Posts Tagged ‘premiums

13
Aug
14

ObamaCare Is Not Collapsing And That Makes The GOP Mad

Image: Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

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Joshua Green: Dire Obamacare Prediction Falls Hilariously Flat

The story of Obamacare over the last year has in many ways been a story about how the various claims made by conservatives about why the law would collapse have systematically fallen apart as the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect. The website debacle was so bad that nobody was going to sign up. Actually, lots of people signed up. The net number of people insured was going to go down, not up, because Obamacare would force insurers to cancel their plans.

Nope, the uninsured rate has gone down. One of the scariest claims was that premiums were going to shoot up because only the sick and the old would sign up. Back in March, the Hill published a representative story under the headline, “O-Care Premiums to Skyrocket.” Here we are five months later, and those insurance officials have begun reporting their premium increases for next year. To put it mildly, those increases do not seem to fit the definition of “skyrocketing.”

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Wendell Potter: Dire Predictions About Doctor Shortage Post-Obamacare Haven’t Panned Out

Among the many predictions of Obamacare-related catastrophe was that the law, by enabling millions to join the ranks of the insured, would force us all to wait longer to see a doctor and very possibly lead to a code blue for U.S. health care. “Doctor shortage, increased demand could crash health care system,” A CNN report warned last October. A few months earlier, a Forbes headline predicted that, “Thanks to Obamacare, a 20,000 Doctor Shortage Is Set to Quintuple.”To find out if the critics’ were prescient or way off base, Kaiser Health News reporter Phil Galewitz went looking for problems. He didn’t find many. “Five months into the biggest expansion of health coverage in 50 years,” he wrote after interviewing officials from more than two dozen health centers and multi-group practices across the country, “there are few reports of patients facing major delays getting care.”

One reason the system has not been overwhelmed is that, although we might not have as many doctors as some think we should have, we do have a rapidly growing supply of mid-level medical providers — like physician assistants and nurse practitioners — who now treat many of our health problems. It probably won’t be long before most of us are treated — and treated just fine — by a well-trained professional who doesn’t have an M.D. after his or her name. A couple of weeks ago, I sustained an injury that my wife felt was serious enough that I should either go to the ER or see my doctor. When I called my doctor’s office, I was told that while the doctor was on vacation, a nurse practitioner could see me right away. And she did. And I lived to tell about it.

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08
Aug
14

ObamaCare: Helping Millions? ✓ Strengthening Medicare? ✓

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Alex Wayne: Medicare Reduces Payments For 2015 Hospital Admissions

Medicare, the U.S. program for the elderly and disabled, said payments for hospital admissions would fall $756 million next year as penalties stiffen for patients who return too early. Payments for inpatient services at about 3,400 acute-care hospitals will be cut about 0.6 percent in 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a regulatory filing,

including reductions in funding for hospitals who provide care for many low-income patients, those with too many patients who contract infections while admitted and higher penalties for readmissions within 30 days. The Obama administration has applauded reduced Medicare spending for hospital admissions, a trend encouraged by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that has added 13 years to the life of Medicare’s key trust fund.

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Tony Carrk: Conservatives Want You To Pay More For The Health Plan You Like

The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is working: The uninsured rate has fallen dramatically since the law went into effect. Newly released data published in The New England Journal of Medicine show that 10.3 million adults gained coverage during the first open enrollment period. According to a recent Commonwealth Fund survey, 60 percent of those with new coverage said they used their coverage to go to the doctor or hospital or to fill a prescription; 62 percent of those people said they would not have been able to do so without their new coverage. Moreover, of those who were looking for a doctor, two-thirds said they were able to get an appointment within two weeks. People are happy with their coverage. Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they were either somewhat

satisfied or very satisfied with their new coverage. This is about the same rate as those reported by both people who were previously insured and by those who newly gained coverage. Even 74 percent of self-identified Republicans reported being satisfied with their coverage. The ACA has not only led to millions of Americans getting health care coverage, but it has also benefited the country as a whole. Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, reported that the ACA is helping slow the growth rate of health care costs, which has positive consequences for the federal budget. It is also helping strengthen the solvency of Medicare.

