By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
The Trump administration announced Thursday it will allow states to impose work requirements on abled-bodied adults to qualify for Medicaid. This marks the first time the federal government has allowed any kind of work requirement for Medicaid eligibility—and it’s about time.
On the surface, work requirements for Medicaid might seem cruel or punitive. After all, Medicaid is supposed to provide health coverage to the poor and disabled, the most vulnerable among us. As a policy proposal, work requirements may seem almost tailor-made to make Republicans look cold and heartless.
But the reality is that Medicaid, like most federal and state welfare programs, has gotten so out of control and strayed so far from its original purpose that imposing work requirements on able-bodied adults will actually help enrollees far more than Medicaid coverage will, mostly by giving them a strong incentive to secure full employment. Continue reading
By Scott Rasmussen • Real Clear Politics
President Trump has perfected the art of antagonizing his opponents with provocative tweets. He demonstrated this skill recently in declaring that the tax reform act, by repealing the Obamacare mandate, had effectively repealed Obamacare.
This generated a number of stories from left-leaning pundits pointing out that there’s a lot more to Obamacare than the mandate. Sarah Kliff, writing for Vox.com, noted that many Republican voters believed the president and hoped that would bring an end to efforts to undo the rest of Obamacare.
But many Republicans in Congress seem intent on continuing to fight for repeal of the controversial law. A skeptical report in The Hill noted that the GOP had tried and failed to accomplish that goal in 2017. In their view, “nothing significant has changed since then that would now make the path easier. In fact, the obstacles appear even greater now that Democrat Doug Jones has been elected to the Senate from Alabama.”
by Kimberly Leonard • Washington Examiner
The price of premiums for Obamacare’s mid-level plans are set to rise by an average of 34 percent next year, according to an analysis by the consulting firm Avalere Health.
These mid-level, or silver, plans are considered to be benchmark plans for people who sign up for Obamacare’s health insurance. Premiums for bronze, gold, and platinum plans will rise by an average of 18 percent, 16 percent, and 24 percent, respectively, compared to last year.
Average premium increases varied by state, the analysis found. Iowa will have the highest jump in average silver premium, of 69 percent, while Alaska will have a decrease in premiums of 22 percent. Alaska’s plan was lower this year because the state set up a reinsurance program in which state and federal funds paid for the medical claims of high-cost enrollees. Continue reading
By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
At the risk of interrupting our endless culture wars with some boring policy health policy news, congressional Republicans are on track to allow a brand new Obamacare tax to take effect next year, making health insurance even more expensive for millions of Americans. Beginning in January 2018, an Obamacare tax on health insurance plans for individuals and small businesses will go into effect—unless the GOP-controlled Congress delays it.
They’ve delayed it before. The tax was in place from 2014 to 2016, but in December 2015, Congress placed a one-year moratorium on collecting the tax for all of 2017, an estimated $13.9 billion. If the tax is allowed to go back into effect next year, it’ll be at a higher level, hauling in an estimated $14.3 billion and affecting more than 11 million households buying insurance on the individual market and 23 million households who are insured through small employers. Continue reading
By Jim Geraghty • National Review
I’m headed up to New York City today, appearing on CNN to discuss Senator Bernie Sanders’ latest proposal for “single-payer” health care and on CNN International to discuss – well, something, possibly the Sanders proposal, perhaps something else.
The coverage of health care rarely suggests that public support for single payer is a mile wide but an inch deep. But this Kaiser poll from July is usefully illustrative. It found that a majority (55 percent) supports “single-payer,” but when respondents hear the argument that it would give the government “too much control,” then 61 percent oppose it.
When you mention the tax increases, 60 percent oppose single-payer. This concept does not enjoy ironclad support from the masses. Continue reading
By Stephen Moore • Washington Post
The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting with every passing day. A group of “moderate” Republicans calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus is quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges.
This bailout, of course, would be an epic betrayal by a Republican Party which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling Obama health law.
Republicans who are “negotiating” this bipartisan deal, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, object to the term “bailout” for this rescue package. The left prefers the euphemism “stabilizing the insurance market.” Continue reading
by Scott Erhlich • The Federalist
Why do single-payer health care supporters treat it like an unassailable good? Even if you can point to a place like Denmark, with 5 million people and little ethnic diversity, why do people think we can transport that into a country of 330 million ethnically diverse individuals with the same results? After all, we couldn’t even get Americans to buy into the infinitely easier metric system, but they are going to enjoy higher taxes to pay for rationed health care?
I’m not here to bash single-payer because it’s European. I’m also not a fan of socialism in principle, but if there is a way to provide better care at a cheaper price, then I’d be all for it, even if that would make me an awful libertarian. But the arguments I hear for single-payer nationwide are full of ridiculous extrapolations, economically illiterate assumptions, and pie in the sky dreams of willing, abundant, qualified providers to treat these hundreds of millions of patients. I’m willing to listen, but the arguments need to be better.
