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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…

Why Premiums Will Change for People Who Now Have Nongroup Insurance

The federal government recently released draft regulations that address the benefits, market rules, and rating practices for nongroup coverage. Before reform, the nongroup market was widely acknowledged to be broken, with restricted access, limited benefits, high administrative costs, and frequent and large premium increases subject to inadequate oversight. Recent requests for…

Grandfathering Explained

The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives recently indicated that it will be seeking to repeal regulations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that govern the “grandfathered” status of health plans. As this aspect of the health reform law gets more scrutiny, it may be useful to review some of…

September Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Pre-Existing Conditions

With several elements of the ACA targeted toward individuals with pre-existing conditions, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll takes a closer look at this group. Fifty-two percent of Americans say that they or someone else in their household has what would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” and among this group, one…

Questions About Essential Health Benefits

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently issued its long-awaited report on defining the essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As expected, the committee preparing the IOM report did not recommend which specific services should be covered, but rather discussed what the process should be for defining the essential benefits,…

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Support for Health Reform Law Dips in October

After remaining roughly evenly split for most of the last year and a half, this month’s tracking poll found a higher share of the public expressing negative views towards the health reform law. About half (51 percent) say they have an unfavorable view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…

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…