as the nuclear option to repeal the Affordable Care Act with just 51 votes. Democrats famously used the strategy in 2013 to break a Republican blockade of President Obama’s nominees to fill judicial openings. Now Lee wants to use the partisan procedure get rid of Obamacare. It’s unclear whether Lee’s gambit will work — but if it does, there...
  • Administration Prods States To Scrutinize Insurers' Rate Hikes

    07/23/2015 4:23:13 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 4 replies
    NPR ^ | July 23, 2015 | By Julie Rovner
    There's a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep health plans affordable for consumers. The Obama administration weighed in this week, sending letters to insurance regulators in every state and Washington, D.C., that ask them to take a closer look at rate requests before granting them. In Maryland, for example, the dominant insurer on the exchange, CareFirst, is asking for a rate increase of 30 percent for some of its plans. In Kansas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is seeking increases averaging 37 percent. Insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski says that forcing people to change plans in order...
  • Fake applicants kept ObamaCare coverage, watchdog finds

    07/15/2015 2:26:44 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 5 replies
    The Hill ^ | July 15, 2015 | By Peter Sullivan
    Eleven fictitious people created as part of an undercover watchdog effort were able to automatically re-enroll in ObamaCare coverage, a new report finds. The report, from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, follows up on a GAO report last year. That report found that 11 of 12 fictitious people, with fake documents, were able to successfully enroll in ObamaCare coverage through the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace. The follow-up report, released by congressional Republicans on Wednesday, finds that those 11 fictitious people were able to maintain their coverage through the end of 2014 and then were automatically re-enrolled for 2015. Some were re-enrolled...
  • McConnell: No timeline for ObamaCare repeal

    07/14/2015 1:49:15 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 19 replies
    The Hill ^ | July 14, 2015 | By Peter Sullivan
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he does not have a timeline for using reconciliation to repeal ObamaCare, but indicated that Republicans would look to roll back as much of the law as they can. “I don't have a time to give you, but we're certainly going to consider using budget reconciliation for repealing as much of ObamaCare as is reconcilable,” McConnell told reporters. “There're certain rules that have to be applied to what is reconcilable and that's an active consideration, as you can imagine.” Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, later on Tuesday...
  • As health insurers merge, consumers' premiums are likely to rise

    07/10/2015 8:37:36 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 25 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | July 10, 2015 | by David Lazarus
    As leading health insurers scramble for market share through a series of multibillion-dollar mergers, consumers are no doubt wondering if their premiums are bound to skyrocket. Short answer: Probably. Ironically, Obamacare had anticipated the negative effects of runaway capitalism with a safeguard that critics branded as socialism — the so-called public option, a government-run insurance plan offered alongside private plans. Thanks to business and ideological interests triumphing over economic considerations, a public option fell by the wayside. Some experts say that, with fewer private insurers and rising rates, we're going to regret not having a public option as part of...
  • Feds Delay Obamacare Menu Labeling Rule By a Year

    07/09/2015 2:51:01 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 11 replies
    Washington Free Beacon ^ | July 9, 2015 | BY: Elizabeth Harrington
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is delaying an Obamacare regulation requiring restaurants to display calorie information until December 2016 after businesses complained they did not have sufficient time to comply with the complex rules. “We are taking this action in response to requests for an extension and for further clarification of the rule’s requirements,” the FDA said. The 319-page regulation, mandated by Obamacare, is estimated to cost industry $1.7 billion to comply. The rule requires restaurant chains with 20 or more stores to list calorie information for nearly every food item, and a “succinct statement” that “2,000 calories a...
  • Obamacare has saved women more than $1 billion on birth control