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The New England Journal Of Medicine: Health Reform And Changes In Health Insurance Coverage In 2014

In this analysis of nationally representative survey data from January 2012 through June 2014, we found a significant decline in the uninsured rate among nonelderly adults that coincided with the initial open-enrollment period under the ACA. These changes remained highly significant after adjustment for potential confounders such as employment, demographic characteristics, and income. As compared with the baseline trend, the uninsured rate declined by 5.2 percentage points by the second quarter of 2014, a 26% relative decline from the 2012–2013 period. Combined with 2014 Census estimates of 198 million adults 18 to 64 years of age, this corresponds to 10.3 million adults gaining coverage, although depending on the model and confidence intervals,

our sensitivity analyses imply a wide range from 7.3 to 17.2 million adults. Absolute gains were largest among young adults and Hispanics, two groups with high uninsured rates at baseline. We found evidence that within the first 6 months of gaining insurance, more adults reported having a personal doctor and fewer had difficulties paying for medical care — even though the latter measure asked about the prior 12 months. These results are consistent with studies of previous insurance expansions that have shown that gains in coverage can lead to rapid improvements in access. In conclusion, we found that the number of Americans without health insurance declined significantly since the ACA open-enrollment period began in October 2013.

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27
Jun
14

ObamaCare: Less Than The Price Of Cable

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German Lopez: Millions Of Americans Are Paying Less For Obamacare Than Cable

Subsidized shoppers on HealthCare.gov are paying, on average, $82 monthly premiums for health plans, new data from the US Department of Health and Human Services shows. The report, published Wednesday, is the most in-depth look available so far at the prices that federal marketplace shoppers will pay for private health coverage. It shows the vast majority of shoppers will use federal subsidies to pay for insurance, significantly reducing their monthly price tag. Senior HHS officials, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday, emphasized the report’s findings to show that Obamacare is keeping prices low for shoppers and bringing new competition to the insurance markets.

To the Obama administration, the report is more evidence the health-care law is working as intended. About 87 percent of subsidized HealthCare.gov shoppers had at least part of their premium covered with tax credits, which are available to low and middle-income Americans. How much shoppers paid depended largely on how generous of an insurance plan they selected. After accounting for subsidies, enrollees paid an average of $69 per month for the least-generous bronze plan to an average of $220 per month for the most-generous platinum plan. As a result of the subsidies, about two-thirds of HealthCare.gov shoppers who qualified for tax credits are paying $100 or less each month for health insurance.

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German Lopez: Gallup: Most Newly Insured Americans Used Obamacare’s Exchanges

One in 20 Americans report being newly insured in 2014, and more than half of the newly insured say they obtained health insurance through Obamacare’s exchanges, according to new data from Gallup. Gallup previously found the nation’s uninsured rate remains at 13.4 percent after a peak of 18 percent last year. That finding, along with the new data, suggests that Obamacare helped millions of Americans gain health insurance after open enrollment began last October.

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18
Jun
14

The Affordable Care Act Lives Up To Its Name

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Columbus Dispatch: Obamacare Premiums Average $80 A Month

People who signed up for coverage under President Barack Obama’s health-care law are paying about $80 a month in premiums on average, the administration reported yesterday. The new numbers from the Health and Human Services Department cover only the 36 states where the federal government took the lead in setting up new insurance markets, accounting for about 5.4 million of the 8 million people who signed up nationally. Major states like California and New York were not included, but that might not affect national averages by much. The law limits what people pay for a benchmark plan to a fixed share of their income, regardless of where they live.

Among the major findings: • Taxpayers are subsidizing 76 percent of the average monthly premium in the 36 federally administered markets. • The average premium is $346 a month, but the typical enrollee pays just $82. Tax credits averaging $264 a month cover the difference. The government pays the subsidy directly to insurers. • After tax credits, Mississippians paid the least for coverage — averaging just $23 a month on average premiums of $438.

