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Health Reform and the Art of Federalism

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced significant changes to the premiums charged in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), aka the “high risk pool” created by the Affordable Care Act. Premiums will now be up to 40% lower depending on the state (in some states…

An Employer Health Benefits Balance Sheet

There seems to be growing interest in the question of how many employers will keep offering coverage to their full-time employees once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully implemented in 2014, or instead will choose to stop offering coverage and pay a penalty. While there is some good analysis…

CBO’s Estimate of Repealing Exchange Grants: The Importance of Being Effective

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released an analysis of a bill that would repeal grants to states under the health reform law to help them establish health insurance purchasing exchanges. Not surprisingly, CBO finds that the bill would reduce federal spending due to the fact that expected grants won’t…

June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Americans Still Divided on Health Reform Law

In the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, the public remains divided in their overall assessments of the ACA, with 42 percent holding a favorable view of the law and 46 percent an unfavorable one. This month’s poll finds Americans are somewhat more likely to think their own families, seniors as…

Peering Into the Black Box of Insurance Rating

Recently, the New York Times reported that private health insurers continue to seek large premium increases despite seeing lower than expected use of medical care and booking record profits. The story highlights a significant problem for health policy: the lack of good, public information about how health insurers manage health…

Who Will be the H&R Block and TurboTax for Health Insurance?

There’s been quite a bit of focus lately insofar as these issues go, anyway on health insurance agents and brokers (sometimes known in the industry as “producers”). They are pushing legislation that has been introduced in Congress and is now being studied by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that…

Measuring the Affordability of Employer Health Coverage

A recent draft regulation issued by the Treasury Department describes who is eligible for premium tax credits to help them afford coverage offered through health insurance exchanges beginning in 2014. Tax credits will be available to people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level who are…

August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: The Uninsured and the Health Reform Law

The August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that even though 32 million uninsured Americans will gain health insurance under the ACA, only about half of non-elderly Americans currently without coverage say they are familiar with the chief components in the law designed to achieve this goal. Fifty-two percent of the uninsured…

The Budget Trigger and Health Reform

No doubt it will take some time to sort out how elements of the debt deal (formally “The Budget Control Act of 2011”) will all work. Delving into the details of how it affects subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make insurance more affordable helps to illustrate how…