    07/08/2015 4:35:25 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 26 replies
    Washington Post ^ | July 8, 2015 | By Danielle Paquette
    American women are spending much less money on birth control since the Affordable Care Act started requiring insurance plans to cover contraception, according to a new analysis. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania examined health insurance claims from one of the country’s largest private insurers in 2012 (pre-Obamacare) and 2013 (post-Obamacare). They found that spending on the pill, America’s most popular birth control method, quickly fell 38 percent -- from $33 to $20, on average. Spending on IUDs, meanwhile, plummeted 68 percent, from $262 to $84. The total savings, the health economists estimate: $1.4 billion.
  • Study Finds Almost Half Of Health Law Plans Offer Very Limited Physician Networks

    06/26/2015 6:06:19 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 8 replies
    Kaiser Health News ^ | June 26, 2015 | By Michelle Andrews
    If the physician networks for plans sold on the health law’s online insurance exchanges were T-shirts, more than 40 percent would be size X-small or small. That’s the takeaway from a new study that analyzed nearly 400 physician networks in silver-level plans sold around the country in 2014. The study labeled 11 percent of plans “extra small” because they covered fewer than 10 percent of physicians in a plan’s region. Another 30 percent were “small,” meaning they covered between 10 and 25 percent of physicians. Just 11 percent of plans were classified as “extra large” because they covered at least...
  • As Medicaid grows, will there be more cuts to provider payments?

    06/25/2015 3:28:19 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 14 replies
    The Connecticut Mirror ^ | June 25, 2015 | By: ARIELLE LEVIN BECKER
    Dr. Gary Dee figured the state’s fiscal troubles would lead radiologists like him to face a cut in their Medicaid payment rates. But he wasn’t anticipating the 42.5 percent cut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration imposed this spring. Now, Dee’s private practice has stopped taking new Medicaid patients. “The reimbursement is to the point where we can’t take care of these patients. They’re going to lose access,” said Dee, president of MidState Radiology Associates in Meriden. The result is that it could become harder for the more than 725,000 state residents with Medicaid to find specialists to treat them, undermining...
  • California Caps What Patients Pay For Pricey Drugs. Will Other States Follow?

    06/24/2015 11:22:00 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 56 replies
    Kaiser Health News ^ | June 24, 2015 | By April Dembosky
    Expensive specialty medicines used to treat cancer and chronic illnesses have forced some very ill Americans to choose between getting proper treatment and paying their rent. To ease the financial burden, the California agency that governs the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace issued landmark rules recently that will limit the amount anyone enrolled in one of those plans can be charged each month for high-end medicine. Covered California board member Marty Morgenstern said the agency should do even more by going to the root of the problem: the pharmaceutical companies. “They charge irrational prices,” Morgenstern said, “on specialty drugs, and...
  • Oregon dumps cold water on low Obamacare rates

    06/22/2015 4:15:14 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 15 replies
    CNBC ^ | June 22, 2015 | by Dan Mangan
    They wanted their Obamacare prices to be low—but the state said "no." The state of Oregon reportedly has ordered a number of insurers to raise proposed Obamacare premiums for 2016 after some of those companies asked for rates that were only moderately higher, if not lower than this year. Now, many Obamacare customers there are looking at likely double-digit percentage rate increases after having experienced some of "the lowest premiums in the nation," the Oregonian noted. For example, Oregon's Health CO-OP asked for a 5.3-percent average rate increase for next year, but the state's preliminary decision calls for a 19.9...
  • Getting A Medi-Cal Card Doesn’t Always Guarantee Health Care

    06/22/2015 3:24:15 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 5 replies
    Kaiser Health News ^ | June 22, 2015 | By Anna Gorman
    In an effort to control costs in its rapidly expanding Medi-Cal program, California has relied heavily on managed care insurance companies to treat patients. The state pays insurers a fixed amount per enrollee and expects the companies to provide access to doctors and comprehensive care. But a scathing state audit released last Tuesday shows that California is failing to make sure those plans deliver. Many enrollees have insurance cards but often have trouble getting in to see doctors. The California audit found the state didn’t verify that insurers’ directories of doctors were accurate or that the plans had enough doctors...
  • Some Insured Patients Still Skip Care Because Of High Costs

