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The Flip Side of Higher Premiums: Better Coverage

Time Magazine’s recent cover story on health care – “Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill – has focused attention on hospital prices, especially for people paying out of their own pockets. This is not a new issue, but certainly one that deserves attention. However, what has been lost in the ensuing…

Questions for 2014

Today’s discussion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is focused on immediate implementation milestones leading up to 2014 when the law’s major provisions are set to kick in.  This is a critical period when the foundation for the ACA is being established and key building blocks such as the state…

Can We Learn From ACA Implementation and Improve the Law?

Senator Baucus made headlines recently when he predicted a “train wreck” for Obamacare. David Brooks predicted “chaos” in a recent column. In a news conference, the President offered a different perspective.  “There’ll still be, you know, glitches and bumps…. That’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been…

Window of Opportunity?

Beginning this Spring, between expected approval of an economic stimulus package and the start of campaigning for the midterm election, there will be a rare window of opportunity for passage of major health reform legislation. History suggests that momentum can be lost if policymakers do not move quickly to seize…

On Health Care, Conservatives Protest Too Much

Lately conservatives have been feeling like losers in health care and complaining loudly about it. They don’t like Obamacare or the increase in the government’s role in health care or the federal spending it brings with it, even if those things result in coverage for more than 30 million uninsured…

Beyond Rebates: How Much Are Consumers Saving from the ACA’s Medical Loss Ratio Provision?

The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) saved consumers an estimated $2.1 billion last year, in the form of lower premiums and rebates, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Under health reform, insurers must issue consumer rebates if they fail to spend a certain portion of premium income on health care claims and quality improvement expenses, thereby limiting what they may spend on administrative expenses or keep as profits.

How Buying Insurance Will Change Under Obamacare

When the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces (also known as “exchanges”) go online this October, millions of people are expected to apply for private insurance coverage. Nobody expects the launch will be perfect, with no hitches and problems.  The law not only replaces a fragmented and confusing assortment…

How Obamacare May Be Holding Down Costs

In his latest column published in Politico, Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman examines the recent historic slowdown in health-care costs and discusses whether Obamacare is a contributing factor.

No Quick Verdict on Obamacare

This column originally appeared in Politico on September 30. Dr. Altman’s future Politico columns will be posted on one day after publication. October 1, the focus of great attention in the Obamacare wars, is finally here. Today is the day open enrollment begins for the new health insurance marketplaces,…

Obamacare Vital Signs Not Just Numbers

In his latest column, Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman discusses the focus on first year metrics, especially enrollment projections, in the ACA debate.