Health Care Reform

Administration extends ObamaCare’s insurance exchange deadline

Following up on this morning’s story, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has extended the deadline for states to decide whether or not to participate in the ObamaCare’s state health insurance exchanges (emphasis mine):

Responding to governors who said they needed more time, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave states until December 14 to apply to operate their own exchanges. The deadline had been Friday.

The Obama Administration had argued that states were required to setup the exchanges, which will cost states anywhere from $10 million to $100 million to implement. The Supreme Court, however, shot that argument down, allowing states the option to participate in both the exchanges and Medicaid expansion, which will be even more costly to taxpayers.

As of this morning, 19 states have declined to participate in the health insurance exchanges and at least a few more are expected to opt-out.

States to decide on implementing parts of ObamaCare

Many opponents of ObamaCare believed that the battle was lost after the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the heart of the law — the individual mandate — this summer and after President Obama won re-election last week.

While these events all but ensure that the law will go into effect as planned, the Supreme Court’s decision did give states the ability to fight back against ObamaCare by allowing them to opt-out of the health insurance exchanges, which would cost millions for each state to implement and give the federal government control over picking and choosing what plans could be sold.

Today is the deadline for states to tell the federal government where or not they’re going to participate in the exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid, which is even more costly to taxpayers. Of course, this deadline is meaningless. As Michael Cannon recently explained it “is no more real than the ‘deadlines’ for implementing REAL ID, which have been pushed back repeatedly since 2008.”

Before the Supreme Court ruling, Cannon explained why the exchanges are a terrible idea and how states can limit the impact of the law by refusing to participate and how it could be good for states because it will make the cost of doing business cheaper:

Michael F. Cannon: Exploding Myths about ObamaCare’s IPAB

See Video

Doctors choose Romney over Obama


President Barack Obama and hsi apologists have spent months trying to convince Americans that ObamaCare, his signature domestic achievement, would do more to help make health care more affordable and, ostensibly, make the system better. But perhaps Americans should take note of a more important opinions in this election, such as those of their doctors. According to new survey, Mitt Romney is leading Obama among physicians:


If the election were held today, 55 percent of physicians reported they would vote for Romney while just 36 percent support Obama, according to a survey released by Jackson & Coker, a division of Jackson Healthcare, the third largest health care staffing company in the United States.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they were switching their vote from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012. The top reasons cited for this change was the Affordable Care Act and the failure to address tort reform.

Leadership style, failure to follow through on campaign promises, unemployment and the general state of the economy were also factors.

“Doctors are highly motivated this year to have their voice heard, particularly after passage of the Affordable Care Act,” said Sandy Garrett, president of Jackson & Coker. “No doubt, the health care law has stirred many passions in the medical community.”

ObamaCare’s ‘Essential Health Benefits’: Few States Implement, HHS ‘Is in Clear Violation of the Law’

Written by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

ObamaCare directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to define the “essential health benefits” that all consumers in the individual and small-group health insurance markets must purchase. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius kicked that decision to the states, giving them a deadline of this past Friday, September 30. Kaiser Health News reports that all of 16 states submitted an Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark to HHS by the deadline.

But did Sebelius have the authority to kick this decision to states? In a September 26 letter to Sebelius, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine writes:

[T]he PPACA clearly states that the Secretary of HHS is to define the EHB package for policies offered both inside and outside of health insurance exchanges. While the language in PPACA was plain that this statutory responsibility fell on HHS, in December of last year HHS issued guidance preliminarily indicating states must select a benchmark design, with HHS potentially acting as final arbiter…of that selection. (Emphasis added.)

Is September 30 even a deadline?

Some communications from your agency indicate that this is a suggested response date while others indicate that it is a deadline of some sort. We again are asking for clarity.

ObamaCare Is Pro-Market Like the Berlin Wall Was Pro-Migrant

Written by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Sunday’s New York Times features an opinion piece by J.D. Kleinke of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Kleinke’s thesis is that ObamaCare’s conservative opponents should stop complaining. “ObamaCare is based on conservative, not liberal, ideas.”