I recently debated a very accomplished doctor and single-payer supporter. Single-payer is more efficient because it doesn’t have to take into account profits, she said. It reduces administrative costs, there’s less waste, fraud, and abuse, and therefore even conservatives would be stupid not to jump on this opportunity. Continue reading
The Maryland legislature has recently passed a law, H.B. 631, that will harm patient access to affordable generic medications. It will go into effect later this year without the Governor’s signature, due to his concerns that the law has serious constitutional deficiencies and would likely restrict Marylander’s access to effective, affordable generic drugs.
Sadly, Maryland has jumped off a proverbial cliff and will harm its own citizens while cynically claiming to protect them. Perhaps Maryland is a lost cause, but the more interesting question is will other states follow Maryland over the cliff? Continue reading
By Scott Ehrlich • The Federalist
On the day the American Health Care Act passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the hashtag #IAmAPreExistingCondition was trending on Twitter. At the time I saw it, there were about 65,000 tweets on it.
Earlier that day, I had read in a different article that at its peak only 115,000 were members of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a high-risk insurance program established as a bridge between pre-Obamacare coverage and the establishment of its exchanges. This brought to mind two key realizations: people care very much about those with pre-existing conditions and want to see them taken care of, but it’s also not a huge number of people and it’s very hard and expensive to insure them no matter what mechanism Americans use.
How People with Pre-Existing Conditions Get Insurance Continue reading
By Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has announced that it will exit all Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018 after experiencing massive losses in 2016 and 2017.
Aetna announced in August of last year that it would scale back its participation in the Obamacare exchanges in 2017—from operating in 778 counties to 242—citing losses of more than $430 million since January 2014. At that time, the company said it would still operate in four states: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska, and Virginia.
Earlier this month, the company said it would exit the exchanges in both Iowa and Virginia, saying the insurer has continued to face profitability headwinds from individual commercial products. The company even went so far as to set aside a fund to buffer it from projected losses. Continue reading
By Brian Frankie • The Federalist
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, a.k.a. Obamacare) has been an utter mess. From passage in 2010 with procedural gimmicks to implementation in 2013 with unworkable software, from the loss of doctors and health plans millions wanted to keep to escalating premiums and insurers dropping out of the market, Obamacare has fallen short of nearly every conceivable goal of health-care reform.
There’s one single exception: Obamacare has dramatically expanded health insurance coverage. This single remaining reason explains why it retains the support of progressives and a significant chunk of the electorate. All other considerations are secondary, if not irrelevant. More people have health insurance, so more people are benefitting from improved health outcomes and access to care.
There is only one simple flaw in this reasoning. It does not appear to be true. Continue reading
By Ben Southwood • National Review
Health care in the United States is famous for three things: It’s expensive, it’s not universal, and it has poor outcomes. The U.S. spends around $7,000 per person on health care every year, or roughly 18 percent of GDP; the next highest spender is Switzerland, which spends about $4,500. Before Obamacare, approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population were persistently uninsured (8.6 percent still are). And as this chart neatly shows, their overall outcome on the most important variable — overall life expectancy — is fairly poor.
But some of this criticism is wrongheaded and simplistic: when you slice the data up more reasonably, U.S. outcomes look impressive, but being the world’s outlier is much more expensive than following behind. What’s more, most of the solutions people offer just don’t get to the heart of the issue: If you give people freedom they’ll spend a lot on health care. Continue reading
By Christopher Jacobs • The Federalist
Last week, Vox ran a story featuring individuals covered by Obamacare, who live in fear about what the future holds for them. They included people who opened small businesses because of Obamacare’s coverage portability, and worry that the “career freedom” provided by the law will soon disappear.
Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Vox didn’t ask this small business owner—who also happens to be an Obamacare enrollee—for his opinions on the matter. Like the enrollees in the Vox profile, I’m also incredibly worried about what the future holds, but for a slightly different reason: I’m worried for our nation about what will happen if Obamacare ISN’T repealed.
What Obamacare Hasn’t Done For Me
Unlike many of the individuals in the Vox story, I am a reluctant Obamacare enrollee—literally forced to buy coverage on the District of Columbia’s Exchange because Washington, D.C. abolished its private insurance market. Continue reading
by Scott Lloyd • The Federalist
We remember the refrain from the run-up to Obamacare that 40 million Americans are without insurance, and we now have its echo in the Congressional Budget Office report that its repeal could lead to 18 million uninsured. Both of these figures are irrelevant.
If I have a broken leg, as a wounded person I want treatment that will heal it, and I don’t want it to ruin me financially. If I can get affordable care without health insurance, what difference is it to me that I have insurance? Similarly, if I have health insurance and the leg doesn’t get healed, or I am financially ruined, or both, what good is health insurance to me?
When discussing Obamacare replacements, we make a mistake when we focus too much on health insurance. Americans need health care. Universal health care could happen for every American in any number of ways that do not involve universal health insurance and all of the problems that it entails. Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
The average deductible for a silver plan through the Affordable Care Act, one of the law’s most popular health insurance plans, is projected to jump 20 percent to $3,703, according to a report from Avalere Health.
Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), the nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, said at his confirmation hearing that while many individuals have coverage through Obamacare, some of them are not getting the care they need because they cannot afford their deductible.
“I get calls almost weekly from my former fellow physicians who tell me that their patients are making decisions about not getting the care that they need because they can’t afford the deductible,” Price said. Continue reading