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Alex Walsh: Obamacare Side Effect: Alabama Medicaid Enrollment Goes Over 1 Million Due To Awareness, Rule Changes

Alabama has so far rejected the federal government’s proposal to expand Medicaid. Regardless, the Affordable Care Act still had the effect of increasing the size of Alabama’s Medicaid rolls. Medicaid enrollment in Alabama jumped up noticeably in January 2014, from around 970,000 to just over 1 million. Part of the reason behind the increase was a rule change enacted by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA required the state to transfer about

23,000 children from ALL Kids (Alabama’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP) over to the Medicaid rolls. Health care analysts also say that the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act brought a new wave of attention to health insurance, motivating many Americans to check their eligibility for various existing programs. This effect has been called “wood working” by some organizations, including Kaiser.

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Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Letter To The Editor: Affordable Care Act Feels Like I Won The Lottery

I must add my so so appreciative voice to all the press about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I must say it is the best thing that has come along in my lifetime since “sliced bread.” My husband and I paid $14,520 in premiums alone this year for very high deductible policies. The ACA is allowing the premium cost to stay within 9.5 percent of your income if you are in the 400 percent above poverty income range. Our premiums were well above that percentage of our income.

This high premium stuff with riders and coinsurance has been going on for us since 2007 when we lost our group coverage, with hugely increasing premiums every year. Before we got any help from insurance our out-of-pocket would have been $30,000. Our joined premium per month will be $660 and our maximum out-of-pocket for care will be $3,250 each. I feel like I won the lottery: no riders and no preexisting Blue Cross policies with nationwide providers.

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22
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago: “The President hugs Stephanie Davies, who helped her friend, Allie Young, left, stay alive after she was shot during the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. The President visited patients and family members affected by the shootings at the University of Colorado Hospital. Photo by Pete Souza, July 22, 2012

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The Week Ahead:

Today:

3:0: The President meets with Secretary of State Kerry

7:25: Delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (Open Press)

8:10: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)

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Tuesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

Wednesday: He will travel to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri for events on the economy

Thursday: He will welcome President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam to the White House. In the afternoon, the President will travel to Jacksonville, Florida for an event on the economy. On Thursday evening, he will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

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Time: Drawing renewed attention to the economy, President Barack Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency.

The address Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first in a new series of economic speeches that White House aides say Obama intends to deliver over the next several weeks ahead of key budget deadlines in the fall. A new fiscal year begins in October, and the government will soon hit its borrowing limit.

…. The president will also speak Wednesday at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo.

More here – and more at the NYT

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AP: Survey: Brighter U.S. Economic Outlook Boosts Hiring

Companies are increasingly confident the economy will grow at a modest pace over the next year and are hiring more, according to a survey of business economists.

Nearly one-third of the economists surveyed said their companies added jobs in the April-June quarter …. That’s the highest percentage in nearly two years. And 39 percent expect their firms will hire more in the next six months. That’s near the two-year high of 40 percent reached in the January-March quarter.

…. Optimism about future economic growth increased. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents forecast growth of 2.1 percent or more over the next 12 months. That’s up from two-thirds in the first quarter survey, released in April, and the most in a year.

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ThinkProgress: No, Obamacare Won’t Raise Insurance Premiums In Indiana By 72 Percent

On Friday, the Indiana Department of Insurance announced that initial rates submitted by individual health plan providers for the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace would cost 72 percent more than currently available plans …. Gov. Mike Pence’s (R) administration was quick to use the figures to criticize the health law….

The problem is, the Department of Insurance didn’t really release “data” in the plural — it released a single data point. The $570 per month figure is the average of all of the submitted rates, including cheaper plans with less benefits (so-called “Bronze” and “Silver” level plans) as well as the more generous and expensive “Gold” and “Platinum” level plans. That’s like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis — technically true, but highly misleading.

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And see Jonathan Cohn – ‘Hoosier Hustle? Another Dubious Attack on Obamacare’

Also too – ThinkProgress: Tea Party Senator Concedes Defeat: We Won’t Be Able To Fully Repeal Obamacare

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USA Today: Vice President Biden is off on a six-day trade and diplomatic trip to India and Singapore.

