According to a new HealthPocket.com study, less than 2% of existing health plans for individuals provide all the Essential Health Benefits required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare). The author argues that this will mean people will have to pay for the government identified “gaps” in their coverage. The author also argues that the government has ineptly managed the Medicare and Medicaid, the two large public insurance programs for which it has been responsible for nearly half a century.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan told Fox News he plans to release a budget proposal that he says will balance the nation’s budget in 10 years and repeal Obamacare. The plan includes halting Medicaid expansion. He also wants states to run the federal low-income healthcare program through federal block grants. The budget plan faces certain rejection from Obama’s Democrats.
Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, last year’s Republican vice presidential nominee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that his forthcoming budget proposal will include repeal of “Obamacare,” as his party calls it. That position puts tea-party conservatives at odds with others in the GOP who want to find common ground with Obama on the nation’s fiscal woes after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the health law. U.S. Senate conservatives will press for a vote this week to delay funding for the health law as part of a bill that must pass to keep the government running beyond March 27, 2013.
The author argues that Sequestration’s $85 billion appears small compared to the overall federal budget, but doctors and hospitals are already suffering financially. A September 2012 analysis by Tripp Umbach claims that the 2 percent Medicare cut may result in the loss of 496,000 jobs in 2013.
The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, a summary of business conditions, specifically identifies that businesses are blaming The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for poor sales and slow hiring.
Under Obamacare law, if states do not set up their own insurance exchanges, then a federal exchange is set up. But the law stipulates that the subsidies apply to state-based exchanges, but not to federal ones. The IRS ruled that the subsidies should apply whether or not the exchange is a state or federal one. But Oklahoma has challenged that in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
Under Obamacare, 32 health care systems, known as the pioneers, are attempting to move Medicare away from paying doctors for volume and toward paying for value. Some health care systems testing this Accountable Care Organization model have asked Medicare to rethink its benchmarks for the program.
A TV commercial presented by an insurance industry trade group called the Coalition for Medicare Choices attempts to dissuade the government from imposing a 2.3% cut in federal payments to Medicare Adantage programs in 2014. However, the commercial fails to mention that the payment cuts are aimed at insurers, not beneficiaries.
Massachusetts law allows ways for insurers to reduce health insurance costs for small firms. Obamacare regulations, however, prohibits these, so that small businesses with fewer industry risks, a proactive wellness approach, and (relatively) more employees will end up subsidizing companies that would otherwise be more expensive to insure. Because small businesses and individuals are merged into one pool for risk assessment purposes, companies will also find themselves subsidizing the cost of coverage for people buying individual plans.
Obamacare is leading to many surprises. Small and mid-size firms may be opting out of Obamacare entirely, self-insuring themselves, and some businesses are demoting many full-time workers to part-time work, among other things.