Ramifications of The Affordable Care Act, in terms of actual costs and personal impacts on the American People, continues as a story about the states, including the Midwest.
A new report in Human Events (online, Sept. 9) says It is anticipated Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska rates will rise as much as 19.5 percent. This is according to a “rate sheet”, as prepared by the State of Nebraska Insurance Department.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield, according to Human Events, is placing the blame on Obamacare-mandated benefits, higher use of medical services, and ACA related taxes and charges.
Also, according to Human Events, Bruce Ramge, head of the Nebraska Department of Insurance says, “Under the federal Affordable Care Act, it appears that resulting health insurance costs will be Increasing for most Nebraskans.”
The summer of 2014 has seen its share of reversals for the Affordable Care Act. Including waves of negative comments regarding its Web site, HealthCare.gov. This information comes from a recent report in the Hill (9/9). Included in the report are the 48 percent of Americans questioned who say arguments over the Affordable Care Act should cease.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., an Arkansas incumbent is campaigning on healthcare reform this year. He released an ad last month to highlight the ways that the law could have potentially aided him in his own cancer fight. Yet he did not mention the Affordable Care Act by name the name during the 30-second ad, according to the Hill report.
The Medical Device Tax, as provided for under provision(s) of the Affordable Care Act continues collecting less revenue than at first believed it would. Approximately one third of medical device manufacturers in the United States surveyed by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (Adva Med) say they have drastically cut their research and development outlays (in 2013) due to the Medical Device Tax. These latest details of the impact of the Medical Device Tax on manufacturers are by Sally Pipes, writing in Forbes (Sept. 9). The Forbes piece quotes Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is on record as saying the tax, “disproportionately impacts the small companies with the narrowest financial margins and the broadest innovative potential [and] pushes companies of all sizes to cut back on research and development for life-saving products.”
On a recent Kaiser Health News Web page report, is a re-cap of three news stories in the Washington Post, the Fiscal Times, and Politico Pro. The Fiscal Times Report (Sept. 9) says that while the Affordable Care Act has reduced the uninsured rates for those with meager earnings, inclusive of minorities and those at the age of majority – or older, the same does not apply to children. Additionally, according to the Washington Post’s Wonkblog page, Sept. 9, as cited by Kaiser, a study by both the Urban Institute and Georgetown Center for Children and Families found no “statistically significant change” in the levels of those uninsured – - who are 17 and under.
Any positive news is found among children younger than the age of 18. Their uninsured rate stands around 7 percent. But that is due to prior burgeoning of Medicaid and The Children’s Health Program, according to the Washington Post.
Also according to the Kaiser account, Politico Pro recently pointed out (9/9) many eligible children have not been signed up for coverage.
According to another recent article in the Washington Times (Tom Howell, Sept. 9) healthcare plan terminations related to the Affordable Care Act stand as the “political weapon of choice”, for those seeking to connect Barack Obama to their Democratic political opponents. For example, Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican going up against Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado – prefers to impress upon voters that his own family’s healthcare was a casualty of Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act continues its poor showings in surveys. This translates to 47 percent possessing an unfavorable view of Obamacare; also translating into 35 percent who see or regard it in a positive light, according to the Washington Times.
Proposed legislation being put forth by the House Rules Committee would allow insurers to offer the type of employer-based health insurance coverage; the kind not in compliance with current ACA’s coverage standards – - for several more years.
According to an article by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn in The Washington Times (online 9/8) the Obamacare Web site, HealthCare.gov, still needs revamping. Blackburn recounts that between the years 2009 to 2014 the White House granted some 60 contracts to those who would construct the notoriously botched federal healthcare Web site. The payouts for such agreements? $500 million. On top of those, an additional $300 million.
Blackburn Washington Times article also contends that the promised healthcare under the Affordable Care Act has not materialized. Blackburn adds, constituents are telling politicians that healthcare actually now costs more – even in spite of the federal ACA subsidies. Coinsurance has gone up also.
All of this has made Obamacare advocates less sure of themselves – about Obamacare. Initially, supporters of the Affordable Care Act promised annual health insurance premium decreases of $2,500, which have not occurred.
Many Americans are anxious to see the Affordable Care Act scrapped altogether. They would also like to see Republicans come up with a viable alternative, one with reduced costs while ensuring freedom; and one guaranteeing those wanting to purchase health insurance could do so. One offering an alternative to Obamacare is Lanhee Chen, a former policy advisor to Mitt Romney. Chen actually embraces Avik Roy’s recent proposals, which “refine and enlarge Obamacare” (The Weekly Standard, online, Sept. 2).
Chen is for ACA repeal, but in a different way. He would like to see attempts at “reform” first, followed by improvements made to it.
Is the recent Halbig decision by the U.S. Supreme Court a setback for freedom? “Only if you assume that having health insurance is a burden”, according to Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times (online, Sept. 2). Nicholas Bagley of the University of Michigan observes, this is true only under a very bizarre definition of “freedom.” The decision in the case of Halbig v. Burwell, back in July, by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, discarded premium cost subsidies for buyers of health insurance in 36 states relying on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange to offer health plans to their residents, as opposed to having set up their own exchanges, or marketplaces – to begin with.
Bagley adds, “Yes, if the Halbig challengers prevail, millions of people would be exempt from the mandate penalty. But that just means they’d be free to decline coverage that, without tax credits, they can’t afford anyhow. What kind of freedom is that? Many, if not most affected people in the 36 states, he says, would still be required to buy insurance. It just would no longer be affordable.”
Many across the U.S. may be receiving monthly bills for substantially increased health insurance premiums. According to a recent report in the Washington Times (online, Sept. 3) those Americans are at the least starting to shop around for brand new health insurance coverage. This is being done as advance preparation for the new open enrollment season this fall. They’re also possibly discovering that the new health policies under Obamacare reflect starkly increasing costs, and – that here are no less expensive alternatives.
Also, according to the Washington Times report, President Obama’s Gallup Poll approval stands at 39 percent approving, with 54 percent negatively viewing the president’s job performance.
These latest survey findings and the increasing premiums may help and to return The Affordable Care Act to front and center in the fall Midterm Elections. When the Democratically controlled Senate passed Obamacare in 2009, one of its main provisions compelled health insurers, drug companies, hospitals, as well as health care centers, to share the $2 trillion cost – spread over the next 10 years. Yet, President Obama postponed this requirement. Now, as things stand, as of Sept. 30, 2014, insurers will have to pony up some $8 billion – which will eventually come from policyholders, ultimately bearing the full brunt of it.
According to D. Taylor, who is president of hospitality workers union ‘Unite Here’, a new website is being launched: Obamacarefixit.org. And according to his Huffington Post Politics Web page post (Sept. 2) Unite Here’s membership now stands approximately at 270,000 – those employed primarily in the hospitality industry. Taylor adds in his Huffington Post article: “As with every major piece of legislation, especially those involving health care, the ACA wasn’t perfect. But, it can – and should – be fixed.” Taylor continues, “Unfortunately, without smart fixes, many Americans will lose coverage, have their hours cut or receive less comprehensive coverage.”
Unite Here’s new Obamacare monitoring Web site will also:
• Check ACA success rates coverage expansion.
• Monitor how food and hospitality corporations look for loopholes and other opportunities to discontinue employee health insurance coverage.
• Review applicable, impacting IRS and Treasury Department rulings.