Peak ObamaCare?

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This Week’s Health Policy News Roundup Curated by Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Will Exchanges end with a bang or a whimper? John Graham poses this question. The bang would be the Supreme Court’s ruling that Obama can’t rewrite the law to provide subsidies through federally run Exchanges. “Few people would voluntarily buy health insurance from an Obamacare exchange if health insurers on the exchanges did not receive subsidies to enroll people,” he writes.

Even without the bang, “Obamacare’s exchanges – both state and federal – will likely end with a whimper in 2015 or soon after. Just look at how quickly the Administration began to roll back expectations for enrollment, immediately after the election.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/11/12/peak-obamacare-will-exchanges-end-with-a-bang-or-a-whimper/

The ObamaCare premium hike may be less than expected, writes Graham. This will show that “Obamacare’s insurers are getting better at attracting healthy applicants.” Who will get hurt? “The sickest patients will continue to suffer, even worse than they did in Obamacare’s first year.” http://healthblog.ncpa.org/the-average-obamacare-rate-hike-may-be-much-lower-than-advertised-and-that-indicates-more-adverse-selection

Robert Pear of The New York Times recently described the “symbiotic” relationship between the Obama administration and health insurers. There is, however, “hope that health insurers will be ready to move beyond Obamacare,” writes Graham. One alternate plan to allow individuals rather than the government or employers to choose plans, proposed by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), would exchange “the exclusion of employer-based health benefits from taxable income for a refundable, universal tax credit (with which one could buy at minimum Medicaid coverage), which dovetails into fixed contributions (disparagingly labeled “vouchers”) for Medicare beneficiaries.” http://healthblog.ncpa.org/post-obamacare-reform-will-health-insurers-be-redeemed/

Congress is preparing a series of hearings on all aspects of ObamaCare, including the role of Jonathan Gruber. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/gop-preps-new-attack-plan-for-obamacare-112899_full.html?print

“Obama promised Obamacare wouldn’t do exactly what Gruber says it will do,” noted CNN. http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2014/11/19/cnn-obama-promised-obamacare-wouldnt-do-exactly-what-gruber-says-it-will-do-n1921049

Healthcare.gov is not the only problematic government website. Medicare websites also get a scathing review,” writes Sarah Ferris in The Hill. http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/224516-audit-hhs-failing-to-make-costs-transparent-for-medicare

Short Takes:

Awesome 3-minute video on holographic imaging: http://vimeo.com/m/92807000

All of GruberGate in 2 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDomkBtJC7Q

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