    06/11/2015 6:46:43 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 19 replies
    Kaiser Health News ^ | June 10, 2015 | By Jim Burress
    A key goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help people get health insurance who may have not been able to pay for it before. But the most popular plans – those with low monthly premiums – also have high deductibles and copays. And that can leave medical care still out of reach for some. Renee Mitchell of Stone Mountain, Georgia is one of those people. She previously put off a medical procedure because of the expense. But as the threat of losing part of her vision became a real possibility, she sought an eye specialist at Emory University,...
  • 'Surprise'—Obamacare insurers desire double-digit hikes

    06/10/2015 4:47:13 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 6 replies
    CNBC ^ | June 10, 2015 | by Dan Mangan
    Many Obamacare customers could be looking at surprisingly large price increases next year—if insurers get their wishes. Health insurance premiums for individual plans in major U.S. cities would rise by an average of 12 percent in 2016 if the newly proposed prices are approved, a new analysis finds. And prices would increase even more—14 percent on average—for people enrolled in the most popular type of Obamacare plans, known as "silver" plans, the HealthPocket study reveals. Customers insured in health maintenance organization (HMO) and exclusive provider organization (EPO) plans—which as a rule don't cover treatment from providers outside of their networks—would...
  • Consumers In Grandfathered Plans Can Face Higher Costs For Preventive Benefits

    06/09/2015 9:50:50 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 9 replies
    Kaiser Health News ^ | June 9, 2015 | By Michelle Andrews
    Judy Naillon called her insurer several months ago to find out why she was being charged $35 every month for birth control pills. Her friends said they were getting their pills for free under the federal health law. Why wasn’t she getting the same deal? “I’m just really frustrated,” says the Wichita, Kan., piano and violin teacher. When her husband took a new marketing job last fall, “I thought that surely all these insurers must now be covering these benefits.” Naillon, 33, would have to continue to pay a share of the cost of her pills, and the plan wouldn’t...
  • Big premium increase requests show volatility in health care market

    06/08/2015 1:29:25 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 15 replies
    Minneapolis Star-Tribune ^ | June 8, 2015 | By Christopher Snowbeck
    Big premium increases that Minnesota insurers proposed last week reflect losses they’ve been taking in a part of the market targeted by the federal health law. Insurers say they collectively lost more than $300 million on policies for individuals who buy coverage on their own last year because subscribers had more costly health problems than expected. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which is the largest insurer in the individual market, announced proposed average increases of 54 percent and 55 percent. Blue Cross says it lost $135 million in the individual market during 2014. “When there are losses that...
  • Jack Kelly: Spare us from Obamacare

    06/07/2015 4:46:35 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 13 replies
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ^ | June 7, 2015 | By Jack Kelly
    The Affordable Care Act isn’t. Some major health insurers seek eye popping rate increases for 2016 — such as 25 percent in Oregon, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 51.6 percent in New Mexico. Despite subsidies for the industry of at least $16 billion, many insurers lose money. Far fewer individuals signed up for Obamacare than expected (and the administration claimed). Those who did are older and sicker. “Only about 40 percent of those eligible eventually signed up after two full open-enrollments,” insurance expert Robert Laszewski told the Washington Examiner. “Carriers need more like 75 percent.” Subsidies for...
  • Blue Cross parent posts big loss in first year of Obamacare

    06/05/2015 4:29:09 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 9 replies
    Crain's Chicago Business ^ | June 5, 2015 | By: Bob Herman
    Health Care Service Corp., the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the country, suffered large losses in 2014, the first year Americans could buy individual coverage through the public exchanges. HCSC recorded a $281.9 million loss in 2014, compared with a $684.3 million surplus in 2013—a swing of almost $1 billion. The losses were somewhat expected. Chicago-based HCSC, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurer for Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, said the inaugural year of the Affordable Care Act's exchanges disrupted the insurance industry, particularly the individual market. Medical claims were up significantly, reflecting the needs of a...
  • Insurers request big rate hikes, citing coming Medicaid changes

