Posts Tagged - ‘health insurance reform’

Post border

Obama Didn’t Realize Affordable Health Insurance Reform Would Be So Hard

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Image: Beverly & Pack under CC 3.0

After his party’s drubbing in the midterm elections, President Obama is Monday-morning quarterbacking. In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, he admitted that he didn’t expect the passage and implementation of affordable health insurance reform to have such a high political cost.

Many would consider this view naive, given that presidents have struggled with the complex system for decades. Also, there are many interest groups heavily involved, with a major stake in the issue.

According to Obama, he assumed that his incorporation of proposals previously advanced by Republicans such as Mitt Romney would help bring about some compromise with the GOP. As it turns out, the final product ended up pleasing few: progressive Democrats wanted more, while conservatives wanted far less.

Post border
Post border

IRS’ Affordable Health Insurance Reform Implementation in Danger

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Image: numberstumper under CC 3.0

Understandably, most people aren’t huge fans of the IRS. For the most part, Americans communicate with them when they’re taking money out of their pockets during tax season. However, a provision of the new healthcare reform law has the Internal Revenue Service actually attempting to give money back!

The law is meant to make affordable health insurance more widely available through tax credits to small businesses that provide coverage to their employees. Doing so will require more manpower and resources for implementation and enforcement of the program. Some Republican candidates are considering defunding the IRS and other agencies involved to stifle healthcare reform, since it is predicted to take $5 to $10 billion for each agency to fully implement it.

Congress has the power to do so, and does not require President Obama to sign off on a repeal he would be guaranteed to veto. Ironically, one of the most business-friendly provisions may suffer as a result.

Post border
Post border

Can Healthcare Reform “Repeal and Replace” Promises Be Trusted?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Image: Keven Law under CC 3.0

The Republican party is staunchly against the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law. So much so, that its politicians promise that if they regain the majority in Congress, one of their first tasks will be to repeal “Obamacare”. Then, they promise that they will replace it with a more moderate, business-friendly solution.

What they promote sounds like a good idea–retaining the popular measures, such as making it easier for people with pre-existing conditions to buy a health insurance plan; while dropping the potentially troublesome elements like the individual mandate.

However, history may make some skeptical of the GOP’s pledge. After helping to torpedo President Bill Clinton’s health insurance reform proposal in the early 1990s, they basically ignored the issue for over a decade of controlling the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the meantime, the issue became more pressing–and may need more drastic solutions than it did back then.

Post border
Post border

Predicted Health Insurance Reform Savings Misleading?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Image: University of Tennessee

According to the Obama administration’s director of healthcare reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle, the law will result in a slight reduction in the cost of health insurance. Specifically, each insured person will save up to $1,000 on their health insurance plan by 2019.

While this sounds positive, it does not cancel out the fact that the government’s Medicare actuary predicted a modest cost increase. That is because that cost will be divided among more people–the law seeks to expand coverage to 93 percent of the American population.

Some may consider the relatively small increase a worthwhile investment in our society for helping others, but that trade-off should be presented honestly.

Post border
Post border

Republicans Vow To Repeal Healthcare Reform If They Win Midterms

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Image: Republican Party of Shelby County under CC 3.0

health insurance plans

The heated midterm election battles are underway. Control of the House of Representatives and Senate is at stake in November. Democrats are looking to retain their majority, but what if they don’t?

Tennessee Republican representative Marsha Blackburn recently stated that the GOP will repeal the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law if they regain control. The law is controversial largely due to provisions that create a mandate for individuals and companies to buy a health insurance plan.

However, Rep. Blackburn’s promises may be more election rhetoric than reality. While the Republican party may take a few steps in the direction of eliminating the law, President Obama is guaranteed to veto any bill that would repeal it. Although political pundits predict that Republicans may win a significant number of seats, they may not reach the essential two-thirds of the Senate that would be necessary to override a presidential veto.

Post border
Post border

Statistics About Massachusetts’ Uninsured

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
affordable health insurance
Image: David Paul Ohmer under CC 3.0

Largely due to the state’s first-in-the-nation healthcare reform, Massachusetts residents are the most likely in America to have a health insurance plan. Still, the expansion has not succeeded in providing universal coverage. Why?

A recent study from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Access Reform Evaluation looked to identify the 4.1 percent who were still uninsured.

Here are their findings on the average Massachusetts resident without health insurance:

  • From 19 to 64 years old
  • male
  • an ethnic or racial minority (African-American, Hispanic, etc.)
  • unmarried
  • lack of proficency in the English language; either their own or that of an adult who lives with them
  • less educated
  • not a U.S. citizen
  • more likely to be unemployed
  • could be eligible for public Medicaid coverage

The study’s authors believe that the state’s message may not be getting across to its attempted demographic. Suggestions include rewriting the program information in order for it to be understandable with a 4th to 8th grade reading level.

Post border
Post border

States Receive Grants To Implement Healthcare Reform

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
affordable health insurance
Image: Aaron Esterling under CC 3.0

Affordable health insurance reform requires states to take the lead in regulating insurers. Many of them do not have the infrastructure or legal authority to do so. That is where $46 million in federal grants come in.

All but a handful of states, as well as the District of Columbia, will receive $1 million each for actions such as hiring actuaries to investigate rate increases and developing data systems for health insurance rate filings.

Which states are the holdouts? The following didn’t apply for the Department of Health and Human Services’ grant:

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Alaska
  • Wyoming
  • Minnesota
Post border
Post border

Will States Be Able To Implement Health Insurance Plan Reform?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

health insurance plan reform

Image: tomcensani under CC 3.0

Although healthcare reform will result in more federal involvement in regulations, the majority of the responsibility for regulating health coverage will still rest with the states.

However, it seems that many state insurance commissioners don’t have the power to do some of the things the Obama administration wants them to. Almost half of the states claim that they don’t have the legal authority to review health insurance plan rate increases, for example.

What are they doing to make sure that they can effectively enforce some of the consumer protection provisions that begin next month? States such as Florida and Texas have little recourse, except for gently encouraging health insurers to modify their contracts in order to comply with federal law. Regulators are planning on new state laws being passed in the next year, or using general laws against deceptive trade practices. It remains to be seen if these tactics will be successful. If they are unable to take the lead, the national government will step in–an unpalatable alternative to many.

Post border
Post border

Yet Another Affordable Health Insurance Reform Lawsuit

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
affordable health insurance lawsuit
Image: Wikipedia

This time, a conservative group from Arizona is suing the Obama administration over healthcare reform. The Goldwater Institute, which filed the lawsuit, believes that while the issue of increasing access to affordable health insurance is important, the federal law is too heavy-handed.

They are representing a variety of interests, including Republican politicians on both state and local levels, as well as a small business owner. In addition to the belief that they will be forced to purchase a health insurance plan they don’t want (when, in their view, the Constitution delegates health care policy decisions to the states), the plaintiffs also fear that the legislation violates privacy rights.

Post border
Post border

Health Insurance Scammers Prey on Healthcare Reform Confusion

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
health insurance scam warning
Image: B Rosen under CC 3.0

Over the past several months, the American public has been wrestling with the advent of healthcare reform and what it will mean for them. For many, it will require them to purchase a health insurance plan.

Unfortunately, scammers in 24 states are taking advantage of this uncertainty. They are advertising medical discount plans as full-fledged health insurance, which they are not. Unlike standard insurance, these limited plans aren’t accepted by doctors and hospitals to cover most or all of a person’s medical bills.

The Federal Trade Commission has joined in the fight to crack down on these misleading marketing tactics. They hope to eliminate them before the mandate provision of the law goes into effect in 2014.

Post border