Health Reform Progress Beyond Repeal and Replace

By Brian Blase, Senior Fellow, Galen Institute
September 2019

From the start of 2017 through the fall of that year, Congress labored to pass legislation to replace large parts of the Affordable Care Act.  Ultimately, political obstacles proved insurmountable, and Congress was unable to enact a health reform bill. Soon after that failure, President Trump signed an executive order promoting health care choice and competition and directing the administration to issue rules expanding more affordable options, principally for middle-income families and small employers and their employees. […]

CMS Offers States Help in Establishing Reinsurance Programs

By Ashley Bateman and Ashley Herzog
The Heartland Institute, Aug. 22, 2019

CMS has rolled out new resources to help states navigate the process of obtaining waivers to create reinsurance programs, which have become an attractive option for states struggling with their Obamacare health insurance exchanges. The programs create risk mitigation programs for higher-cost individuals. This has the effect of reducing premiums and attracting healthier people back into the insurance pools.  High risk pools are an attempt to remedy a problem created by Obamacare, says Doug Badger, a senior fellow at the Galen Institute. “Healthy people did not enroll in anything like the numbers the experts had predicted, producing a pool that was disproportionately unhealthy and poor,” Badger said. His new paper, How Health Care Premiums Are Declining in States That Seek Relief from Obamacare’s Mandates, explains the successes of the program so far. […]

ObamaCare’s Medicaid Deception

By Brian Blase and Aaron Yelowitz
The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 14, 2019

Obamacare wasn’t supposed to give free health insurance to everybody. The Affordable Care Act’s authors expected the poor would enroll in Medicaid, while those with higher incomes would buy coverage through the new insurance exchanges, with subsidies that decrease as income rises. It isn’t working that way. A study published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that ObamaCare has turned out to be a giant welfare program, with millions of working- and middle-class Americans improperly receiving Medicaid—a reflection of the unpopularity of the exchange policies and incompetence of government oversight. […]

Data Shows Drop in Coverage Among People Ineligible for Obamacare Subsidies

By Peter Sullivan
The Hill, August 12, 2019

Health insurance enrollment has declined among people who do not qualify for financial help under Obamacare, new federal data show.  The data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday show that enrollment declined by 1.2 million people, or 24%, between 2017 and 2018 among people with incomes too high to qualify for Obamacare subsidies and who therefore face the full brunt of premium cost increases. In contrast, in the same period, enrollment ticked up among those with subsidized coverage by 300,000 people. Click here to read more. […]

How Health Care Premiums Are Declining in States That Seek Relief from Obamacare’s Mandates

By Doug Badger
The Heritage Foundation, August 13, 2019

Badger has updated an important paper from last year showing that some states are succeeding in lowering premiums and increasing enrollment in health insurance by doing a better job of targeting existing resources. Obamacare established a regime of subsidies, mandates, regulations, and tax penalties that resulted in substantial increases in premiums for individual insurance coverage. But seven states obtained waivers to target subsidies for high-cost patients, and they saw premiums fall by nearly 7.5%, while premiums in the other states rose by more than 3%. He examines estimated premiums in five additional states that have applied for risk-mitigation waivers for 2020. Premiums for benchmark plans rose in all five states in 2019, but actuarial analyses forecast that premiums will decline in all five states if the federal government approves their waiver applications. […]

The Obamacare ‘Experts’ Are Wrong Again

By The Editorial Board
Issues & Insights, Aug. 8, 2019

Last year, the Trump rule on short-term health plans went into effect, which not only allowed plans to last 364 days, it lets people renew them for up to 36 months. “Sabotage!” the health care experts cried. They said this new rule would allow junk insurance that would rip consumers off and would force Obamacare premiums through the roof. But the results so far strongly suggest that the “experts” had it exactly wrong when they predicted doom and gloom by giving consumers more choice. States that opened their markets up to new choices and more competition are seeing smaller rate hikes than those that decided to “protect” their consumers by forcing them into government-mandated Obamacare plans. […]

Despite Calls to Start Over, Us Health System Covers 90%

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Associated Press, July 28, 2019

Politicians are depicting a system in meltdown, but the numbers tell a different story, not as dire and more nuanced. Government surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage. Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs. The bigger issue than lack of coverage seems to be that many people with insurance are struggling to pay their deductibles and copays. […]

Issues 2020: Private Health Insurance Saves Americans Money

By Chris Pope
The Manhattan Institute, Aug. 1, 2019

Health insurance is expensive because spending on hospital and physician services is high. Insurers are unpopular because they bear the main responsibility for controlling this spending—but in doing so, they save consumers money and focus resources toward better care. A comparison of plan options under Medicare can quantify the value added by private insurance management. Private plans reduce costs by about 10%, allowing them to provide more than $1,000 in extra health services to each Medicare enrollee every year. […]

Medicare For All Has Nothing To Do With Medicare. Call It Something Else.

By Howard Gleckman
Forbes, July 31, 2019

What Bernie Sanders is proposing is not Medicare for all. It is far more generous—and more expensive. It would be funded much differently. And its relationship with private insurance would be nothing like today’s Medicare. Sanders would, in fact, replace the current Medicare program and it would effectively eliminate private health insurance. You can call it many things—from ambitious to unrealistic. But please don’t call it Medicare. […]

Be Wary of Politicians Promising Public Option Competition

By Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D, and Nina Schaefer
The Heritage Foundation, July 29, 2019

Promises like “If you like your health plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it,” shouldn’t be trusted. So-called “public option” proposals are nothing less than single payer on the installment plan, and will erode private and employer-sponsored health coverage in America, just like “Medicare for All.” […]