    06/03/2015 11:41:43 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 12 replies
    New Hampshire Union Leader ^ | June 2, 2015 | By MARK HAYWARD
    Two insurance carriers on the Obamacare exchange are attributing proposed double-digit premium increases to next year’s private-market alterations to the New Hampshire Medicaid program. Minuteman Health Inc. has requested rate increases ranging from 42 to 51 percent for next year, according to healthcare.gov. Maine Community Health Options asked for premium increases between 19 and 22 percent. Both companies attributed their proposed increases in part to the Premium Assistance Program, the name for the Medicaid expansion program that is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1. Maine Community estimated that claims from the Medicaid patients will be 61 percent higher...
  • Alabama’s ObamaCare health insurance exchange prices set to skyrocket

    06/02/2015 4:25:28 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 12 replies
    Yellowhammer News ^ | June 2, 2015 | BY ELIZABETH BESHEARS
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama health insurance providers who offer plans on the ObamaCare exchange are seeking significant price increases this year, after healthcare costs took a sharp upward turn. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is reportedly requesting an average of a 28 percent increase for its individual plans, as well as a 73 percent increase for its platinum plan. Small group plans could also increase by nearly 14 percent. UnitedHealthcare is seeking a 24.5 percent increase for its 2016 rates.
  • Obamacare sticker shock: Big rate hikes proposed for 2016

    06/02/2015 4:18:37 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 17 replies
    CNN ^ | June 2, 2015 | By Tami Luhby
    Hold onto your wallets ... many insurers want to substantially hike rates on Obamacare policies for 2016. Many are proposing double-digit premium increases for individual policies, with some companies looking to boost rates more than 60%, according to a list posted Monday by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Insurers say they want to hike rates because enrollees are going to the doctor, getting lab work and filling prescriptions more than they had originally anticipated. "We've seen a great pent-up demand for services," said Aaron Billger, spokesman for Highmark, a Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee offering plans in...
  • Many Insurers Propose Double-Digit Premium Rate Hikes for 2016

    06/02/2015 12:55:18 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 7 replies
    Many health insurers have proposed premium hikes greater than 10% for individual health plans sold in 2016, citing higher-than-expected care costs and other unexpected expenses. The proposed rates vary significantly across states and health plans. For example, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina proposed a 26% rate increase, and companies in Florida, Illinois and some other states proposed rate increases of at least 20%. Tennessee's largest health insurer proposed a rate hike of 36% for some plans, while New Mexico's largest insurer proposed an increase of 50%. In Maryland, the state's largest insurer proposed a 30% rate hike....
  • Bill to extend Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants advances, is narrowed

    05/28/2015 4:25:04 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | May 28, 2015 | By Melody Gutierrez
    SACRAMENTO - A lawmaker's proposal to offer Medi-Cal coverage to immigrants living in the country without documentation made it through a key legislative committee Thursday, although the bill was significantly scaled back to benefit primarily those aged 19 and under. SB4 by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens (LA County) was narrowed to reduce the cost by allowing older immigrants to enroll in the medical system for low-income people each year only as state funds are available to cover them. The bill would also authorize the state to seek a federal waiver so it could extend health insurance under its...
  • Treasury Rule Allows Taxpayer Subsidized Health Insurance For Illegal Immigrants

    05/28/2015 8:58:43 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 6 replies
    Forbes ^ | May 28, 2015 | by Grace-Marie Turner
    New research about implementation of the Affordable Care Act finds that Obama administration regulations are allowing taxpayer subsidized health insurance for some people earning less than the statutory income floor and also for unlawful immigrants. A new study by Andy S. Grewal, an associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, explains that the ACA provides tax credits to U.S. citizens with incomes between 100 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). However, IRS regulations were written to extend credits to citizens below 100% FPL in some cases. Also, Section 36B of the ACA grants credits to...
  • Obamacare's big overhead costs to top $270B

