A March Madness Health Wonk Review


by John Cassidy

Source: Health Wonk Review: The Affordable Care Act 

Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters suggests that some business executives may well be letting their ideological blinders affect their business decisions.  PPACA is here to stay, and time would be far better spent assessing the potential impact and not hoping it will be repealed or emasculated.

Maggie Mahar at Health Beat asks why so many journalists know so little about the Affordable Care Act. She cites a newspaper story that compared deductibles in ACA bronze plans – excluding gold, silver, and platinum plans – against deductibles for all plans in the pre-ACA individual market. Why didn’t the reporters account for all of the ACA metal levels, and why didn’t the editors call them on their failure to do so, Maggie asks.

Hank Stern at InsureBlog explains how a recent extension of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan translated on the ground as he dealt with representatives of the Ohio PCIP and insurers on behalf of a client. Spoiler alert: The translation process was more than a bit rocky.

Wonk Review veteran Louise Norris offers two posts stressing the high costs of not getting coverage in the waning days of ACA open enrollment. At the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Norris warns that the ACA’s penalty for not being insured can be more significant than the oft quoted $95 in the first year. It’s actually $95 per uninsured adult (plus $47.50 per uninsured child), up to a maximum of $285 per family, OR 1 percent of taxable household income, whichever is greater, she writes. And at healthinsurance.org, Norris stresses the risks of going uncovered through sobering stories of her own parents’ experiences with unexpected illness and accidents.

Can Obamacare be fixed? In his eponymous blog, John Goodman answers in the affirmative; he offers four proposed changes to the legislation and describes how they would work. But we’re not talking technical changes here – John’s first suggestion, for example, is replacing income-based premium subsidies with a flat tax credit.

And here at Health Affairs Blog, Fredric Blavin and Urban Institute coauthors offer insights from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey into the challenges of reaching out to Hispanics and persuading them to enroll in the ACA health insurance marketplaces. Topics addressed include health literacy and immigration issues.