18 Sep 2013 Health Care Odds & Ends: Exchanges, Exchanges…And Some Good News
–NCPPR study. Pardon me for starting this by tooting my own horn. Sean Parnell and I have written a new study titled, “ObamaCare Exchanges: Just Because You Are Eligible For a Subsidy Doesn’t Mean You Will Qualify for One.” It’s received some good coverage from the Washington Free Beacon and was the subject of an editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the Gazette:
Just as it seemed Obamacare couldn’t look much worse, a new study explains how it will quickly create a chasm between young and old.
The study, by the National Center for Public Policy Research, shows how The Great Divider’s health care overhaul will divide the old and young by depriving millions of young people the subsidies they were promised. In denuding younger Americans their subsidies, Obamacare will discourage them from buying insurance and undermine the economic viability of the program.
–Totally False? A report from JPMorgan was circulating earlier that the federal exchanges under ObamaCare will only be partially ready by October 1. In short, one would be able to view policies and prices of insurance on October 1 but would not be able to actually buy a policy. Being able to enroll would come sometime later. However, the Obama Administration had denied the report, calling it “totally false.” At this point, though, it is hard to give the Administration the benefit of the doubt. Regardless, we’ll know in about 13 days who is correct.
–Rocky Mountain Data Problem. The state-based exchange in Colorado is running into some problems with Medicaid data. From Health Policy Solutions website:
Twenty-two days before the slated opening of Colorado’s new health exchange, the project manager issued yet another red light warning, signaling that data-sharing with Colorado’s Medicaid systems may not work by Oct. 1 and that Connect for Health Colorado managers might have to shift to contingency plans.
On top of troubles meshing with the state’s Medicaid systems, managers at Connect for Health Colorado are contending with IT snafus from the federal government.
Read it all here.
–Unions Discontent. Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner chronicles how very unhappy unions have become with ObamaCare:
For nearly an hour last week, the AFL-CIO’s 2013 convention in Los Angeles could have been mistaken for a Tea Party rally.
One union leader after another took to the floor to bemoan the impact that the Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – would have on their members’ health care plans and to demand that President Obama fix this…
“We are seeing employer after employer cut hours so as to avoid the 30-hour definition of a full-time job. We are seeing this in our union,” said Loretta Johnson, AFT secretary-treasurer.
Several painted the problem in apocalyptic terms. Sheet Metal Workers International Association President Joe Nigro warned that if nothing is done, the membership losses would mean the AFL-CIO could hold their next convention in a building “one quarter” the size.
Laborers’ International Union of North America President Terry O’Sullivan talked openly of repeal.
Read more here.
And The Good News. The Republican Study Committee has put out a health-care reform plan to replace ObamaCare, and it is a definitely one that goes a long way toward promoting free-markets in health care. I’ll write more on it later, but for now know that the centerpiece is a standard deduction for health insurance of “$7,500 (individuals) or $20,000 (families) which will apply to income and payroll taxes.” What this means is that you can deduct those amounts from your taxes for your health insurance. If you choose a plan less than those amounts, you get to pocket the tax savings that result from the difference between the cost of your plan and the deduction. Applying it to payroll taxes as well as income taxes means that lower-income people can benefit from it as well, perhaps offering them an alternative to Medicaid. Two-page summary here, fuller explanation here.
Also worth reading:
-Greg Scandlen on “The Real Don Berwick.”
-From the journal Health Affairs: “Small Increases To Employer Premiums Could Shift Millions Of People To The Exchanges And Add Billion To Federal Outlays.”