    05/27/2015 10:48:17 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 20 replies
    CNBC ^ | May 27, 2015 | by Dan Mangan
    That sure is a lot of paper clips. Obamacare is set to add more than a quarter-of-a-trillion—that's trillion—dollars in extra insurance administrative costs to the U.S. health-care system, according to a new report out Wednesday. The $273.6 billion in additional insurance overhead represents an average of of $1,375 per newly insured person, per year, from 2012 through 2022. The overhead cost equals a whopping 22.5 percent of the total estimated $2.76 trillion in all federal government spending for the Affordable Care Act programs during that time, the authors of the report in the journal Health Affairs noted. In contrast, the...
  • Price worries persist for Obamacare market plans

    05/21/2015 11:25:16 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 12 replies
    CNBC ^ | May 21, 2015 | by Dan Mangan
    The price is still wrong for too many health insurance customers. Nearly half of all people with individual health insurance plans this year said it's "very" or "somewhat" difficult for them to afford their monthly premiums. The vast majority of Obamacare exchange customers receive a discount on their monthly premiums as a result of subsidies they are issued. Despite that, among individuals with both subsidized and nonsubsidized coverage, "You've got a substantial share saying it's not a great value for the money," said Liz Hamel, director of Kaiser's Public Opinion and Survey Research team. About four in 10 people surveyed...
  • Court Won't Exempt Notre Dame From Birth Control Provision

    05/20/2015 4:13:38 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 25 replies
    ABC News ^ | May 20, 2015 | By TOM COYNE
    A federal appeals court has rejected the University of Notre Dame's request to temporarily be exempt from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires the Catholic school's insurance providers to cover the costs of contraceptives for students and staff. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Tuesday that an exemption provided by President Barack Obama's administration allows Notre Dame to avoid directly paying for contraceptives, and therefore doesn't force the school to violate its religious beliefs. Notre Dame contends that the law forces it to violate Catholic doctrine, which bars most forms of birth control,...
  • Obamacare's special enrollments draw little interest

    05/19/2015 3:44:05 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 4 replies
    CNBC ^ | May 19, 2015 | by Dan Mangan
    Many were called. Few chose to respond. The federal Obamacare insurance marketplace HealthCare.gov signed up 147,000 people in 36 states during a special tax season enrollment period, officials revealed Tuesday. HealthCare.gov issued the final tally via Twitter rather than a press release or news call that Obama administration officials have previously used to announce other numbers and results. In all, it appears fewer than 250,000 people signed up nationally. In Hawaii, no people—as in zero—signed up during the special tax season enrollment.
  • Health Law Tax Passed Along to States

    05/18/2015 3:41:04 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 4 replies
    New York Times ^ | May 18, 2015
    There's more than a touch of absurdity in the way an industry fee in President Barack Obama's health care law is being passed along to state taxpayers. As Alice in Wonderland might say, a curious tax just got curiouser. The burden to states could mount to $13 billion in less than a decade. The Health Insurance Providers Fee was aimed at insurance companies. The thinking went: Because insurers would gain a windfall of customers, they ought to help pay for the expansion of coverage. Insurers say they have raised prices for individuals and small businesses to cover the new tax....
  • State governments lament that citizens are actually getting health coverage

    05/18/2015 3:19:05 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 22 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | May 18, 2015 | by Michael Hiltzik
    One of the more bizarre spectacles of U.S. government in the modern age is the sight of political leaders complaining that a public program is actually working. In many states that expanded Medicaid and even some that rejected expansion under the Affordable Care Act, enrollment has significantly exceeded projections. To some political leaders, for some reason, this is supposed to be a bad thing. Some Republican governors are in effect calling it "an 'I told you so' moment". In Michigan, for instance, first-year enrollment was projected at 323,000, but enrollment topped out at 605,000. Illinois expected 199,000, and has ended...
  • Majority of businesses taking steps to avoid ObamaCare tax

