Archive for the ‘affordable care act’ Tag

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The medical-loss-ratio requirement mandates that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of premiums on actual health benefits. It is one of the various provisions intended to help shape the behavior of insurance companies, making the market more efficient and cost-effective for consumers. Administrative costs are kept down, meaning that more of people’s money is going to real care.

“The medical loss ratio requirement and rate review mandated by the ACA put downward pressure on premium growth,” officials from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote in their report. Overall private insurance spending, of which premiums are a part, grew at a 2.8-percent rate — the lowest since at least 2007.

As Larry Levitt, vice president at the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, put it to TPM in an email: “That is how it’s intended to work.”

 

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obamacare-mlr-health-spending-slow

 

 

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Ezra Klein “The Republican Party’s play is Fred Upton’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act.” The law is poorly named: It doesn’t actually guarantee that you can keep your health care. Instead, it allows insurers to keep offering their current plans and also allows them to offer new plans that aren’t ACA compliant.

At a slim 235 words, Upton’s bill is a master class in the pitfalls of soundbite legislation. It manages to fail to solve the problem it’s actually aimed at while creating a new political problem — this time, for Republicans.

The bill gives insurers the option of renewing their cancelled plans — but, crucially, it doesn’t require them to do so. Few insurers want to renew those plans, as they don’t expect them to be profitable in a post-Obamacare world. So Upton’s bill doesn’t mean people can keep their current health insurance, but it means they can begin (wrongly) blaming their health insurer rather than the Obama administration for the cancellation of that insurance.

Meanwhile, Upton’s bill has a secondary provision allowing insurers to offer new plans in 2014 that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. So if an insurer wants to continue turning people away for being sick, they can go right ahead. If they want to offer shoddy coverage that’ll evaporate the moment a health crisis strikes, that’s their prerogative. The result is that Upton guts the law’s extremely popular insurance regulations. “A vote for the Upton bill, in short, is a vote for everything Americans say they hate about their health-care system,” Jon Cohn writes.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/14/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-plans-to-fix-obamacare/

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Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they’d identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she’d be covered.

A 56-year-old Seattle resident with a 57-year-old husband and 15-year-old daughter, Donna had been looking forward to the savings that the Affordable Care Act had to offer.

But that’s not what she found. Instead, she’d be paying an additional $300 a month for coverage. The letter made no mention of the health insurance marketplace that would soon open in Washington, where she could shop for competitive plans, and only an oblique reference to financial help that she might qualify for, if she made the effort to call and find out.

Otherwise, she’d be automatically rolled over to a new plan — and, as the letter said, “If you’re happy with this plan, do nothing.”

If Donna had done nothing, she would have ended up spending about $1,000 more a month for insurance than she will now that she went to the marketplace, picked the best plan for her family and accessed tax credits at the heart of the health care reform law.

“The info that we were sent by LifeWise was totally bogus. Why the heck did they try to screw us?” Donna said. “People who are afraid of the ACA should be much more afraid of the insurance companies who will exploit their fear and end up overcharging them.”

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/insurance-companies-misleading-letters-obamacare

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Offering a frank assessment of how his fellow Republicans approach the issue of poverty, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) sounded a bit more like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) than a guy who stumped for Mitt Romney.

“I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor,” Kasich told the New York Times in a story published Tuesday. “That if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”

“You know what?” he added. “The very people who complain ought to ask their grandparents if they worked at the W.P.A.”

Although he opposes the Affordable Care Act, Kasich broke with many Republican governors when he accepted the Medicaid expansion under the law. Despite the efforts by some GOP lawmakers to block the expansion, Kasich unilaterally secured the federal funds — which will be used to provide coverage to up to 275,000 low income Ohioans — through a manuever that could face conservative legal challenges.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/gop-gov-kasich-says-there-seems-to-be-a-war-on-the-poor

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Stewart “For those just joining the story in progress, our government is going to shut down in 57 of your earth minutes because House Republicans are refusing to fund the government unless the rest of Congress delays implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, also known as the end of America as we know it for reasons no one is able to clearly explain.”

