Category Archives: health insurance

Insurance Industry Opposes Republican Health Bill

Fortune seemed surprised that insurers oppose last ditch Republican efforts to replace and repeal ObamaCare.

As usual, the industry’s concern is for consumers.

Insurance Industry Explains Why

Industry spokesmen displayed their concern in an article titled “Even the Insurance Industry is Against the Latest GOP Health Care Plan”:

Despite the general view that health insurance companies would benefit from a free and open market, two of the biggest trade groups for insurers — Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans — announced their first opposition to the Republicans’ latest plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Both the Blue Cross and the AHIP came out against the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill Wednesday, arguing that the legislation would lead to an unstable market that would harm both insurers and patients.

“The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,’’ the Blue Cross association said in a statement. “The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.”

The AHIP doubled down on those sentiments, writing that the bill “would have real consequences on consumers and patients by further destabilizing the individual market” and could “potentially allowing government-controlled, single payer health care to grow,” in a letter to Senate majority and minority leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The insurance trade associations’ resistance joins a number of health care groups already speaking out against the proposed bill, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Association of Retired Persons.

The Graham-Cassidy bill, named after two of its drafters, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), has a voting deadline of Sept. 30. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation next week after several previously unsuccessful attempts earlier this year.

President Donald Trump talked up the bill Wednesday, saying that it has “a very good chance” of passing in the Senate.

ObamaCare Repeal Replace Repeat

repeal

The Senate voted 51 – 50 to open debate on repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But it wasn’t easy. John McCain returned to the Senate floor from brain cancer treatment and voted yes. With the vote tied Vice President Mike Pence caste the deciding ballot.

No Democrats voted in favor. Though some say they’re willing to back a bill to repair but not repeal ObamaCare.

Update: McCain gave a final thumbs down on sending the bill to the House.

Pride of ObamaCare Ownership

obamacare ownership

President Trump’s answer to the Senate health-care bill collapse was to stand back and allow ObamaCare to collapse too. There aren’t enough healthy customers paying premiums to cover the sick ones. And insurance companies are pulling out as ObamaCare heads into a death spiral.

Trump claims that when the program fails he won’t own it. Democrats will because they passed ObamaCare on a party line vote with zero Republican input.

Obamacare Ownership

Which kind of makes sense, except that voters elected Trump to repeal ObamaCare. Now he’s president so he does own it, along with everything else he inherited from previous administrations.

Kind of like LBJ owned all the helicopters.

 

Medicaid Addiction Crisis

addiction

Here’s a nifty graphic from Axios AM.  It’s based on data gathered by The Kaiser Family Foundation. The data show that most people are covered by group health insurance. But Medicaid comes in second.

The Affordable Care Act encouraged states to expand Medicaid to the able bodied poor. The deal was that the feds would pay 100% of the costs until 2020 and 90% from then on.

Addiction to Medicaid

The Medicaid expansion created a new entitlement. And Governors like John Kasich got hooked on it. And, as with most addictions, the price skyrocketed.

Daniel Henninger in the WSJ finds it ironic that Republicans are using the opioid addiction crises as a reason not to cut back on soaring Medicaid expenses.

What an irony it is that one of the Republican arguments made now for preserving ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is the opioid crisis. Even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Medicaid’s expansion was optional, some Republican governors got hooked on the promise of federal cash flow to the horizon.

Anthem Takes a Hike

Anthem Insurance recently pulled out of Ohio’s ObamaCare exchange. The company cited “a mix of uncertainty and big losses from higher-than-expected bills racked up by sick policyholders.”

Also, Anthem cited the shrinking individual market — a half million fewer people signed up for Obamacare during open enrollment this year — and the return of an Obamacare tax levied on insurers that had been waived for 2017 as reasons for its departure.an uncertain future for ObamaCare and declining