    05/14/2015 3:18:32 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 12 replies
    The Hill ^ | May 14, 2015 | By Sarah Ferris
    Nearly two-thirds of companies facing a new ObamaCare tax say they are changing their coverage to avoid the extra costs, according to a new survey. The so-called Cadillac tax, which applies to healthcare plans above a certain expense threshold, is one of the most pressing changes still to come under ObamaCare. Only 2.5 percent of companies that would be hit by the Cadillac tax starting in 2018 said they plan to pay the tax. A total of 62 percent of companies said they have already taken action or plan to take action to avoid it. Most say they are shifting...
  • Amid slower growth, California's Obamacare exchange cuts proposed spending

    05/13/2015 7:02:56 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 1 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | May 13, 2015 | by Chad Terhune
    After using most of $1 billion in federal start-up money, California's Obamacare exchange is preparing to go on a diet. That financial reality is reflected in Covered California's proposed budget, to be released Wednesday, as well as a reduced forecast calling for 2016 enrollment of fewer than 1.5 million people. A number of factors contributed to the shortfall, but health policy experts said that some uninsured folks still find health insurance unaffordable despite the health law's premium subsidies.
  • Obama Administration Tries To Blackmail States Into Expanding Obamacare

    05/13/2015 6:51:56 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 6 replies
    Forbes ^ | May 13, 2015 | By Jonathan Ingram and Josh Archambault
    The Obama administration has worked for years to lure states into accepting Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion under the false promise of “flexibility.” Despite its best efforts, 21 states have rejected the expansion. And at least two states that previously expanded Medicaid under Obamacare are looking to turn back the clock and draw down their Medicaid expansions in 2016. The Obama administration is desperate for a national leader like Florida to expand Obamacare, hoping it will set off a chain reaction to convince leaders in other states to fall in line. So, frustrated with its lack of success in convincing conservatives to...
  • Health exchange considers higher fees as federal grants end

    05/12/2015 3:45:46 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 7 replies
    KRDO-TV ^ | May 12, 2015 | by Chris Loveless
    Denver -- The state's health exchange is looking at more than doubling the fee that insurers pass onto customers who buy policies. The Denver Post reports Connect for Health Colorado staff recommended the increase Monday as $177 million in federal startup grants come to a close and as insurance carriers prepare to submit their rate plans by May 29. If the health exchange board approves the 3.5 percent charge for premiums, the fee for a $4,000 yearly plan would go up by $84. Staff also recommended upping a monthly assessment charge for 1.2 million private insurance policies to bring in...
  • Vitter's Obamacare crusade draws GOP ire

    05/12/2015 6:32:04 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 4 replies
    Politico ^ | May 12, 2015 | By MANU RAJU
    One fellow senator calls David Vitter’s years-long crusade to scrap health care subsidies for lawmakers and their staffers “disingenuous.” Another says it’s obviously being done “for political purposes.” “I just don’t think he’s made a lot of progress on this issue,” a third senator says. And those are just fellow Republicans talking. Within the chummy confines of the U.S. Senate, Vitter has emerged as one of the most disliked members. The second-term senator’s effort to kill the federal health care contribution, worth several thousand dollars to lawmakers and their staffers, is a big part of it.
  • Feds Close Insurance Loopholes on Preventive Care

    05/11/2015 2:26:45 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 2 replies
    ABC News ^ | May 11, 2015 | By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
    From contraception to colonoscopies, the Obama administration Monday closed a series of insurance loopholes on coverage of preventive care. The department of Health and Human Services said insurers must cover at least one birth control option under each of 18 methods approved by the FDA — without copays. Also, insurers can't charge patients for anesthesia services in connection with colonoscopies. Other services covered without copays or cost-sharing include: - Preventive screening, genetic counseling and BRCA genetic testing for women at increased risk for having a potentially harmful mutation in genes that suppress cancerous tumors. - Prenatal care and other services...
  • Autauga Co. substitute teacher shortage linked to Obamacare

