Monday, April 27, 2015

Republicans Would Extend Obamacare Subsidies If the Supreme Court Strikes Down State Exchange Payments––But With Lots of Conditions

The Republicans should offer an unconditional subsidy extension if the Supreme Court strikes them down


Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R) has offered a plan to extend the Obamacare state exchange subsidies into 2017 if the Supreme Court strikes them down this summer. The Republican Senate leadership is supporting his bill.

But Johnson has some pretty big conditions:
  • Existing subsidies in the federally run exchanges would continue until September 1, 2017.
  • The individual mandate would be struck down.
  • The employer mandate would also be repealed.
  • Obamacare's benefit mandates––the essential health package requirements––would be struck down enabling insurance companies to market any health insurance plans that complied under state law. 
  • Consumers could keep any pre-Obamacare policies still in effect.
  • The subsidy extension would not apply to new enrollees––just those individuals and families getting subsidies at the time the Senator's bill became law.
On the face of it, Republicans are smart to demand the most unpopular parts of Obamacare should be immediately scrapped.

But, Democrats just aren't going to go for this. They will point out that while the individual mandate was being struck down the guarantee issue provisions of Obamacare would still be intact leading to significant anti-selection and problems for the health insurance markets without at least a viable alternative to the individual mandate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

$1 billion in Federal Tax Dollars and a One Star Rating on Yelp––Quite an Expose––Behind the Scenes at Covered California

California's Obamacare Insurance Exchange Posts Poor Results and is the Subject of an Expose


What a difference a year makes.

Last year the California Obamacare insurance exchange, Covered California, was touted as the poster child for the Obamacare launch. Supporters said it worked well, enrolled lots of people, and was off to the kind of start that proved how successful Obamacare could be.

But after the second open enrollment new sign-ups have hit a wall, customer renewal rates are among the worst in the country, and consumer complaints are growing:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's Medicaid Policy––and Now His Position Not to Save Insurance Subsidies if the Supreme Court Strikes Them Down––Says a Lot About How He Would Govern as President

Speaking to a conservative group in Wisconsin this week, presumptive presidential candidate Scott Walker said he would not move to establish a state exchange in order to preserve the Obamacare federal insurance exchange subsidies if the Supreme Court strikes them down in an expected June ruling:
We're going to push back. The President of the United States––they've got to come up with a solution...They're going to try to put pressure on us but we need to put the pressure right back on them.
The 186,000 Wisconsin residents now getting subsidized health insurance from Wisconsin's federally run exchange would lose their premium support if and when the Supreme Court strikes down the Obamacare subsidies.

This isn't the first time Walker has tried to clearly establish himself as the candidate with the strongest conservative credentials––and biggest opponent to Obamacare.

In 2013, Walker refused to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin under Obamacare and instead came up with a plan of his own.

About Walker's Medicaid alternative, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel––which has supported his candidacy for governor––wrote in a recent editorial:
For the governor, it was about a conservative standing firm against Obamacare. But for taxpayers, it was about losing the chance to save up to $345 million over the next two years...

Walker's decision cost taxpayers more than $100 million in the current two-year budget. An estimated 84,700 more people could have been covered under BadgerCare [Medicaid] had he taken the additional federal money.

And, for what? To make a political statement. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Two years later just how well has Walker's Medicaid alternative done? See my op-ed in Forbes here.
Avoid having to check back. Subscribe to Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review and receive an email each time we post.

Blog Archive