Rstark

The Latest Cost Estimates for Obamacare

January 29, 2015 in Blog

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.

Legislators Owe Taxpayers a Formal Vote on Expanding Medicaid in Washington State

January 28, 2015 in Blog

In 2013, legislators and the governor in Washington state decided to accept the ACA’s expanded Medicaid program. A formal vote was not taken, however. (Here)

Indiana Expands Medicaid with a Federal Waiver

January 28, 2015 in Blog

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.

Obamacare CO-OPs are Starting to Fail

January 26, 2015 in Blog

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.

Vermont Governor Gives Up On Single-Payer Health Care System

December 18, 2014 in Blog

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.

More Federal Taxpayer Money to Force State Control of Our Health Care System

December 17, 2014 in Blog

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.

More Ideas for Healthcare Reform

December 17, 2014 in Blog

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.

Even Obamacare Supporters Now Believe It Was Wrong

December 1, 2014 in Blog

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."

Obamacare Remains At Risk

November 11, 2014 in Blog

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.

Repeal or Reform Obamacare?

November 6, 2014 in Blog

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.

Medicaid Can Not Survive as an Open-ended Entitlement

October 15, 2014 in Blog

No surprise, as the economy improves states are expanding their Medicaid programs.

Obamacare Remains in Jeopardy

October 1, 2014 in Blog

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.

Are Hospitals Really Doing Better Under Obamacare?

September 25, 2014 in Blog

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.

Reduction in Charity Care for Washington State Hospitals; But At What Cost?

September 15, 2014 in Blog

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.

Solutions to the Doctor Shortage

September 2, 2014 in Blog

The Seattle Times published an excellent article today outlining the crisis in rural health care delivery. All areas of the nation, but especially the smaller communities, face a real shortage in primary care providers.