    05/07/2015 4:51:28 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 11 replies
    FOX6 WBRC TV ^ | May 7, 2015 | By Hannah Lane
    ... Since January, there has been a shortage of subs in Autauga County, which leaders say is a first for the school system. The shortage means students may be disbursed and placed in another class for the day or teachers take turns during their planning period. Superintendent Spence Agee says the shortage is due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The law requires large employers to provide insurance for employees working more than 30 hours a week. Due to the requirement, the schools have had to cut back on substitutes' hours, only allowing them to work three...
  • 500 groups urge repeal of ObamaCare cost-cutting panel

    05/05/2015 7:11:15 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 10 replies
    The Hill ^ | May 5, 2015 | By Peter Sullivan
    Over 500 organizations are calling on Congress to repeal a Medicare cost-cutting board that is part of ObamaCare. The panel at issue is called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and is charged with coming up with ways to cut Medicare spending. Legislation to repeal the board sponsored by Reps. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) has 222 co-sponsors, including 19 Democrats. While some opponents of ObamaCare have called the IPAB a “death panel,” the board is banned by law from recommending changes that would ration care or require seniors to pay a higher share of costs. Its reforms...
  • Contrary to goals, ER visits rise under Obamacare

    05/04/2015 2:35:00 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 9 replies
    USA Today | May 4, 2015 | by Laura Ungar and Jayne O'Donnell
    LINK ONLY:  Contrary to goals, ER visits rise under Obamacare
  • Nearly half of Obamacare exchanges are struggling over their future

    05/01/2015 9:13:07 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 13 replies
    Washington Post ^ | May 1, 2015 | By Lena H. Sun and Niraj Chokshi
    Nearly half of the 17 insurance marketplaces set up by the states and the District under President Obama’s health law are struggling financially, presenting state officials with an unexpected and serious challenge five years after the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act. Many of the online exchanges are wrestling with surging costs, especially for balky technology and expensive customer-call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers. To ease the fiscal distress, officials are considering raising fees on insurers, sharing costs with other states and pressing state lawmakers for cash infusions. Some are weighing turning over part or all of their...
  • Florida files Obamacare lawsuit

    04/28/2015 3:40:13 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 5 replies
    Washington Examiner ^ | April 28, 2015 | BY PAIGE WINFIELD CUNNINGHAM
    Florida has filed a lawsuit charging the Obama administration is trying to force it to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Kicking off a legal battle involving both Medicaid expansion and a separate pot of federal funding for hospitals, Attorney General Pam Bondi filed suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The lawsuit was threatened last week by Gov. Rick Scott, who accuses the administration of trying to coerce him into expanding Florida's Medicaid program. Scott contends officials are pressuring him by threatening to halt an existing flow of federal funds used to reimburse hospitals for...
  • Analysis: California Could Be a Model for Latino Enrollment Efforts

    04/28/2015 8:56:40 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 6 replies
    California Healthline ^ | April 28, 2015
    California could serve as a model for overcoming barriers to expanding health coverage to uninsured Latino populations, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund cited California -- which has about 14 million Latino residents -- as a model for how to overcome such barriers. For example, the analysis noted that California: * Does not have a five-year delay before documented immigrants become eligible for coverage; and * Has invested in wide outreach efforts
  • Medicaid’s Tension: Getting Corporate Giants To Do Right By The Needy

    04/28/2015 8:47:45 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 6 replies
    Kaiser Health News ^ | April 28, 2015 | By Jay Hancock
    HARTSVILLE, Tenn. — Lynda Douglas thought she had a deal with Tennessee. She would adopt and love a tiny, unwanted, profoundly disabled girl named Charla. The private insurance companies that run Tennessee’s Medicaid program would cover Charla’s health care. Douglas doesn’t think the state and its contractors have held up their end. In recent years she says she has fought battle after battle to secure essential care to control Charla’s seizures, protect her from choking and tube-feed and medicate her multiple times a day. Washington regulators are about to initiate the biggest overhaul of Medicaid managed-care rules in a decade....
  • Obamacare Causing Parkway Schools to Cut Subs

    04/23/2015 1:59:03 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 4 replies
    CBS Local - St. Louis ^ | April 23, 2015 | by Michael Calhoun
    ST. LOUIS – The Parkway School District says Obamacare is forcing it to outsource the employment of its substitute teachers. It’s that or face a $4 million penalty for not offering heathcare to the part-time employees. Nancy Buchannan, a substitute teacher in the district, says she doesn’t need insurance, and says subs already feel unappreciated by the district.
  • Sen. David Vitter’s Obamacare subpoena bid doomed by five GOP defections

    04/23/2015 1:46:27 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 22 replies
    The Washington Times ^ | April 23, 2015 | By Tom Howell Jr.
    Republican Sen. David Vitter’s bid to subpoena details about Congress’s treatment under Obamacare bitterly divided his own party Thursday, with five GOP senators balking at his attempt to force the D.C. health exchange to name who signed off on Capitol Hill’s use of the city’s insurance portal. Mr. Vitter, of Louisiana and chairman of the Small Business Committee, swiftly condemned his colleagues for voting with committee Democrats to reject his maneuver, 5 to 14. He said Congress’s arrangement with the city’s small-business exchange, or “SHOP,” provides lawmakers and staff with financial perks above and beyond what regular Obamacare customers can...
  • Obamacare and Obama will be popular in 2020

    04/23/2015 1:03:46 PM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 23 replies
    Chicago Tribune ^ | April 23, 2015 | By Jonathan Bernstein
    Good news for Obamacare supporters: It's quite a bit less unpopular than it was a few months ago. The uptick leads to the question: Will the Affordable Care Act ever actually be popular? Looking at the long run, Republicans may have done the law a favor by naming it Obamacare. Former presidents usually bask in a nostalgic glow after they leave office. While events could still make a difference, Obama is well-positioned to take advantage of that effect: To date, at least, he has no major wars to regret, and the nation hasn't plunged into a new recession. If long-term...
  • How the IRS repeatedly rewrites Obamacare tax credit provisions

    04/15/2015 5:59:01 AM PDT · by Oldeconomybuyer · 3 replies
    Washington Post ^ | April 15, 2015 | By Jonathan H. Adler
    The plaintiffs in King v. Burwell argue that an IRS regulation unlawfully extends tax credit eligibility beyond what is expressly authorized under Section 1401 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It appears that this sort of administrative rewrite of the PPACA may be more the rule than the exception. These IRS rewrites have potential consequences beyond the extension of tax credits beyond what Congress authorized. As with the regulatory change expanding tax credit eligibility to some unlawful aliens, the IRS cited no authority for making this change. Fairly administering this law requires implementing it as written, and...
  • Democrats Ask for Another ObamaCare Reprieve, Warning It Is ‘Harmful and Disruptive’ to Businesses

    03/26/2015 11:16:15 AM PDT · by E. Pluribus Unum · 13 replies
    Independet Journal Review ^ | 03/26/2015 | Victoria Taft
    The Daily Caller reports Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department asking for a reprieve from ObamaCare for small businesses scheduled to be brought under its regulatory umbrella in 2016. Apparently, the group fears it will be “particularly harmful and disruptive” to businesses.The Caller reports that the letter was sent March 12 by Democrat Senators Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Chris Coons, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Tester, and independent Sen. Angus King. They asked for a two-year deferment: Under the law, employers with 51 to 100 employees will be included in the ACA’s definition of small group market starting...