Stewart “Are you familiar with how the world works? Did you see the Giants game on Sunday? OK, they lost 31 to 7. And you know what the Giants didn’t say after that game? If you don’t give us 25 more points by midnight on Monday, we will shut down the bleeping NFL.”

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-september-30-2013/jon-stewart-s-rockin–shutdown-eve

My letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner October 1, 20013   Leave a comment

Dear Speaker Boehner,

I am writing to express my extreme displeasure about the current shutdown of the government of the United States Of America.  It is clearly obvious that this did not have to happen.  You could have easily put through a clean CR and kept our government open.  You have chosen to represent a minority of Americans against the wishes and needs of the majority of Americans.  You have failed to do your job, in every sense of the word.

Most Americans want to be able to purchase affordable health care, and now that a Republican based system to achieve that has been enacted into law, you have chosen to abandon your principles.  You have chosen to leave a system in place where every company in the United States saw annual rises in health care costs of between 10 and 20 percent, putting them on track to be able to not afford to cover their workers.  You have chosen to leave a system that make it difficult or impossible for an honest working American to be able to purchase health care on his or her own.  Now that a Republican based plan to change that has been enacted, you are fighting it for reasons that baffle the mind of competent thinkers.

What have you gained by shutting down our government?  The Affordable Care Act is in place and American citizens will be able to purchase health care.  They are now obligated to do so, which raises the insured pool and spreads the risks.  You lost this fight a long time ago, because Americans want to be able to afford health care and live healthy lives.

Your speeches make me think you are doing this as a matter of principle, but what principle wants to actively deny Americans from being healthy?  We spend billions of dollars each year to kill lots of people all around the world.  How could we not spend billions to make sure our own people are healthy?  Jesus advocated healing the poor, and you have chosen to make it difficult for the poor to be able to see a doctor.  At some point, you really have to ask yourself who you really serve.

You have been one of the weakest and most ineffective leaders of the House Of Representatives in my lifetime.  By actively choosing to shut down the government for no reason, you will be forever compared historically to Newt Gingrich.  If that was your goal, you have achieved it.

Please send a clean CR to the Senate and get our country open again.  After that, the only honorable thing to do is to resign your position as Speaker Of The House, and resign from Congress.  If most Americans did their job like you have, they would be fired immediately.  Considering the economy you have created, I understand your reluctance to do so, but it’s your only honorable way out at this time.  You have actively chosen to work against the majority of the citizens of the United States of America.  In the cold light of day, resignation is your only honorable more.

Sincerely,

Tim

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Ezra Klein “After three consecutive years of increasing poverty rates, new data released by the Census Bureau finds the poverty rate remained unchanged at 15 percent in 2011. That`s better than going up. That means 46.2 million Americans are living at or below the federal poverty line.

But, and this is important to remember, that`s before you take into account all the anti-poverty programs, like Food Stamps and the Earned
Income Tax Credit that we have going. When you bring those into the calculation, the number is probably lower by many millions of people. So
that`s good.

While the poverty levels held, the census did find a rise in income inequality. The income of the highest quintile of earners rose 1.6
percent, while the middle income quintiles fell. So the rich are getting richer and the rest of the country is not.

But we do have some genuine good news here tonight. The number of uninsured Americans, which usually goes up in bad economies, is dropping. About 1.4 million more Americans have health insurance than had it one year ago. After three years of rising uninsured rates, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage dropped from 16.3 percent in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2011.

And for the first time in a decade, the percentage of people with private insurance did not drop. Some players are not throwing people off. Census officials cited two major factors driving down the uninsured rate. The number of young adults ages 19 to 25 without insurance dropped two percent, the largest of any group. That is largely because health reform, the Affordable Care Act, allowed kids up to age 26 to stay on their parents` insurance, which has kept an estimated three million young adults insured.

And the number of Americans covered by government programs such as Medicaid has expanded. There are a lot of things government doesn`t do well. But one thing it does know how to do, which you can see here, and you can see, frankly, in every other developed nation on Earth, is give people health insurance.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49021527/ns/msnbc-the_ed_show/#.UFXF-q5qDTo