Category: Health Care

Not-So-Happy Birthday for ObamaCare

By Ronald S. Bachman The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commonly referred to as ObamaCare was signed into law on March 23, 2010. One year later, the law remains unpopular with the public and a core fiscal concern for many voters, while many are learning just how intrusive are the government mandates. Supporters believed that once passed, the law would gain in popularity. It has not. This law of the land may not be for long. In January this year, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled the individual mandate in the new law to be unconstitutional. He further declared that the entire bill is unconstitutional because the act lacks a “severability clause,” typically part of any… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman Under the table, over the top and in need of bipartisan repeal is a little-understood mandate in the new federal health care law called the Minimum Loss Ratio (MLR).  Rejected by vote in the Senate Finance Committee version of health reform, this competition-crushing mandate crept into the new law when a new Senate bill was developed bypassing the normal process. The recent regulations on the mandate from the Department of Health & Human Services follow recommendations made by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The association relied heavily on a technical study by Milliman, a nationally recognized actuarial company. Unfortunately, the association’s recommendations ignored the most important aspects of the Milliman study that would have recognized… View Article

Home Remedies for What Ails Health Care

By Benita M. Dodd In a week in which the crafters of the new federal health care law probably needed trauma care, two of Georgia’s best known physicians were attending a Georgia Public Policy Foundation event focused on what’s next. Both are known more for their passion than their profession. Both are authors of new books inspired by this ongoing controversy; both offer solutions, not snake oil. Three-term Georgia Congressman Tom Price, a speaker at the Foundation event, is a key opponent of President Obama’s cornerstone legislation. Just this week, in a 26-state challenge that included Georgia, a Florida judge ruled the entire health care law unconstitutional because of the mandate that everyone have insurance. A Virginia judge had ruled… View Article

Reform lacking in Feds’ Medicaid Vision

By Nina Owcharenko Recent coverage of the proposals offered by President Obama’s debt commission managed to gloss over a huge issue that is adding to the nation’s deficit – Medicaid. The impact of this federal-state partnership program on the country’s long-term fiscal future is just as real and consequential as Medicare and Social Security. Plus, Medicaid also adds to the financial burdens on states’ budgets. The problem wasn’t just on the coverage front, but the commission report itself. The final version ignored the massive expansion of the Medicaid program included in the new health care law. At the very least, the commission should have acknowledged this costly addition and suggested repealing the Medicaid expansion, as it did with the CLASS… View Article

Redistribution of Health Care Dollars Hurts Seniors

  By Ronald E. Bachman   One of the most controversial parts of the new federal health care law is the redistribution of funding from Medicare to other programs. If Obamacare is left unchanged, it will take $500 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. Medicare beneficiaries will see higher premiums; doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical suppliers will get lower payments. The Medicare reductions will be used to subsidize expanded Medicaid to low-income recipients and to fund insurance for the uninsured.   For the 78 million baby boomers eligible for Medicare over the next decade, this is more than a redistribution of wealth. It is a redistribution of health and wellness. They will get less health care; others will get more.… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman If ObamaCare is upheld as constitutional, Americans will spend a lifetime trying to understand the complexities and contradictions. Worse, every American is likely to be in violation of some aspect of the law at some time. An example of the complexity is the confusion surrounding lifetime limits on benefit coverage. Under the new federal law, coverage cannot include lifetime limits on plan coverage. Or can they?  Maybe yes, maybe no. The lifetime coverage mandate applies to any individual covered by an insurance plan or a self-insured contract providing group or individual health coverage. It is effective for plan years beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2010. For most plans, this date is likely to be Jan.… View Article
  By Ronald E. Bachman   In most families, moms are the caregivers, and most moms have a medicine “box” or tray with all kinds of cures for middle-of-the-night pains and fevers. If it’s not in the “box,” a quick trip to a local 24-hour pharmacy usually secures the needed treatment. When that doesn’t work, a doctor’s visit secures a prescription to be filled at the local pharmacy. But for most situations a caring mom, Mother Nature and over-the-counter medications get children well and avoid unnecessary physician visits and expenses.   Under ObamaCare, much of that is about to change.   For years, consumers have been encouraged to use lower cost generics and less expensive and easily available over-the-counter medications. In the past… View Article
  Atlanta – If you’re wondering what the new federal health care legislation has in store for you or your employees, you are not alone. Few have read the 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and even fewer are able to absorb its full implications.   Each week brings new regulations from the U.S. departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury. With so much happening so fast how can employers, insurance agents, consultants, lawyers or insurance companies keep up with the myriad decisions to set strategies, make rational choices and be legally compliant?   Several regulatory pronouncements have recently been released. In particular, two important Interim Final Regulations necessitate employers making key financial and strategic decisions regarding… View Article

It’s Time to Listen to Health Care Consumers

  By Ronald E. Bachman   The great frustration for many Americans during the debate on ObamaCare was tone-deaf politicians. No one seemed willing to listen to their concerns. Federal deficits, pork-barrel spending and cost got lost in the push to pass partisan legislation. Moving into the regulatory phase of writing the critical implementation rules, the concern is that bureaucrats will also ignore the people.   Bureaucrats are empowered to define “essential” benefits, structure plan designs, establish rate structures, set rules for cost-sharing, make decisions on allowable rewards and incentives and so much more. With so much Washington opposition to health care consumerism and the use of insurance with personal care accounts, the fear is that the new rules will inhibit or… View Article

Consumerism: The Cure for Health Care’s Ills

By Ronald E. Bachman  Megatrends represent major movements so powerful that the direction of change cannot be stopped. Federal laws can speed up or slow down megatrend forces. But, like dammed rivers, megatrends will redirect themselves to achieve the inevitable result. Health care consumerism is such a force. Government and the quest for political power is a strong force in and of itself.  Cynics will point to increasing demands for federal support and government dependency by large parts of our population. That may be a current political direction, but growing welfare and expanding entitlements is not a financially sustainable path and therefore cannot be a megatrend. ObamaCare is fighting health care consumerism and broad cultural movements to personal responsibility, individual… View Article

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