If one defines conservative ideas as those that emphasize free markets and personal responsibility, there is zero truth to this claim.

Healthcare premiums up $2,370 since 2009

You mad, bro?

When the debate over health care “reform” started in 2009, President Barack Obama told Americans that more government in order to lower healthcare costs. If anything, Medicare has taught us that government involvement in healthcare has driven up the cost of private health insurance.

The logic behind Obama’s premise was, well, flawed, to say the least. Medicare Actuary Richard Foster has publicly doubted cost savings from ObamaCare and even the architect of his healthcare plan admitted that ObamaCare would do nothing to rein in costs.

But a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that health insurance premiums have skyrocketed in the last few years. You’re shocked, I’m sure:

During his first run for president, Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500, and do so in his first term.

But it turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama’s vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey.

Premiums for employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from 2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370.

Here is a handy chart from Investor’s Business Daily showing the rise in premiums compared to Obama’s promise to magically lower premium costs:

insurance premiums on the rise

Obama on the economy: “I bear responsibility, to some degree”

Over the last few days, President Barack Obama has made some interesting statements. During a townhall event in Florida on Thursday, Obama, who rode into the White House on the rhetoric of “hope” and “change,” said, “You can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside.”

This is sort of odd. Obama has been in the White House for nearly a full term. He was able to get some domestic policies, such as the stimulus and his health care bill, passed through a then-Democratic Congress. And while Hopey McChangeypants promised that these and other parts of his economic agenda would bring the United States out of a slump, we’re still stuck with 8% unemployment and significant economic uncertainty.

A new video from Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) highlights what America is up against, after nearly four years of President Obama’s economic policies:

ObamaCare tax to hit 6 million uninsured Americans

You mad, bro?

According to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office, there is yet another concerning development thanks to ObamaCare that will make 6 million uninsured Americans — double the previous estimate — subject to the tax penalities that come as part of the ObamaCare’s individual mandate:

About 6 million Americans would have to pay a penalty under President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul for failing to get insurance, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated.

The agency said it now expects about 50 percent more people to be subject to the tax than it had previously anticipated. That’s partly because the CBO said it foresees higher unemployment, which translates into more people without employer-sponsored coverage.
The overhaul requires most legal residents to have coverage beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty that would be $695 in 2016 or 2.5 percent of a household’s income, whichever is larger. Most people wouldn’t be subject to the tax because they already have coverage, such as through their job.

This number will almost certainly increase as more businesses are overcome by the costs of insurance mandates and requirements that come with the law. They’ll simply opt to pay a less-expensive fine instead of carrying coverage on their employees. Sure, some of them may find luck in the healthcare exchanges set up by states, but others may not be able to afford coverage; and they’ll be subject to IRS penalties for non-compliance.

Romney touts his healthcare law during campaign stop


Mitt Romney has been under fire in the last couple of days thanks to comments made by Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman who cited RomneyCare to fight back against an untruthful attack ad from a pro-Obama “super PAC.” Conservatives are beside themselves over it, and understandably so given that RomneyCare was one of the reasons many of them refused get behind him during the primary.

Ann Coulter has suggested that Saul should be fired for the comment because the response was incredibly dumb. But others, like Philip Klein, note that Saul isn’t the problem, but Romney is because he “was a moderate to liberal governor of Massachusetts, and had to adopt conservative positions that he isn’t entirely comfortable with to win the Republican nomination, health care being the most prominent example.”

And while Saul is working with what she was given, Mitt Romney, who seems completely disconnected from why he struggled during the primary, cited his healthcare overhaul as part of his experience in dealing with the issue during a campaign stop yesterday:

Romney spoke Wednesday about health care in Des Moines, Iowa. One could be forgiven for thinking he sounded like a candidate who has grown increasingly reluctant to dismiss his most significant and successful public policy achievement.

“At the top of my list of programs we don’t need is one that costs $100 billion a year I’m going to get rid of and that’s Obamacare,” he said to cheers at a rally.

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