Thursday, May 25, 2017

ACA/Obamacare: When Saving $2,500 Per Year Really Means Spending $2,928 Per Year

“The Congressional Budget Office score of the American Health Care Act shows that the bill will reduce deficits by $119 billion over the next decade and result in 23 million more people being uninsured by 2026. This leaves the impression that people would be better off if Obamacare were unchanged. But a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services dispels this myth.

The DHHS report shows that premiums in the individual market exchanges increased by 105 percent in the 39 states using from 2013 to 2017. This is equivalent to $244 per month in additional premium payments for people buying insurance through the exchanges, or $2,928 over the course of a year. People not eligible for exchange subsidies are fully exposed to these increases, while taxpayers will bear the brunt in the form of higher outlays for subsidies for enrollees who are eligible.

Despite the promises that Obamacare would “cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year,” average premiums on the exchanges more than doubled over this period. In some states, such as Alabama and Alaska, the average premium more than tripled.

The high average increase is not driven by a few outliers, as 23 out of the 39 states included in the analysis experienced premium increases in excess of 105 percent. Only three states, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, had cumulative premium increases below 50 percent.” - Memo to CBO: Obamacare Is Unsustainable,, 05/24/2017

Link to the entire article appears below:

Friday, May 12, 2017

ACA/Obamacare: Say Goodbye to Aetna

“Health insurance company Aetna (AET) announced Wednesday it will completely withdraw from the ObamaCare marketplace in 2018, a decision Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price perceived as a sign of continued instability in the health care sector under the Affordable Care Act.”

‘“At this time [we] have completely exited the exchanges,” Aetna said in a statement to FOX Business.

In April Aetna said it would not participate on the state exchanges in Virginia next year and last week committed to pulling out of Iowa. In 2016 the insurer sold plans across fifteen states. It trimmed that position to just four states at the outset of 2017, citing financial losses.

“Our individual Commercial products lost nearly $700 million between 2014 and 2016, and are projected to lose more than $200 million in 2017 despite a significant reduction in membership. Those losses are the result of marketplace structural issues that have led to co-op failures and carrier exits, and subsequent risk pool deterioration,” the company said Wednesday.’ - Aetna to Completely Pull Out of ObamaCare Exchanges by 2018, fox, 05/10/2017

Link to the entire article appears below:

The Highly Misused Terms of "Health care", "Medical care" and "Medical insurance".

"Media reports say that 20 million Americans will lose their “health care” under the Republican plan to replace ObamaCare, as if health care is like a cellphone, wallet, or item of clothing unintentionally left somewhere or stolen by someone.

Such confusion about “health care” stems from the misuse of the term itself. In common usage, the term “health care” is used as a synonym for “medical care” and “medical insurance,” although these terms have widely different meanings. This is more than an issue of semantics. There are serious policy implications of using the wrong words, and the misuse reflects an entitled attitude among the populace and lazy thinking by the media, academia, and politicians.

Health care means taking care of one’s health. It’s what one does to stay healthy—namely, to have a heathy diet, exercise, not abuse alcohol or drugs, and avoid risky behaviors.

Medical care or treatment is what you seek from medical professionals when you have a medical problem and aren’t in good health.

Medical insurance is what you obtain to protect yourself financially from a catastrophic illness or injury requiring expensive medical treatment. In insurance terms, you pool the risk with others."

Stop Misusing the Term "Health Care", FEE, 03/16/2017

Link to the entire article appears below:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Certificate-of-Need Laws [CON] and How Restricting Supply Leads to Higher Health-care Prices

“More than four decades ago, Congress passed and President Ford signed the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974. The act withheld federal funds from states that failed to adopt certificate-of-need (CON) laws regulating healthcare facilities. CON laws require healthcare providers wishing to open or expand a healthcare facility to first prove to a regulatory body that the community needs the planned services.”

“In 1986—as evidence mounted that CON laws were failing to achieve their stated goals—Congress repealed the federal act, eliminating federal incentives for states to maintain their CON programs. Since then, 15 states have done away with their CON regulations. A majority of states still maintain CON programs, however, and vestiges of the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act can be seen in the justifications that state legislatures offer in support of these regulations. Policymakers claim CON regulation is intended to:

ensure an adequate supply of healthcare resources,

ensure access to health care for rural communities,

promote high-quality health care,

ensure charity care for those unable to pay or for otherwise underserved communities,

encourage appropriate levels of hospital substitutes and healthcare alternatives, and
restrain the cost of healthcare services.

Research, however, shows that CON laws fail to achieve these laudable goals. In fact, by limiting supply and undermining competition, CON laws may undercut each of these aims.”

“CON programs limit the introduction and expansion of a wide variety of medical services and equipment, such as rehabilitation centers, nursing home beds, and medical imaging technologies. The process for obtaining a CON can take years and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. By definition, CON programs restrict supply, making them unlikely to ensure an adequate supply of healthcare resources. Research on the supply of dialysis clinics and hospice care facilities finds that CON programs do, indeed, restrict the supply of both.”

“Unlike other regulatory regimes, such as occupational licensure and scope-of-practice rules, CON regulations do not specifically aim to improve quality. That is, CON regulators typically do not attempt to assess whether providers are qualified to do their jobs, focusing instead on whether there is an economic “need” for their services. Nevertheless, CON advocates sometimes claim that because CON regulations reduce the number of institutions providing care, they will cause more procedures to be performed by the institutions that do obtain permission. Thus, the argument goes, practitioners in CON states will tend to see more patients with the same conditions and therefore might become more specialized and proficient. This theory must be weighed against competing theories that suggest that competition tends to increase quality, especially when regulations prevent price competition.”

“As economists Jon Ford and David Kaserman put it, “To the extent that CON regulation is effective in reducing net investment in the industry, the economic effect is to shift the supply curve of the affected service back to the left. . . . The effect of such supply shifts is to raise . . . [the] equilibrium price.” The empirical evidence on how CON regulation affects cost has been consistent with economic theory, showing that CON regulation tends to increase the cost of healthcare services.” Certificate-of-Need Laws, Mercatus Center, 04/17/2017

Link to the entire essay appears below: