From the Wall Street Journal:
Thousands of people are cramming in tests, elective procedures and specialist visits before year’s end, seeking out top research hospitals and physician groups that will be left out of some 2014 insurance plans under the new health law, health-care providers say.
Many insurers offering plans under the law are slimming down their networks of doctors and hospitals in a bid to lower the cost of policies, which begin coverage Wednesday.
Health insurers are especially focused on paring academic teaching and research hospitals from their networks because they generally charge more than community hospitals for similar services. …
Some 70% of new plans under the health law offer relatively narrow networks compared with many current plans, according to a recent McKinsey & Co. report.
People whose health insurance plans were canceled as a result of Obamacare will not be subject to Obamacare’s penalty for being uninsured next year, the administration announced tonight. People whose plans were canceled and are having difficulty paying for a new plan will also be allowed to purchase catastrophic health plans from the exchanges, which had previously been available only to people under the age of 30. …
… it’s hard to justify offering this exemption to the previously insured but not to those who were previously uninsured. A person’s plan is canceled, and as a result that person is not subject to the mandate. But if that person was not insured this year, a person who is otherwise exactly the same is subject to the fine? Good luck selling that one.
via Obama Administration Delays Individual Mandate for People Whose Insurance Policies Were Canceled – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
From The New York Times:
Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.
via Obamacare’s Atomistic Individualism | Cato @ Liberty.
In a Rose Garden speech last month, President Obama defended his health care law, and offered some anecdotes about people it would help. One of those people was Jessica Sanford, who’d written to President Obama describing her health insurance predicament. …
Sanford’s story illustrates how some the Obamacare stories that might initially look like successes might not be once the data and pricing issues are all sorted out, and offers a reminder that sometimes the process of getting things straight can take weeks. That’s why we ought to remain skeptical about the White House’s push to improve the enrollment experience for the “vast majority of users.” It’s not just the user end that’s broken. And even if the website works well enough to allow most people who want to enroll to get through the process, there’s no guarantee that it will continue to work once they’re inside the system.
More: Woman Who Obama Cited as Obamacare Success Story Now Says She Can’t Afford Health Coverage – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
President Obama suggested that frustrated customers call the 800 number, so Alice did. The woman from healthcare.gov said she could mail her some information, which would arrive in three weeks. “Can’t you email it to me?” Alice asked. We’re not set up for that, the ObamaCare operator replied. Once the application arrives, Alice is to fill out the forms, mail them back, and hope for speedy processing. It had better be fast because at that point there will only be about a month before her coverage lapses…
I Can’t Believe I’m Reading This | John Goodmans Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org.
From NBC News:
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.
More: Obama administration knew millions could not keep their health insurance – Investigations.
Almost 1.5 Million Insurance Cancellations Under ObamaCare.
Even more disturbing, though, is the attempt by “others who are sympathetic to the administration” to explain away this “seeming contradiction” by figuratively harrumphing and pointing out the ‘reality’ of the “difference between political talking points intended to sell a controversial law and the intricacies of” the realities that underlie that legislation. These administrative sympathizers, in effect, excuse the president’s lying. These ‘sympathizers’ have the gall to excuse a falsehood on the grounds that that falsehood was meant to “sell a controversial law.” (more)
“Yes, You Can Keep Your Health Plan” or, What Part of *Screw You* Don’t You Understand? - Reason.com
President Obama(in)famously said, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” under the Affordable Care Act. As it turns out, not so much. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, it turns out, are receiving letters telling them that their existing coverage just isn’t good enough to satisfy the strict requirements of the Obamacare law, and that they’ll have to sign up for new policies. Those new policies come with new stipulations, and new price tags. Which is to say, it doesn’t matter if you like your health care plan, since you probably can’t keep it.
via You Can Keep Your Health Insurance Under Obamacare? Not So Much. – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
In the Wall Street Journal, John Goodman explains why “The Government Is the Worst Vendor Possible for Managing Health-Insurance Exchanges.” Excerpts:
One problem is that too little money was budgeted for creating the exchanges, which are the online markets where people can choose among competing health plans and prices. …
A second problem is complexity. The Obama administration wants something the federal government has never done: a computer system that connects HHS, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Homeland Security and perhaps other departments. This is a herculean task with unclear benefits. …
A third and much bigger problem is competency. … In July 2011, Fortune magazine reported that the government is spending $80 billion a year on buying and operating information technology, and much of it is simply wasted. …
One of the worst mistakes the federal government makes is the tendency to try to reinvent systems the private sector has already invented. The government has been true to form under the health-reform law, completely ignoring private exchanges that are up and running.
John Goodman: Navigating the ObamaCare Maze – WSJ.com.
The AP reports:
Some labor unions that enthusiastically backed President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul are now frustrated and angry, fearful that it will jeopardize benefits for millions of their members. …
While unions knew there were lingering issues after the law passed, they believed those could be fixed through rulemaking.
But last month, the union representing roofers issued a statement calling for “repeal or complete reform” of the health care law. Kinsey Robinson, president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, complained that labor’s concerns over the health care law “have not been addressed, or in some instances, totally ignored.”
“In the rush to achieve its passage, many of the act’s provisions were not fully conceived, resulting in unintended consequences that are inconsistent with the promise that those who were satisfied with their employer-sponsored coverage could keep it,” Robinson said.
Some unions now angry about health care overhaul – Yahoo! News.