Everything you need to know about ObamaCare for June 2015 including Hawaii’s exchange, a subsidy lawsuit, Florida and Medicaid, and other healthcare news.
What you Need to Know About ObamaCare in June 2015
Hawaii will close their state health insurance exchange. Nearly 40,000 enrollees will be transitioned to the federal Obamacare marketplace, Healthcare.gov. After about $130 million invested into the Hawaii Health Connector the site is still not up to par with the Federal website and ACA regulations. Sen. Sam Slom (R) went as far as to describe the Connector as “a boondoggle from the very beginning”. Whoa, Sen. Slom, just whoa. Really though, this is perhaps another display of why it would have been smarter and more economical to simply have “one website to rule them all” (HealthCare.Gov) rather than expecting each state to reinvent the health insurance subsidy delivery wheel. Speaking of which… – Read more about the Hawaii health insurance website at the Huffington Post.
Boondoggle defined: “Work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.”
The President disagrees with the Supreme Courts decision to entertain the “subsidy lawsuit” (King V Burwell). The lawsuit ruling will be announced this month. Conservative backed groups started planning which lawsuits they would bring against the ACA before it was even passed (video evidence found here). Some of them stuck, some of them didn’t. The NFIB lawsuit in 2012 made expanding Medicaid optional and declared the mandate a tax validating the ACA as the law of the land. I don’t think anyone is specifically saying which specific Libertarian / Conservative groups are behind this, but if you let your imagination run wild you just may correctly guess which groups have orchestrated the lawsuits and cherry picked the plaintiffs to go after weak points in the law. That is the right of these groups, but President Obama and a few others found it surprising that SCOTUS actually entertained the King V. Burwell case as it is seemed clear to many that subsidies should be made equally available to all Americans, in all states, who meet the eligibility guidelines.
“This should be an easy case. Frankly, this boondoggle probably shouldn’t even have been taken up,” Paraphrasing President Obama. – Read more about the President’s opinions on King V. Burwell from Fox News.
Florida will continue to deny Medicaid expansion. Speaking of Supreme Court cases and States, Florida has continued to push back against expanding Medicaid to something like 800,000 Floridans despite 100% – 90% of funding from the Federal Government (they don’t trust the Federal Government to actually pick up the bill). Things were looking up until the Federal Government threatened(ish) not to give full funding for a program that reimburses hospitals for charity care unless Florida expanded Medicaid. Florida under governor Rick Scott (R and ex hospital executive) was like (paraphrasing / fabricating), “See Florida I told you we can’t trust the Federal Government to pay us. They won’t even reimburse us for tax-advantaged charity funds we use to pay for the unpaid hospital bills of people who should have been covered through Medicaid expansion in the first place. This has been a boondoggle from the start (referring to the Federal Government and not the lawsuit or the ironic part about charity funding).” Scott then moved forward with a lawsuit against the Federal Government.
Ps. The whole reason hospitals need charity funding is that they have unreimbursed care from… ya know like 800,000 Floridans without Medicaid.
“On May 21, the Obama administration told Florida in a letter that it would receive less than half of what it wanted for the charity pool for the 2015 fiscal year and even less the following year. At the same time, it suggested that Florida could do itself and its poor residents a favor by expanding Medicaid. It pointed out that by voluntarily expanding its Medicaid program, Florida would increase hospital revenues beyond the payments the hospitals would be getting from the charity pool.
Medicaid expansion would cover an estimated 800,000 uninsured Florida residents, and this is by far the best way for any state to go. The federal government pays 100 percent of the costs of covering newly eligible people through 2016, dropping down to 90 percent in 2020 and future years.
Charity pools simply reimburse hospitals and other providers after the fact for financial losses they have suffered for treating underinsured people. Medicaid enables patients to get care at little cost to themselves, reduces the number of uninsured people and strengthens the finances of hospitals with big charity loads. The 21 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid ought to rethink their positions.” – read more on the Florida Medicaid expansion battle at the NY times.
Also hospital growth and healthcare jobs are seeing their biggest boom in a long time, health insurance stocks (like Humana) are up crazy amounts, and ObamaCare is hurting Kentucky hospitals and insurers are jacking up rates because they are losing money.
Without dissecting this too much I think we can paraphrase this whole thing in one blurb, “There are a lot of good ideas in this big law, but there have been a few misfires too… misfires have been more common for those who aren’t embracing the Affordable Care Act, but frankly some misfires have just been due to the sheer size of the law and the breadth of what it tries to accomplish. Hopefully SCOTUS doesn’t rule that HealthCare.Gov is just a boondoggle, but rather finds that the lawsuit itself was the real boondoggle all along. In the meantime something like tens of millions of people still lack health insurance and public debt as a result of healthcare is still a major issue. The financial and physical wellbeing of Americans is perhaps the one thing happening in June that is NOT a boondoggle. Let us not lose focus on the real problem here and let us remember that the ACA is a solution… if not always the perfect one in practice.”