Don’t Buy the Hype: Medicaid Expansion Would be a Disaster for Idaho

By Charles Katebi
The Heartland Institute, Sept. 19, 2018

If voters approve the ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in Idaho, the state will expand the program to able-bodied adults that earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line. Supporters of Medicaid expansion claim the program will generate millions of dollars in new revenue and save money. But the best-available evidence shows Medicaid expansion has cost taxpayers far more than the predictions made by numerous analysts. In response to these increasing costs for their new expanded entitlement, states have been forced to divert funding away from essential public services, including schools, law enforcement, and transportation.

A Better Solution for People in the “Gap” Who Need Health Insurance

By Rick Santorum
Idaho Freedom Foundation, Oct. 2, 2018

Idaho’s ballot initiative to expand Medicaid is misguided, writes former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). The state would be wise to look at the experience of other states first. The Foundation for Government Accountability reviewed the experiences of 17 states that expanded and found that the federal money doesn’t come cheap. Every state far surpassed projected enrollment in the first year of expansion. In fact, they surpassed projections by an average of 91%. Separately, The Goldwater Institute found that “Arizona’s expansion not only failed to deliver on its promise to alleviate supposed cost burdens on private payers, it exacerbated them.”

Seema Verma Pushes Back on Obamacare ‘Sabotage’ Charges

By Kimberly Leonard
Washington Examiner, Oct. 3, 2018

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma on Wednesday cited reduced Obamacare premiums and expanded choices as evidence that the Trump administration has not “sabotaged” the healthcare law, as charged by Democrats. “For the very first time, rates have [been] going down… I think we have been successful in that area,” Verma said at an event hosted by the Economist Group in D.C. Next year, premiums for Obamacare customers are expected to fall by an average of 2% for mid-level plans. Verma previewed a forthcoming report that she said will show more health insurers are entering Obamacare and that they are offering more types of health plans.

Several States Have Found Ways to Mitigate Obamacare’s Damage To Their Health Insurance Markets

By Grace-Marie Turner and Doug Badger
Forbes, Oct. 3, 2018

Several states have successfully used Obamacare’s Section 1332 waiver authority to begin to revive their non-group health insurance markets by implementing better risk-mitigation strategies. The states provide separate assistance to those with the highest health costs, thereby reducing premiums and increasing enrollment for healthy people driven out of the market by soaring costs. This op-ed summarizes a new paper from the Heritage Foundation by Doug Badger and Ed Haislmaier, “State Innovation: The Key to Affordable Health Care Coverage Choices,” which highlights innovative solutions from the seven states leading the way.

As Obamacare Premiums Continue to Rise, Time to Look at Real Health Care Solutions

By Robert E. Moffit, PhD
Obamacare has wreaked havoc on America’s individual and small group health insurance markets. For the last four years, while lavish taxpayer subsidies insulated low-income people from soaring premiums and deductibles, millions of middle-class Americans in the individual Affordable Care Act coverage markets felt both blasts. The “Health Care Choices Proposal,” developed by a broad range of conservative think tanks, would replace Obamacare’s spending schemes with state block grants to help the poor and the sick to get health coverage. It’s an approach that would empower consumers, revitalize state insurance markets, intensify competition among plans, and lower costs.

Sen. Cassidy: We’re Working on Lowering Prices for Patients

By Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Modern Healthcare, Sept. 22, 2018

To get health care costs under control, we must restore market forces and equip patients to be involved in their care, writes Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). That means empowering the doctor-patient relationship, which benefits not just the patient’s health, but also the patient’s pocketbook. Currently, practice, laws and regulations work to keep the power and money surrounding health care decisions in the hands of bureaucrats, lawyers, and lobbyists. That is wrong.

Despite Obamacare, Health Care Spending Is Spiraling out of Control

By Sally Pipes
Washington Examiner, Sept. 21, 2018

Former President Barack Obama promised the ACA would bend “the cost curve and [start] to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government.” But his pledge has gone unfulfilled. Patients and taxpayers are spending record amounts on health care. This year, total health care spending will increase by 5.3%, according to a recent estimate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s after spending rose by 4.6% last year to total $3.5 trillion.

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost Without A Subsidy?

eHealth Study, Sept 2018

What does health insurance cost without a subsidy? For unsubsidized shoppers, average premiums for individual coverage were $440 a month in 2018, up from $241 in 2014. Premiums for family plans averaged $1,168 a month, compared to $667 in 2014. In 2018, the average annual deductible for individual plans was $4,578 and the average deductible for family plans was $8,803. (The figures are from eHealth’s Health Insurance Price Index based on eHealth shoppers who selected individual or family health insurance plans during the 2018 open enrollment period.)

Trump ‘Better’ at Managing Obamacare Than Obama, Health Secretary Says

By Robert King
Tennessean, Sept. 27, 2018

Obamacare premiums are expected to drop 2% nationally next year, and the total number of insurers on the federal exchange will grow for the first time in four years, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday during remarks in Nashville. Azar credited President Trump for the improving insurance marketplace, saying that Trump had proven “better at managing” Obamacare than the law’s namesake. “It turns out, when you have a president who’s willing to take decisive action, who understands business, who’s willing to work with the private sector, you can find a way to help American patients, even within a failed system like the ACA.”

Health Care Is the Sleeper Issue of 2018

By Karl Rove
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 19, 2018

The Democrats’ most potent national policy issue in the 2018 midterms is health care. The pre-existing-conditions offensive against the GOP is based on its votes to repeal ObamaCare. But the truth is that every Republican in Congress who voted for repeal also voted to require states to provide protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The GOP approach was to let each state figure out how best to accomplish this under a system that worked better than the Affordable Care Act. Republicans trusted leaders in state capitals to do better than Washington for the people of their states.