ObamaCare Watch Newsletter 6/22/18

  • Health Care Choices Proposal: A New Generation Of Health Reform
  • Answering Criticisms of the Conservative Health Care Consensus Plan
  • Conservatives Make New Push to Repeal Affordable Care Act
  • Once More Into The Breach: Conservative Think Tankers Publish A New Obamacare Replacement
  • Conservative Groups Outline New Obamacare Repeal Plan
  • Special Report: The Next Health Care Wars
  • Exit From ObamaCare
  • A Health Fix For Mom and Pop Shops
  • D.C. Obamacare Insurers Seek Double-Digit Premium Hikes, Minnesota Expects Drop
  • Canadians Are One in a Million — While Waiting for Medical Treatment

Obamacare Replacement Plan Unveiled 

Health Care Choices Proposal: A New Generation Of Health Reform
by Grace-Marie Turner
Forbes, June 22, 2018

A group of policy wonks has been working since last fall to develop the next generation of patient-centered health policy recommendations that they unveiled at a rollout event at the Hoover Institution in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The plan, called the Health Care Choices Proposal, takes a federalist  approach in moving power and control of the health sector away from Washington, through the states, and ultimately to consumers.The recommendations were developed by the Health Policy Consensus Group, including state and national health policy experts and members and leaders of grassroots organizations from around the country who are determined to give Americans relief from the high costs and restricted choices that Obamacare has imposed.

Answering Criticisms of the Conservative Health Care Consensus Plan
By Doug Badger
The Daily Signal, June 21, 2018

The Center for American Progress recently released a study criticizing a Health Policy Consensus Group’s proposal to reduce premiums and increase choices for the millions of families and small businesses who are forced to choose between remaining uninsured or buying expensive Obamacare policies. The proposal would replace Obamacare individual entitlements with grants to states. States would be required to use their federal grants to establish programs that subsidize premiums for low-income residents and that reduce premiums by assuring that the sick receive the assistance they need without saddling the healthy with unaffordable premiums. CAP’s seven-page critique of the proposal is a gumbo of falsehoods, misrepresentations, questionable assumptions, and contrived data that misrepresent both the content and the effect of the Health Care Choices Proposal.

Conservatives Make New Push to Repeal Affordable Care Act
By Stephanie Armour
The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2018

The Affordable Care Act should be repealed in August and replaced with a new system that lifts national consumer protections and gives control of health care to the states, according to a proposal by a conservative group released this week. Republicans faced a series of obstacles—including internal division and unified Democratic opposition—as their effort to repeal the ACA collapsed last year. The proposal’s release reflects the continuing eagerness of conservatives to deliver on a longtime Republican promise whose window could close if Democrats make gains in the midterms as expected.

Once More Into The Breach: Conservative Think Tankers Publish A New Obamacare Replacement
By Avik Roy
Forbes, June 20, 2018

The critical flaw in last year’s Graham-Cassidy replacement plan is that it bore the potential to make health insurance markets worse, not better, because due to design flaws in the bill, most states would have been strongly incentivized to eliminate their private individual insurance markets and replace them with an enlarged expansion of Medicaid. The Consensus Group proposal improves upon Graham-Cassidy by requiring that “at least 50% of the block grant goes toward supporting people’s purchase of private health coverage” in the individual insurance market. Under the new program, states would be required to offer Medicaid enrollees the opportunity to purchase “commercially available coverage” with their Medicaid dollars, and plans sold under the block grants would be exempted from costly Obamacare rules, like 3:1 age bands that double or triple the cost of insurance for young people.

Conservative Groups Outline New Obamacare Repeal Plan
By Peter Sullivan
The Hill, June 19, 2018

A coalition of conservative groups on Tuesday released the outlines of a new plan for repealing and replacing ObamaCare, indicating that at least some corners of the Republican Party are still pushing for repeal. The plan was drafted by groups led by the Heritage Foundation, the Galen Institute and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who have been leading meetings for months.“After efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare fell short last year, many in Congress seem resigned to accepting the status quo or even willing to bail out and prop up the program,” the new plan’s text states. “But Obamacare is broken, can’t be fixed, and continues to do great harm.”

Special Report: The Next Health Care Wars
By David Nather
Axios, June 16, 2018

The future of our health care system will be shaped by fight that will likely culminate with a 2020 choice between private markets and an authentic government-run program in the form of a Bernie Sanders-style Medicare for All. The cost of health care, both for individuals seeking coverage and the government seeking sustainability, promises to return as the biggest domestic issue.The U.S. doesn’t use more health care than other countries, we just pay more for it. Consumers are getting sick of it, and eventually they’ll respond to politicians with plans that seek to bring down prices (as they already have on prescription drugs).


Labor Department Releases Final Rule on AHPs

Exit From ObamaCare
By Editorial Board
The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2018

One perverse effect of Obamacare is that corporate America escaped some of the onerous mandates that hurt small enterprises. The Trump Administration is now trying to mitigate that inequity with a rule on association health plans, or AHPs, and perhaps the result will be a durable and popular alternative to Obamacare coverage. On Tuesday, the Labor Department rolled out a final rule on AHPs. The point is to allow more small businesses to join forces to offer health insurance, using economies of scale to reduce costs and diversify risk. This is how corporations and unions manage health insurance in the large group market, either by paying an outside issuer or self-insuring.

A Health Fix For Mom and Pop Shops
By Alex Acosta
The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2018

Small-business owners and their employees often struggle to find affordable health care options. A major reason is that Obamacare, among other laws, makes coverage more expensive for small businesses than large companies. That’s why the Trump administration is expanding access to association health plans, or AHPs, beginning Tuesday. Obamacare imposes starkly different rules on large companies and small businesses. Companies with 50 or fewer employees are subject to the law’s benefit mandates and rating restrictions, while large companies are not. This is backward. Small businesses should face the same regulatory burden as large companies, if not a lighter one. AHPs will help level the playing field.


Premium Increases

D.C. Obamacare Insurers Seek Double-Digit Premium Hikes, Minnesota Expects Drop
By Robert King
Washington Examiner, June 15, 2018

Insurers on the District of Columbia’s Obamacare insurance exchange want to raise rates by nearly 15% in 2019, while Minnesota’s insurers propose to reduce rates by up to about 12%. Insurers in Minnesota can take advantage of a reinsurance program in which the state helps subsidize the biggest insurance claims on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Efforts to create a federal reinsurance program ran aground in the Senate because of disagreements over abortion funding. In Minnesota, all of the state’s five Obamacare insurers are asking for proposed rate reductions of 3 to 12% for certain plans. That is a major difference from the final rates for the 2018 coverage year, which ranged from a 16 to 32% hike.


Single-Payer

Canadians Are One in a Million — While Waiting for Medical Treatment
By Sally Pipes
Forbes, June 11, 2018

Canada’s single-payer health care system forced more than 1 million patients to wait for necessary medical treatments last year. That’s an all-time record. Those long wait times were more than just a nuisance; they cost patients $1.9 billion in lost wages, according to a new report by the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think-tank. Lengthy treatment delays are the norm in Canada and other single-payer nations, which ration care to keep costs down. Yet more and more Democratic leaders are pushing for a single-payer system—and more and more voters are clamoring for one.