Archive for December, 2012
Not all surprises are good. When it comes to Obamacare, the original projections are turning into unfortunately different realities. For the next 8 days, Heritage is going to highlight one of the various changes in Obamacare projections (e.g., cost, enrollment, etc.) from when the law first passed until now.
One of Obamacare’s primary goals was to dramatically reduce the number of uninsured. To achieve this, Obamacare depends on a Medicaid expansion, new government subsidies funneled through exchanges, and an individual mandate to get people covered.
In 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would insure 32 million non-elderly people by 2019, leaving 23 million non-elderly Americans uninsured.
In 2012, the CBO updated its projection to show that Obamacare would provide coverage for 36 million people through Medicaid and subsidized coverage in the government-run exchanges, leaving 30 million Americans uninsured in 2022.
Not all surprises are good. When it comes to Obamacare, the original projections are turning into unfortunately different realities. For the next 9 days, Heritage is going to highlight one of the various changes in Obamacare projections (i.e. cost, enrollment, etc.) from when the law first passed until now.
The federal government will provide subsidies to offset the cost of coverage in Obamacare’s new exchanges for those with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
In 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that exchange subsidies would average $6,000 per enrollee in 2019, for a total cost of $113 billion.
In 2012, the CBO updated its projection for an average subsidy cost of $6,470 per enrollee in 2019. The total cost of subsidies and related spending is now projected to be $137 billion in 2019.
Surprise: With premiums higher than initially anticipated, the average subsidy is now projected to cost $470 more per person in 2019 alone. This increase in projections of about 8 percent is an indication that both health care premiums and the cost of Obamacare will continue to rise faster than reindeer take flight!
Not all surprises are good. When it comes to Obamacare, the original projections are turning into unfortunately different realities. For the next 10 days, Heritage is going to highlight one of the various changes in Obamacare projections (i.e. cost, enrollment, etc.) from when the law first passed until now.
To pay for massive new spending provisions, Obamacare includes 18 new or increased taxes, fees, and penalties.
Not all surprises are good. When it comes to Obamacare, the original projections are turning into unfortunately different realities. For the next 11 days, Heritage is going to highlight one of the various changes in Obamacare projections (i.e. cost, enrollment, etc.) from when the law first passed until now.
The Small Employer Health Insurance Tax Credit was intended to encourage employers to offer health insurance to their employees by partially offsetting the cost.
In 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Small Employer Tax Credit would cost the federal government $37 billion over 10 years.
In 2012, the CBO updated its estimate, projecting the credit would cost $23 billion over 10 years.
Joshua Sharfstein (left), secretary of the State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, testifies on state exchanges and Medicaid expansion. (Photo: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)
Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss the implementation of Obamacare’s exchanges and Medicaid expansion, both of which are slated to begin in 2014.
Two officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expressed confidence that exchange implementation was on schedule, stating, “All Exchanges will open for enrollment in October 2013.”
Despite their assurance, Dennis Smith, the Secretary of Health Services in Wisconsin—a state that has declined to operate a state-based exchange—is not convinced: “[W]e are not confident that the federal government has adequately prepared for handling an unprecedented number of applications, verifications, and enrollments.”
Not all surprises are good. When it comes to Obamacare, the original projections are turning into unfortunately different realities. For the next 12 days, Heritage is going to highlight one of the various changes in Obamacare projections (i.e. cost, enrollment, etc.) from when the law first passed until now.
One of the most infamous features of Obamacare is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a tax for being uninsured.
In 2010, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that 4 million people would pay the penalty in 2016 and that collections from those penalties would be about $4 billion per year between 2017 and 2019.
In 2012, the CBO and JCT updated their estimate of those paying the mandate to 6 million people in 2016, totaling $7 billion in tax revenue and growing to $8 billion per year from 2017-2022.
As the discussions over the fiscal cliff continue, the debate over entitlement reform is getting confused. The issue is not only how much savings constitutes reform, but also the underlying policies that get you there. Thus far in the fiscal cliff negotiations, Republicans have pushed for greater spending cuts, namely in Medicare.
To that point, a National Journal article commented, “In just a few short weeks, the dominant Republican line on Medicare has shifted from attacking the Democrats for making cuts to the program to demanding a new round of cuts to reduce the federal deficit.”
But this claim cannot be taken at face value, as all spending reductions are not created equal.
There are major distinctions between Obamacare’s Medicare cuts and Medicare reforms that would reduce spending and extend the life of the program.
Tomorrow is an important day for Obamacare. It’s the deadline for states to declare their intentions about setting up their own health insurance exchanges for residents to purchase insurance under the new regime.
If a state does not set up an exchange, the federal government will come in and set it up, according to the law. So far, 22 states have said they are not going to set up state exchanges. Only six states have received conditional approval from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to operate their own exchanges.
Why leave it up to the federal government? Well, to begin with, it’s an extremely costly undertaking. Heritage health care experts Nina Owcharenko and Ed Haislmaier explain:
[T]here will be no steady flow of federal dollars to the states. The law specifies that starting in 2015, any state implementing a state exchange must develop its own revenue source to fund the exchange’s annual operations. That puts the long-term costs squarely on the states. Moreover, the recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that it will levy a 3.5 percent administrative fee on coverage sold through the federally run exchanges indicates there are significant costs if a state agrees to run its own exchange.
And what would be in it for them? Certainly not increased control over how the exchanges are run. Owcharenko and Haislmaier explain that “regulations promulgated by HHS allow states no meaningful flexibility or advantage by operating their own exchanges, relative to a federal exchange. Those states would simply be acting as vendors to HHS.”
Retiring House Ways and Mean Health Care Subcommittee chairman Wally Herger (R–CA) has introduced the most complete and detailed major Medicare reform proposal in a decade.
Herger leaves a rich legacy with the Save and Strengthen Medicare Act (H.R. 6645). The bill moves Medicare to a defined-contribution model with competition between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and private insurance companies. Many of its provisions are closely aligned to Heritage’s Medicare reform outlined in Saving the American Dream.
Herger’s legislation would protect and enhance Medicare for low-income beneficiaries by offering them a more generous benefit, and it would protect future beneficiaries by making Medicare more financially sustainable. The act contains changes to traditional Medicare, but it also clearly lays out a transition to premium support with the federal contribution eventually based on the minimum bid from both private insurers and traditional fee-for-service.
American health care consumers aren’t the only ones who will be hit by slated Obamacare tax hikes. Medical bills for their pets may go up as well.
According to a rule published Friday by the Internal Revenue Service, some medical devices used in veterinary practices will be hit by Obamacare’s 2.3 percent device tax. Many of their manufacturers are expected to hike prices, meaning higher veterinary costs for the nation’s pet owners.
The tax will not hit devices that are used exclusively for veterinary purposes. But a host of such devices are manufactured for use in both human health care and veterinary practices. Those devices’ manufacturers will have to pay the tax.
The IRS rule states:
Section 4191 [of the Internal Revenue Code] limits the definition of a taxable medical device to devices described in section 201(h) of the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] that are intended for humans, but does not provide that the device must be intended exclusively for humans. Under existing [Food and Drug Administration] regulations, a device intended for use exclusively in veterinary medicine is not required to be listed as a device with the FDA, whereas a device intended for use in human medicine is required to be listed as a device with the FDA even if the device may also be used in veterinary medicine.
According to the FDA, common “dual use” medical devices are “examination gloves, sterile catheters, infusion pumps, etc.”
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009