The Washington State Health Benefit Exchange released the latest sign-up numbers for 2015. The goal was 213,000 total private-plan enrollees this year, which would include the 140,000 enrollees from 2014 and 83,000 new enrollees. The deadline for applications is February 15.
The numbers are not even close. To date, only 87,000 people (62%) have re-enrolled and only 40,000 individuals are new enrollees this year (48% of the anticipated). In other words the state exchange is 40% below the predicted enrollment.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released its latest estimates on the projected cost of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. (Available at www.cbo.gov) The CBO's original ten year estimate in 2010 was $940 billion. Its latest estimate is for the next four years (until 2019) and at $571 billion is evidently 20 percent lower than the original budget for that period.
Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced a three-year waiver from the federal government to expand Medicaid in his state. (Here) Indiana is the 27th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. The program is called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 and is a continuation of the one-year plan initiated by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2007.
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, did not include a "public option" health insurance plan, it did provide for federally-funded new companies to compete with existing carriers. These CO-OPs, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, were originally slated to receive $6 billion dollars of taxpayer loans at very favorable interest rates.
Yesterday, Governor Peter Shumlin announced he would not seak a single-payer health care system for Vermont. This is a huge shift in policy for the governor who has campaigned for a single-payer system for years. He barely won re-election last month, defeating a relatively unknown Republican candidate.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, provides $2.8 billion for states to develop "innovative" healthcare delivery plans (here). Washington state officials spent most of 2013 designing a very comprehensive plan called the Washington State Health Care Innovation Plan (SHCIP). The work was supported by a $1 million grant from the federal government.
Obamacare remains unpopular with the American public. The Gallup Poll from last month found that only 37 % of Americans approved of Obamacare and a startling 56% disapprove of the law. Many ideas are now circulating for meaningful health care reform.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has had a position of leadership in the Democratic caucus for years. He has been one of the most outspoken supporters of Obamacare since the Congressional debate in 2009.
However, in an address to the National Press Club last week (audio available here), he admitted that: "Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them (in the 2008 election). We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: health care reform."
The U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to hear King v. Sebelius this term. This is one of at least four lawsuits that deal with the legality of the IRS giving out taxpayer subsidies in the federal health insurance exchange.
Republicans will control the U.S. Senate next session. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, remains unpopular with Americans and the issue for the G.O.P. will be to repeal or reform the law. With President Obama in the White House until 2016, the chance for repeal is virtually zero. The Republicans don't have enough votes to override a presidential veto.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010. It was one year ago today that the state and federal health insurance exchanges began enrollment. Washington state is one of 15 states that established its own exchange. The other 35 states elected to use the federal exchange.
Yesterday, the Obama Administration released data that shows hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. The majority of the savings comes from the Medicaid expansion and is anticipated to occur in those state that chose to expand the program for low-income individuals.
The Washington State Hospital Association released financials for the first half of 2014 as reported in The Seattle Times today. The big news was a decrease of $154 million in charity care for hospitals in the state. Hospitals believe this 30% decrease in charity care is a result of more people being insured through Obamacare. Specifically, the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid for more people in the low-income demographic.