Posted: June 25, 2015 Filed under: Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Death spiral (insurance), Health Insurance, Insurance, John Roberts, Obama administration, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court of the United States
5 Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Subsidies Ruling in King v. Burwell
Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the law in order to save it – again.
Posted: April 3, 2014 Filed under: Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Individual mandate, Insurance, Jim Geraghty, Keystone Pipeline, Obama administration, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, United States
Jim Geraghty writes: In recent weeks, we examined the Obama administration’s willingness to reverse positions that it had once proudly proclaimed — on whether an individual mandate is necessary, whether the individual mandate is a tax, whether it is important that you can keep your plan or doctor, whether lobbyists should work in a president’s administration, whether a donor should be appointed U.S. ambassador, and so on. Then we noted environmentalists who said they would not criticize or attack lawmakers who supported the Keystone Pipeline, as long as they were Democrats.
“What kind of a country do you get when political leaders are driven by a desire to feel that they are more enlightened, noble, tolerant, wise, sensitive, conscious, and smart than most other people?”
Last week, we expanded the discussion to progressives’ wide-ranging willingness to contradict their own professed principles: gun-control proponents who travel with armed bodyguards, voucher opponents who send their kids to private schools, and minimum-wage-hike advocates who pay their staff less than the minimum wage, among others.
So what do progressives really want? If, as I suspect, the currency of progressivism isn’t policies or results, but emotions, what does that approach build? What kind of a country do you get when political leaders are driven by a desire to feel that they are more enlightened, noble, tolerant, wise, sensitive, conscious, and smart than most other people?
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Posted: January 3, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: BAILOUTS, Charles Krauthammer, Insurance, media, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, White House
Charles Krauthammer writes: First order of business for the returning Congress: The No Bailout for Insurance Companies Act of 2014.
Make it one line long: “Sections 1341 and 1342 of the Affordable Care Act are hereby repealed.”
End of bill. End of bailout. End of story.
Why do we need it? On December 18, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers was asked what was the administration’s Plan B if, because of adverse selection (enrolling too few young and healthies), the insurance companies face financial difficulty.
Jason Furman wouldn’t bite. “There’s a Plan A,” he replied. Enroll the young.
But of course there’s a Plan B. It’s a government bailout.
Administration officials can’t say it for political reasons. And they don’t have to say it because it’s already in the Affordable Care Act, buried deep.
First, Section 1341, the “reinsurance” fund collected from insurers and self-insuring employers at a nifty $63 a head. (Who do you think the cost is passed on to?) This yields about $20 billion over three years to cover losses.
Then there is Section 1342, the “risk corridor” provision that mandates a major taxpayer payout covering up to 80 percent of insurance-company losses.
Never heard of these? That’s the beauty of passing a bill of such monstrous length. You can insert a chicken-soup recipe and no one will notice.
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Posted: December 3, 2013 Filed under: Economics, Politics, Think Tank, U.S. News | Tags: America's Health Insurance Plans, Barack Obama, Insurance, Obama administration, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Tom Daschle, White House
They Deserve Each Other
“Collaboration” between insurers and the administration, or revolving-door economics?
Andrew Stiles writes: Despite the myriad problems with Obamacare’s rollout, health-insurance companies are not tempering their support for the controversial law. The industry is even gearing up for an expensive “PR blitz” to enroll people in the exchanges, which should come as no surprise.
In the words of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, insurance companies are “not necessarily unbiased. They have a lot of skin in the game.” Indeed, one of the more peculiar aspects of the Obamacare debate has been the mainstream media’s apparent bemusement at the insurance industry’s support for a law that not only forces people to buy its products (which are necessarily more expensive under the law) but also offers direct taxpayer subsidies to help cover the cost, to the tune of nearly $500 billion over the next ten years.
It was hardly a shock when, in 2011, the industry’s largest lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, argued in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that, in the event that the individual mandate to purchase insurance was struck down, Obamacare should be scrapped entirely.
At the moment, insurance companies (and the Obama administration) are primarily focused on getting young, healthy individuals to sign up, and shell out, for plans offered on the exchanges. The companies may not appreciate the administration’s habit of blaming them for every setback, but they are so invested in Obamacare’s success at this point that they have few options other than to be team players.
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Posted: December 2, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: HealthCare.gov, Insurance, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Washington Post, Website, White House
note: This is an official White House photo WhiteHouse.gov
Peter Suderman writes: Is Obamacare back in action? For the last two months, Healthcare.gov, the federally run insurance portal at the heart of the law, has experienced numerous technical troubles. The administration vowed to fix those problems by the end of November, and today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it had met the goal of making sure that the site “worked smoothly” for the “vast majority of users.”
In a conference call this morning, a spokesperson for HHS said, “we believe we have met that goal.” A six-page progress report released by the administration this morning touts technical progress as well as managerial improvements, declaring that the team making the improvements is now “operating with private sector velocity and efficiency.”
Anyone else catch the irony there? Set up a vast, government-managed tech operation, watch it fail—and then, as it attempts to reboot itself, boast of private-sector quality work? (Also, let’s not forget that the original failed work was in fact done by private contractors working under the managerial bumbling of the federal health bureaucracy.) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 19, 2013 Filed under: Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Death spiral (insurance), George W. Bush, Insurance, Marco Rubio, Mark McClellan, Medicare, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Image source: Mad Magazine
Obamacare: So, what could go wrong next?
David Nather writes: Busted website, canceled policies, lousy early enrollment numbers. And that could be just the warmup.
Because the lesson of the last six weeks is that when it comes to the Obamacare rollout, if it can go wrong, it probably will.
‘It’s going to get worse’ –Bob Woodward
The stumble-filled debut of President Barack Obama’s health care law is drawing new attention to the other risks that have been on the radar screen of health care wonks for months. Think health insurance plans sinking under the weight of sick customers, newly insured people being stunned that they still have to spend on health care, and possibly another wave of canceled policies — right before the 2014 elections.
They’re mostly worst-case scenarios, and an Obamacare recovery in the next few months could still prevent some of the biggest ones from ever happening. But health care experts are taking all of them a lot more seriously now — because at this point, why wouldn’t they?
A complete list of possibilities could be overwhelming, but here are the main ones to watch:
This was always the worst of the worst-case scenarios: Only sick people enroll in the Obamacare health insurance plans, healthy people stay away, and everyone’s premiums rise out of control because there are no healthy people to cover the sick people’s costs.
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Posted: November 16, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Breaking news, Charles Krauthammer, Democratic, Fred Upton, Insurance, Obama, White House
President Obama’s so-called insurance fix is a scam that was meant to deflect blame from the White House, Charles Krauthammer said Friday night.
“He pretended to want to restore the plans to people who lost them,” Krauthammer said during a panel appearance on Special Report. “Because it is a sham. It was only intended to shift the blame. His intent is for these plans not to be renewed; he knows how impossible it will be.”
Krauthammer said that Obama knew how many insurance companies would refuse to renew canceled policies and how many state insurance commissioners would refuse the fix – ensuring that only a trickle of people re-enrolled in their old plans. However, had Obama not made that move, over 100 Democrats would’ve voted for Representative Fred Upton’s (R., Mich.) bill to extend canceled insurance policies a year.
“That would’ve been a rebellion against him and he would lose, as a second term president, complete control of the party and been a lame-duck less than a year into the second term,” Krauthammer said.
National Review Online