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Pulling It Together: New Orleans Five Years After the Levees Broke

President Obama’s visit to New Orleans on August 29, five years after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures nearly destroyed the city, presented an opportunity for him to deliver a message on behalf of us all: The country still cares. It was a timely message. Seven-in-ten residents of New Orleans…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.