February 17, 2014 |
The sprawling 2010 Affordable Care Act has proved so hard to implement that the Obama administration has delayed or waived multiple provisions of the law in the hope of avoiding even more breakdowns and confusion. Last week the administration put off for another year the requirement that larger employers provide coverage for some or all of their workers. It's also reportedly considering a longer delay in implementing the law's minimum standards for insurance policies. Although the administration may have the right motives, its aggressive use of executive power to change deadlines and weaken requirements sets an unwelcome precedent.
February 9, 2014 |
The recent Congressional Budget Office report on healthcare reform has lots of good news. Insurance premiums are lower than anticipated, the Affordable Care Act will cost $9 billion less than previously estimated and the provision designed to buffer insurance companies from risk will actually raise revenue, not function as any sort of federal government bailout. But the good news has not gotten much attention because the CBO also projected that, within the next several years, healthcare reform may reduce employment and worker hours by the equivalent of about 2 million full-time positions.
February 8, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Fans of the Jet City Rollergirls are hearing public announcements about Obamacare when they go to the roller derby track north of Seattle. Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language television network, is airing half-hour specials about healthy living and educating viewers about how to sign up for coverage under President Obama's health law. And tax preparers at thousands of Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block offices are talking to their customers about how to enroll in the new insurance plans sold through the law's online marketplaces.
February 6, 2014
Re "State aid is relief, burden," Feb. 3 Who are the supporters of national healthcare reform who "tout the expansion of Medicaid - called Medi-Cal in California - as one of the great successes of the Affordable Care Act"? Medi-Cal has been failing since its underfunded inception almost 50 years ago. Confirmation of eligibility for the program does not guarantee timely healthcare, as the number of physicians in the program is embarrassingly low. The Affordable Care Act, as with our entire dysfunctional healthcare system, guarantees delays, disappointments and, unfortunately, sometimes death to those without the means to buy better care.
February 5, 2014 |
In my column Wednesday, I argued that this fall's congressional election campaign won't focus solely on Obamacare, even though some Republican candidates say they think that's the way to win. But wait, I hear you ask: Doesn't the latest forecast from the Congressional Budget Office - the one that says Obamacare could prompt many people to leave the workforce - guarantee that the campaign will be all about Obamacare? Maybe. But that could turn out to be a mistake for the GOP. The initial headlines on the CBO report made its findings sound worse than they turned out to be. Some Republicans, seizing on the news, claimed that the CBO was forecasting the loss of 2.5 million jobs.
February 5, 2014 |
The conventional wisdom is that this fall's congressional election will be all about Obamacare. Republicans, it's argued, will try to expand their majority in the House and take the Senate with a campaign focused mostly on the failings of President Obama's health insurance law; Democrats will fire back with warnings that the GOP would simply repeal the law and leave consumers on their own. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Obamacare will be a major issue this fall, but so will the economy and a host of other issues, including immigration and -- if Democrats have their way -- pay equity for women.