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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.

Covering The ACA May Be Almost As Hard As Implementing It

This Pulling It Together was adapted from a column I published earlier this week in Politico, with a new introduction added. You can read the original Politico column here. The implementation of the ACA is news and the public will demand information about it. Journalists and news organizations have an obligation…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The News Media and “Entitlement Reform”

In the coming debate about the deficit, policymakers will struggle to craft a package of spending reductions and new revenues that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, totaling as much as four trillion dollars over ten years.  Medicare, Medicaid and potentially the Affordable Care Act will have their turn…