Washington state has been very pro-active about implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Washington is one of only 15 states to establish a state health insurance exchange. The other 35 states plan to use the federal exchange, which has been plagued by glitches and major problems. Medicaid expansion is a huge part of Obamacare and will be administered through the state exchange. The legislature never took a formal vote on the Medicaid expansion.
In 2009 the President said if you like your current health insurance you would be able to keep it - period.
The Administration has known for months, years actually, that millions of Americans who owned health insurance in the individual market would lose their plans because of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act requires every plan sold in this market to contain 10 benefit mandates, many of which people don't want or need, like maternity care, and pediatric glasses, and substance abuse treatment.
Virtually everyone who understands federal government financing in this country believes we need entitlement reform. The existing programs either need benefit reductions, or the government needs more tax revenue to pay for benefits, or the programs need some combination of these two things.
Whoops - Seattle Childrens Hospital was excluded in the state exchange insurance plans by six of the eight insurance companies selling in the exchange. (Here)
The state health insurance exchanges are a big part of Obamacare. Individuals and small businesses can buy health insurance with taxpayer subsidies in the exchanges. Anyone earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($94,200 for a family of four) will qualify for the subsidies.
The latest is that employees and Members of Congress must get their health insurance through the exchanges, just like regular folks. At least that's what Congress and the President would like you to believe. But regular folks will pay for their own insurance in the exchanges and will be eligible for subsidies on a sliding scale.
The Obama administration continues to delay the implementation of Obamacare. Yesterday, the White House announced a one year delay to 2015 of the employer mandate that requires any employer with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance or pay a federal tax. Although the bill became law over three years ago, the health care bureaucrats evidently need more time to implement the employer mandate.
Or, they need more time to convince employers to not cut back employee hours to part-time or not offer health benefits at all and simply pay the tax.
Avik Roy, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, recently calculated the increase in health insurance costs in Washington state, with and without Obamacare. (Here) Even in over-regulated Washington, costs for health insurance purchased in the Obamacare state insurance exchange will be 34% to 80% higher than traditional insurance purchased in the individual market.
The foundation of Obamacare is the individual mandate that requires every American adult to own a health insurance policy or pay a penalty, or what the U.S. Supreme Court now calls a tax. The tax begins in 2014 and gradually increases over the next few years until it reaches a maximum of $700 per year or 2.5% of a person's gross income, whichever is greater. The Internal Revenue Service will collect the tax.
Obamacare remains unpopular with the American public. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey revealed 49% of people believed the health law a bad idea, with 43% "strongly" holding that opinion. Only 37% of people thought the law was a good idea. Last month, even the liberal CNN poll found that 54% of Americans were opposed to the law compared to 43% of those in favor of the law.
As full implementation of federal health care reform approaches, many people are confused by conflicting reports about coming increases in their health insurance premiums. The media has contributed to this confusion by using an apples-to-oranges comparison of health insurance plans. Consumers are also confused by possible changes in their health plans and are concerned whether they will be allowed to keep their existing insurance coverage.
Benefit and provider mandates in health insurance plans drive up the cost of health insurance. Each state, through either statute or regulatory action, controls the number and type of mandates required in plans sold in that state. Not all mandates are created equal, however. Some add less than one percent to the overall cost of the plan, whereas others such as mental health parity can add 10 percent to the cost. On average, each mandate adds 0.5 to 2.5 percent to the overall price of the insurance plan.
Generic drugs and biosimilar drugs should not be considered equals. Typical drugs are made from small molecules and are chemical substances. Generics can be reproduced by simply replicating the chemical formula of the parent drug. Biologic drugs are made from living, large molecules and their biosimilar replication in form does not guarantee the same function as the parent drug.
Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott has been a leading opponent of ObamaCare, yet this week he came out in favor of expanding Medicaid in his state through the Affordable Care Act. The reasoning is it is "free money" or "money left on the table if we don't expand" or a "job creator" or expansion will "hold down health care costs." These are all faulty reasons at their worst.
The bottom line is Medicaid expansion is a bribe from the federal government.