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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…

Pre-X Redux

With the focus now mainly on exchanges, Medicaid expansions, and enrolling the uninsured in newly available coverage arrangements, there is less attention lately to the ACA insurance reforms which have always been the most popular parts of the law – changes which could affect every American’s insurance in some way…

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.

The Potential Side Effects of Halbig

The Halbig case, if it prevails, would have far-reaching side effects on the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate and the functioning of the individual insurance market.

One Year into Duals Demo Enrollment: Early Expectations Meet Reality

One year into initial enrollment in the Medicare-Medicaid financial alignment demonstrations for dual eligible beneficiaries, some initial insights are beginning to emerge. This policy insight highlights key challenges and trends emerging in states’ demonstrations.

Ebola in West Africa: Four Questions for the U.S. Response Going Forward

As of August 14, 2014, the Ebola virus has infected an estimated 1,975 individuals across four countries in West Africa, leading to 1,069 deaths (including three Americans). The official reported numbers, frightening as they are, likely vastly underestimate the true magnitude of the outbreak. Ebola has severely impacted the daily…