Sunday, May 31, 2015

Obamacare Medical Devise Tax Revisited

“Last fall, as one of its last acts, the outgoing House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the medical device tax. This year, leaders in the new Congress are signaling their intention to put that bill on President Obama’s desk. It’s a bad idea.

A 2.3 percent federal excise tax on sales of medical devices was included in the Affordable Act of 2010 to help pay for Obamacare. The tax has been collected since 2013, and the Joint Committee on Taxation predicts it will reduce the deficit by $26 billion over ten years.

Is it a good tax? Not particularly. It increases the cost of cardiac stents, artificial limbs, and joint replacements, for example. Manufacturers pass its costs along to patients and their insurance plans. But should it be repealed? No. Not yet. For three reasons.

First, contrary to industry claims, the tax is not heavy enough to imperil patients’ health or pose a significant burden on employment or medical innovation. Every tax has negative effects, to be sure; but as excises go, 2.3 percent of sales is modest. And as Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Hill, the device industry is “doing extremely well with ObamaCare.”

Second, repealing the tax now would be unfair, because the law it helps fund, Obamacare, burdens all of us, not just medical device makers.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, repealing the tax before we repeal Obamacare would weaken the coalition to replace the Affordable Care Act with better reforms that can actually make healthcare more affordable (and thus get more people covered).” - Don’t repeal the medical device tax (yet), the, 05/04/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

Friday, May 22, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: Having Health Insurance vs. Paying for Health-Care

‘“Simply having health insurance is no guarantee that consumers can afford to pay for health care,” the report noted. When people decided to forgo medical care, fees that would have to be paid out of pocket were a major contributing factor, the report, which surveyed adults with lower- and middle-income levels, found. The report did not include people who had health insurance through Medicaid or those who had health insurance through their employers.

Overall, the Affordable Care Act made health insurance and health care itself more affordable, in part by subsidizing the cost through tax credits to those who qualify. But for some Americans, it was not affordable enough, the report showed. Of adults who were insured for a full year, 25.2 percent did not get necessary medical care, including tests, treatments and medications. Of lower- to middle-income adults, 32.3 percent reported not getting care they needed.

Those with higher deductibles were more likely to skip getting care, and the report recommended that the government redesign one particular level of coverage -- the silver plan -- offered on its exchanges, to lower out-of-pocket costs.

One reason consumers face such high out-of-pocket costs is because being forced to spend more of one’s own money is supposed to stop people from seeking unnecessary care. This policy gained momentum under the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reported in February. As a result, even though Obamacare vastly expanded the number of people who could access and pay for health insurance plans, it didn’t necessarily ensure that those same people could afford the medical care itself.’ - Is Obamacare Working? Quarter Of Americans Who Bought Health Insurance On Exchanges Couldn't Afford Medical Care, International Business Times, 05/22/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:


Saturday, May 16, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: Massachusetts Health Connector Investigated

“The catastrophic ObamaCare rollout merely two years ago has disappeared into the distant political past, forgotten, with zero accountability for the taxpayer waste and disruption to individuals and business. Massachusetts may prove to be an exception.

Late last week the administration of Republican Governor Charlie Baker confirmed that the FBI and U.S. Attorney for Boston have subpoenaed records related to the commonwealth’s “connector” dating to 2010. This insurance clearinghouse was Mitt Romney’s 2006 beta version for ObamaCare’s exchanges, but updating the connector to comply with the far more complex federal law became a fiasco rivaling any of the other federal and state ObamaCare failures.

The target of the investigation hasn’t been disclosed. But the best autopsy of the connector mess is being published Monday by Boston’s Pioneer Institute think tank, where Josh Archambault reviews internal audits and whistleblower testimony he obtained. The evidence is damaging to both Massachusetts’s exchange contractor, CGI Corp., and the administration of former Democratic Governor Deval Patrick.

Mr. Archambault reveals years of third-rate technological work, disregarded deadlines, pervasive mismanagement, little outcome measurement and general bureaucratic incompetence. An outside auditor noted as early as 2012 that the “quantity and/or skills/experience level of project resources may be impacting the ability to complete project tasks within planned timeframes” and questioned if staff were “sufficiently knowledgable.”

A test before going public showed a 90% failure rate, and the new connector detonated on the launch pad. Some 320,000 residents attempting to gain coverage had to be dumped into a temporary “free” Medicaid program without any income eligibility determination. Pioneer pegs the total cost of the mess at around $1 billion.” - ObamaCare’s Big Dig, The Massachusetts exchange is under federal investigation,, 05/10/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:






Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange, Hawaii Health Connector, Is No More

“Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down. Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. With the state legislature rejecting a $28 million bailout, the website will now be unable to operate past this year.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28.” - Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes, Americans for Tax Reform, 05/12/2015

Link to the entire story appears below: