Thursday, June 23, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: When the Price Isn’t The Price Because The Price Is a Political Price

“Amid reports that consumers could be hit with Obamacare health insurance premium hikes of 10 percent or more, the administration is providing state insurance regulators with $22 million to encourage them to beef up their reviews of requests for rate hikes from the health insurance industry.

The decision announced on Wednesday to provide states with additional resources to evaluate and challenge rate increases, in addition to undertaking other activities related to Obamacare, appears to be as much a political maneuver as another attempt to bend the health care cost curve.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Obamacare insurance markets in roughly a third of major metropolitan areas projects that premiums on the most popular silver plans will increase by an average of 10 percent to 11 percent next year, twice the rate of increase approved last fall. And that doesn’t include almost certain increases in co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs to consumers.

Obama administration officials reportedly are wary of the political impact of a rash of double-digit premium increases so close to the election, despite warnings from major insurance providers they will need higher revenues in order to remain in Obamacare. Millions of Americans are likely to get their first notice of Obamacare premium rate increases for 2017 shortly before the November election.” - White House Is Spending Millions to Battle Obamacare Rate Hikes,, 06/17/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:




Friday, June 10, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: If Markets Fail, Governments Fail too

“One of the worst developments has been the failure of many of the online exchanges that were supposed to be a one-stop, one-size-fits-all marketplace where insurances policies could be purchased cheaply and easily. In a lot of places that hasn't turned out to be the case. In Massachusetts, for example, the administration of Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick took a functioning website created as part of Romneycare, spent a lot of money on so-called improvements and promptly broke it.

By far the worst example is Oregon, where the website for the state exchange was declared completely dysfunctional, but only after more than $300 million – according to best estimates – was spent trying to figure out how to make it work.

The politicians back in Oregon, at least one of whom has lost his job in part over the "Cover Oregon" scandal, have tried all along to blame the companies and contractors they hired to build the website. The official term of art for that is "buck passing." The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating what went wrong and, in a report just issued, has concluded – no surprise – it was the politicians playing politics who are to blame.

Here, in brief, is what the committee found:

State law clearly established Cover Oregon as an independent entity. The governor and his political advisers' involvement in Cover Oregon was inconsistent with Oregon law.

Campaign funds were used to assist the governor in his official capacity while handling Cover Oregon.
Cover Oregon became closely tied with all campaign activities, from polling to meetings.

The governor's political operatives – none had technological experience – micromanaged many of the decisions that needed to be made regarding Cover Oregon.
Junking Cover Oregon and moving to was viewed as a way to "let the steam out of so much of the attacks."

The Cover Oregon board was told the cost of moving to was $4-6 million. A slide showing moving the Medicaid system would cost $36 million was deleted.

After the governor complained about the "free independent expenditure campaign" his political opponent was receiving because of Cover Oregon, his political advisers drafted letters asking the attorney general to sue. The letter was sent days later.

In sum, the committee says, "Cover Oregon failed for two main reasons: The state acted as their own system integrator (like, and the state tried to revamp its entire health care system, not just build an exchange."

All in all it's a pretty damning indictment. As a result, in what may be the first allegations of criminal misconduct related to Obamacare, the committee wants United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to launch a criminal probe and for Oregon's attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor with a mandate to uncover what happened with Cover Oregon.” - 'Cover Oregon' Cover-Up, US News and World Report, 06/08/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:




Thursday, June 2, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Oh No, Way to Go, Ohio…….

“Ohio's Obamacare plan has closed up shop, making 13 out of 23 consumer-oriented-and-operated plans to shutter.

InHealth Mutual in Ohio will shut down and will force more than 20,000 people to choose new plans. They will have 60 days to find a new plan. Ohio's insurance regulator said Thursday that it had to take control of the co-op because of major losses.

The Ohio co-op is the first one this year to close. Last year, 12 of the 23 taxpayer-funded plans shut down due to mounting financial losses and a lack of federal funding.

Including InHealth, the federal government has spent $1.3 billion to set up the co-ops, which were created to offer more competition on Obamacare's exchanges.” - Ohio Obamacare co-op collapses, Washington Examiner, 05/26/2016

Link to the entire article appears below: