7:32 AM, Oct 18, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In light of the beating the Obama administration is taking over the ignominious launch of the Obamacare insurance marketplaces, it makes sense that the White House would be looking for good news to share. The White House Twitter account attempted to provide a boost on Thursday with the following:
Great news: The number of Oregonians without health insurance dropped 10% in 2 weeks —> http://t.co/Aqf0u3PUfG #ThanksObamacare #GetCovered
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 17, 2013
On the surface, the news sounds promising. But those who click through to the OregonLive article might draw a different conclusion. Here is an excerpt from the story [emphasis added]:
Though the Oregon's health insurance exchange is not yet up and running, the number of uninsured is already dropping thanks to new fast-track enrollment for the Oregon Health Plan.
The low-income, Medicaid-funded program has already signed up 56,000 new people, cutting the state's number of uninsured by 10 percent, according to Oregon Health Authority officials.
Though the new exchange called Cover Oregon was originally intended to be used for Oregon Health Plan enrollment, the online marketplace doesn't work yet. Instead, new Oregon Health Plan members are being enrolled using a fast-track process that was approved by the federal government in August.
Since late September the Oregon Health Authority sent out notices to 260,000 people already enrolled in the state's food stamps program since late October.
The notices informed them that based on their income reported to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, they are pre-qualified for the Oregon Health Plan in 2014. Most of them are newly eligible thanks to the state's decision to expand the program's income caps under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
To enroll, all they have to do is make a phone call or send a form consenting to be enrolled. So far, 56,000 people have done that, coming on top of more than 600,000 already enrolled.
Under the new Oregon Health Plan income eligibility rules, in 2014 individuals must earn 138 percent of the federal poverty level or less to qualify, as compared to the 100 percent cutoff this year. The new cap means monthly income of $1,322 for an individual,$1,784 for a household of two, $2,247 for a household of three, and $2,704 for a family of four.
Another change likely to boost enrollment: under new rules mandated by the federal health law, savings or property is no longer a bar to membership; application is now based strictly on income for the month in which someone applies.
Many of the new enrollees are likely to have pent-up health needs. A survey of 38,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan waiting list in 2012 found 11 percent had diabetes, 8 percent heart problems, 30 percent high blood pressure, 22 percent high cholesterol and 5 percent cancer...
What it boils down to is this: About 56,000 persons already on food stamps in Oregon have been added to Medicaid; many of them are in poor health, and some could have significant savings and property or had a single month of low income, but qualify anyway. And all they must do is respond via phone call or consent form to be covered; no is application needed, which is a good thing, because the online marketplace doesn’t work anyway. So the "number of Oregonians without health insurance dropped 10% in 2 weeks," true enough. But none of them will actually be paying premiums in the new Obamacare insurance system.
This is what passes for good news in the age of Obamacare.
8:44 AM, Aug 29, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The state of Alabama received bonus payments from Medicaid for 2009 and 2010 that were a stunning 13 times higher than the state was eligible for. So says the inspector general (IG) for Health and Human Services in a report released on Wednesday.
10:24 AM, Mar 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a report on its website, the credit rating firm Moody's pushes for Medicaid expansion. The firm warns that states who do not expand Medicaid will face "political and budgetary pressure."
11:45 AM, Feb 27, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Yesterday, Chris Christie became the eighth Republican governor to capitulate on Obamacare’s massive Medicaid expansion, declaring his desire to implement it in his state. Yet while Christie wasn’t the first GOP governor to fold, he was presumably the first to offer the novel defense that his decision somehow won’t cost federal taxpayers any money.
1:01 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."
5:35 PM, Jan 16, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The head of the AARP has stated clearly where his organization stands on the matter of cutting entitlements. As Kate Ackley reports in Roll Call:
12:14 PM, Nov 16, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
First off, it’s not a “fiscal cliff.” What we’re slated to hit as of New Year’s Day, as the Wall Street Journal notes, is a tax cliff. Our fiscal cliff, which drops off into a far deeper canyon, is what looms because of our $16,000,000,000,000 debt and the runaway entitlement spending that fuels it — Medicare, Medicaid, (and now) Obamacare. In truth, the debt deal passed in the summer of 2011 — which the press now says we must scrap if we are to avoid the “fiscal cliff” — was designed to postpone our going over the (actual) fiscal cliff.
10:01 AM, Oct 9, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During last Wednesday’s presidential debate, President Obama claimed that the private sector just can’t match the leanness and efficiency of the federal government. He was speaking specifically about privately covered health care versus government-run health care.
6:00 AM, Jul 6, 2012 • By JAY COST
The Hill reports:
Obama touted the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his signature healthcare reform legislation to cheers from a crowd of his supporters.
“The law I passed is here to stay,” he told an audience composed largely of Ohio automobile manufacturing workers.
9:22 AM, Jun 15, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In his speech yesterday, President Obama said, “[M]y plan would reduce our yearly domestic spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy in nearly 60 years.” Such an amazing claim is made possible only by excluding the two domestic programs that have contributed the most to our nearly $16 trillion debt: Medicare and Medicaid.
Who is in charge: the government or the patient? 9:22 PM, Sep 27, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During a major speech today at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Paul Ryan laid out his vision of health care reform, saying, “Choice and competition are critical to controlling costs…[and] improving quality….And yet, across the federal landscape, choice and competition are undermined by poorly designed programs and tax policies.” In other words, to fix our health care system, we need to undo the problems the government has created, rather than further empowering the government.
Medicare bureaucrats wreck the medical equipment market.Aug 15, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 45 • By ELI LEHRER
Sometime late this summer—the Friday before Labor Day if historical patterns hold—the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will announce the beginning of something called Medicare Round Two of “the Competitive Bidding Program for certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies.” Although it sounds obscure, this bidding process’s manifest flaws could have serious consequences for just about every American who needs medical care.
12:12 PM, Jul 29, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A new report from federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says that Obamacare will increase nationwide health care spending. Particularly interesting are the report’s findings for 2014, the year that’s slated for Obamacare’s grand opening (if the overhaul isn’t repealed first).