From Peter Suderman at Reason:
The basic issue here is that when you cap prices on services, you end up creating a system in which providers have a huge incentives to bill for more services. As Brookings health policy scholar Dr. Darshak Sanghavi tells the Times, “The notion is you can make end runs around price controls by increasing the number of things you do and bill for.”
Indeed, pricing systems end up creating opportunities for consultants and middlemen to help doctors figure out how to maximize their billing
More: How Price Controls Contribute to High Medicare Bills.
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.
From Peter Suderman at Reason.com:
Over the weekend, The New York Times published a report noting that health insurers across the nation are both “seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums” — this despite the fact that “one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.” …
What’s going on? Why are these rates going up?
Suderman explains how mandated benefits explain some of the increase. He then explains a less obvious culprit: mandatory medical loss ratios. Suderman writes:
The MLR is an accounting requirement which says that insurers have to spend at least 80 percent of their total premium revenue on medical expenses, leaving just 20 percent for administrative costs, marketing, and other non-medical expenditures. Any insurer that fails to meet this target must issue rebates to customers. This year, insurers rebated about $1 billion.
The MLR provision creates two incentives for insurers to jack up health insurance premiums. One is the plain fact that with profit and administrative costs capped as a percentage of premium revenue, the easiest way to generate larger profits is to charge higher premiums.
The other is that the rebate requirement means insurers may need to charge higher up-front premiums in order to protect themselves from the risk of a bad year.
Read more: Is ObamaCare Causing Health Insurance Premiums to Rise? – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
By requiring people to choose between health care and personal privacy, Colorado’s All-Payer Health Claims Database and the proposed HB 12-1242 are both unacceptable infringements of individual rights, write Linda Gorman & Amy Oliver (both w/ the Independence Institute) in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
On HB 12-1242, they write:
Reps. Summers and Massey, along with Sen. Betty Boyd are sponsoring HB12-1242. Under that bill, you won’t be able to get prescription medications or controlled over-the-counter medications without providing a biometric identifier like a fingerprint or a retinal scan. Failure to comply would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, a crime as serious as the possession of child pornography or third degree assault.If requiring voters to show ID is an unacceptable infringement of rights, so is requiring people to choose between health care and personal privacy. Officials who fail to repeal the APDB enable the ongoing assault on individual liberty.
Read the whole article here: Bill would compromise patients’ medical privacy.
Regarding controlled over-the-counter medications, the first one I think of is the decongestant pseudoephedrine, which federal drug warriors took off the shelves because it’s used to make meth. But as Radley Balko reports, this restriction on our liberties has questionable benefits at best.
(Balko article via FIRM)
Diana Furchtgott-Roth writes:
Cornell University economics professor Richard Burkhauser showed that in 2014, millions of low-income Americans may be unable to get subsidized health insurance through the new health care exchanges. …
If the firm does offer health insurance, the worker with dependents will prefer that the coverage is unaffordable. That’s not a typo — if the coverage is unaffordable, then the employee will be able to buy health insurance for his family on the exchange.
A firm that offers unaffordable coverage will have to pay a penalty of $3,000 per worker. But workers would prefer to receive a lower salary, have the employer pay the $3,000 penalty, and be able to buy subsidized health insurance on the exchange.
This causes substantial disincentives to marriage. …
Read more at the Washington Examiner: Another unpleasant surprise from Obamacare.
At Reason.com, Economist Robert Higgs writes:
Repeal of ObamaCare would probably do wonders to spur hiring, especially for permanent positions. Compensation for such jobs usually includes a benefits package with health care insurance, as well as a money wage or salary. Health care insurance often constitutes a major part of the employer’s cost of keeping a permanent worker on the payroll, and anything that makes this cost difficult to forecast makes employers leery to take on new workers.
Read the rest of his comments: What Would You Do to Improve Job Growth? – Reason Magazine.