What if the Deficit Hawks Already Got their $4 Trillion and Nobody Noticed It?

By: Tuesday January 29, 2013 6:54 am

For several years now, the so called “deficit hawks” have been demanding that the federal government get $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, because somehow that is the magical number to stop some vague disaster, which also seems to be exactly a few years on the horizon. The push for a mythic [...]

How the Supreme Court Indirectly Protected Medicaid from Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

By: Tuesday December 11, 2012 12:49 pm

The Supreme Court’s decision to make the Medicaid expansion option may have indirectly protected the program from cuts during the current fiscal cliff negotiations.

ACA’s Much Touted Health Insurance Premium Review Is Basically Useless

By: Wednesday May 9, 2012 7:36 am

In the Affordable Care Act the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was given the power to review health insurance premium increases, but it wasn’t given the power to actually do anything about unreasonable increases.  HHS can only say an increase is “unreasonable,” but it has zero regulatory power to force the companies to [...]

Obama Birth Control Compromise Is Popular

By: Thursday February 23, 2012 7:21 am

The “compromise” President Obama worked out to provide free birth control to women even if they work at institutions affiliated with religious groups that oppose contraception is broadly popular according to Quinnipiac polling. American voters approve 54 – 38 percent of Obama’s compromise concerning insurance coverage for birth control for employees of religious-affiliated institutions. Men [...]

Obama’s Deeply Paternalistic Statement on Plan B Decision

By: Thursday December 8, 2011 10:34 am

This is a pure expression of male paternalism regarding women being able to make their own reproductive decisions. From USA Today: President Obama said today that “as the father of two daughters,” he supports his health secretary’s decision to block over-the-counter sales of the Plan B “morning after” birth control pill to girls under 17 [...]

Plan B Reminder: Obama Controls the Executive Branch at All Levels

By: Thursday December 8, 2011 8:59 am

Yesterday the United States Department of Health and Human Services did something extraordinary. For the first time ever, the HHS secretary publicly overruled the Food and Drug Administration. After a careful, lengthy and scientific review, the FDA came to the conclusion that the emergency contraceptive, Plan B, should be available over the counter. In what [...]

HHS Likely Forced to Create Many States’ Health Exchanges

By: Monday August 29, 2011 10:32 am

With less than three years until most aspects of the new health care law start, only 10 states have passed legislation creating new health insurance exchanges according to a report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (PDF). The Affordable Care Act requires states to set up these exchanges; and if a state fails [...]

State Health Exchange Boards Filled with Individuals Tied to Insurance Industry

By: Thursday August 25, 2011 8:37 am

The recently appointed Connecticut state health care exchange board contains three former high ranking private insurance executives. From the CT Mirror: The members of the new panel include three former insurance executives, the head of a coalition of health plans for unionized workers, the head of a green energy business, and a health policy scholar [...]

Families USA Working Against Vermont’s Efforts to Quickly Get Waiver for Single Payer

By: Thursday June 16, 2011 12:51 pm

In classic veal pen fashion Families USA is working against Vermont’s attempts to get the waivers,as soon as possible, it would need to move the state towards a single payer health care system. Families USA does claim to support Vermont’s reform effort, but just happens to opposes the very law needed to help make it happen in a timely manner.

HHS Moves to Make High Risk Pool Slightly More Accessible

By: Tuesday May 31, 2011 1:42 pm

Administration of High Risk Pools
Administration of High Risk Pools

In a move that should provide some help to relatively few additional Americans the HHS is making changes to the high risk pools created by the Affordable Care Act. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will have its premiums reduced and eligibility restrictions loosened. From the Huffington Post:

To boost enrollment, Sebelius said monthly premiums, which vary by age and region, will drop in 17 of the states where HHS runs the program starting in July. In Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, premiums will plummet by 40 percent. Come July, people older than 55 who enroll in the Virginia PCIP’s standard plan will have to pay $297 a month, a steep drop from the current $498 monthly premium.

Sebelius also said PCIP applicants will no longer have to brandish rejection letters from insurance companies to prove they have pre-existing conditions. Instead, a doctor’s note will suffice.

Currently PCIP only provides insurance to roughly 18,000 people. This move should help modestly boast the number getting insurance through the program but the HHS will probably still need to maintain a difficult balancing act to prevent too many more people from signing up.

The ACA only provide $5 billion in funding for the high risk pools, which according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services would be insufficient to keep the program going until 2014, if total national enrollment reaches even the low six figures (PDF). Given the both the current anti-spending and anti-Obamacare mood in the House of Representatives, it is safe to assume Congress is unlikely to appropriated any more money to the program if it ran out of funds early.

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