…. The vice president and his wife Dr Jill Biden land Monday in New Dehli; they will travel to Mumbai later this week …. they arrive Thursday in Singapore…

… The Bidens will stop in Hawaii on their way back to the United States; they return to Washington on Sunday.

More here

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

19
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern):

10:45: Rep. Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Briefing (C-Span)

11:30: VP Biden meets with law enforcement officials to discuss common sense immigration reform

1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:0: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host the Diplomatic Corps Reception (Closed press)

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Occupy Democrats: Watch a Doctor Destroy a Koch Brother-Funded Anti-Obamacare Ad in 2 Minutes:

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The Hill: The Obama administration on Thursday highlighted lower-than-expected premiums for healthcare plans sold through ObamaCare’s new insurance marketplaces.

In the 11 states that have released rates for next year, premiums for a middle-of-the-road plan are an average of 18 percent cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office had expected.

…. New York is the latest state to report that premiums for plans offered through its exchange would be cheaper than expected — and, on average, 50 percent cheaper than comparable policies available in the state today …. California also reported lower-than-expected premiums…

Six states have released rate filings for plans available to small businesses through a separate exchange. Those policies are also an average of 18 percent cheaper than existing coverage options, HHS said.

Full post here

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Jonathan Cohn: The Obamacare Train Still Hasn’t Wrecked

President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks — some real, some imagined — and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe. They are almost certainly wrong.

Ironically, one of the best reasons to believe in Obamacare may be the very issue that has inspired so much chortling on the right: The insurance premiums for people who buy on their own, because they don’t get coverage from an employer or through a government program.

Insurers around the country have already submitted bids…. they are coming in lower than most experts had predicted….

…. it means the overall price of Obamacare — the amount of money the government must spend, in order to make the law function — is going to be even lower than predicted.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Most Media Coverage Ignores Premium Drop, Focuses On GOP Effort To Undermine Obamacare

Early on Wednesday, as House Republicans prepared to vote for a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer and individual mandates, New York state officials announced that health care premiums in the new exchange will plummet by at least 50 percent as a result of the law.

For reform advocates, the story represented a reprieve from the constant drum beat of media coverage about implementation delays, predictions of rate shock, and employers dropping coverage. But a ThinkProgress analysis of television reports about the health care law for Wednesday, July 18th, confirms that even with good news to report, bookers and segment producers are still far more interested in broadcasting stories about the political brinkmanship in Washington, DC than the actual, tangible progress of implementation.

More here

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Steve Benen: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act did not actually strike down the entire civil-rights law, but rather, gutted it by rejecting Section 4 of the VRA. The burden then shifted to Congress to find a remedy …. Yesterday, the House held its first hearing on the VRA since the court ruling, and if the public comments were any indication, the odds of success in the near future appear long…

Most of the Republican members of the panel apparently didn’t think the hearing was especially important – which is to say, they didn’t show up ….

… Anyone predicting congressional Republicans might do the right thing on voting rights should probably adjust their expectations accordingly. GOP policymakers at the state level are rushing to impose new restrictions to keep voters from participating in their own democracy, and GOP policymakers at the federal level appear content to do nothing to stop them.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: Some Voting Rights Act Fakery

As part of our Summer Of Fakery, the House allegedly has taken up the job of repairing the damage done to the Voting Rights Act that occurred when John Roberts declared the day of jubilee. One of the witnesses today was Hans von Spakovsky, who’s been scamming this particular scam for over a decade now. Anyway, this is what von Spakovsky was peddling today.

“[That section] was an unprecedented, extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty……..”

…. Not to bring that pesky Constitution into things again, but here’s an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty:

Amendment XIII: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction…..

…. If you want to understand why modern conservatives seem so impatient with settled law, remember that they owe their modern ascendancy to the people who refused to accept any of these three Amendments because they didn’t believe the freaking Civil War changed anything.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: On Thursday, three Texas Republicans filed a measure that would criminalize abortion services after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant.

The Texas legislature is currently in the midst of a special session that was convened specifically to give lawmakers more time to consider abortion restrictions. The session will end on July 31. Until then, GOP lawmakers have been busy proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills in the hopes of being able to rush them through.

More here

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’




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