Kaiser Health News
My latest article for Kaiser Health News: On Monday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, the justices will also contemplate a policy issue: Is it possible to reform the private insurance market, making affordable coverage available to all, without an individual mandate? The Obama administration has told the court that if it invalidates the mandate it should also invalidate two key insurance reforms that would prevent discrimination because of preexisting conditions.
[This analysis is a collaboration between Kaiser Health News and The New Republic.] Why does the debt ceiling deal give liberals so much heartburn? Many reasons, obviously.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act had another day in court on Wednesday, this time before federal judges in Georgia, representing the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. These opponents want the judges to uphold a ruling, made by a lower federal judge in Florida, that the law is unconstitutional.
My latest Kaiser Health News column follows, although I'll probably have more to say on this subject after the long weekend: Even before Tuesday's special election in New York, in which Medicare figured so prominently, congressional Republicans and their supporters had altered their rhetoric about the cherished government health insurance program.
Who's got a more serious plan to reduce the deficit, the Republicans or President Obama? My latest Kaiser Health News column addresses that question: For the better part of two years, the debate over how to control health care costs had a certain one-sided quality to it, because the Democrats had a plan and their critics did not. Democrats were forced to put their ideas on paper, with specifics, and subject them to nonpartisan accounting. All the critics had to do was attack. And attack they did.
On Wednesday, after the House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I wrote that "the more serious Republicans have some ideas, yes, but nothing that would come remotely close to insuring 30 million people or bolstering coverage for the people who have it." Here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News, which helps explain why I think that: The Republicans insist they want not just to repeal the Affordable Care Act but also to replace it. But replace it with what, exactly?
My latest column for Kaiser Health News: Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is not just a Republican. He's also a doctor. And that means he has not one but two reasons to dislike Medicaid. Not only does it cost the government a lot of money. It also serves a lot of its beneficiaries poorly. Cassidy explained in a Dec. 16 column for Politico that Medicaid is the stingiest payer in our health care system. For most services, it reimburses less than both Medicare and private insurance.
My latest column for Kaiser Health News: It will force a lot of people to pay higher premiums. It will lavish subsidies on the private insurance industry. It will put life-and-death decisions in the hands of bureaucrats. And it will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal debt. No, I am not talking about the health care reform law. I'm talking about the Republican proposals to repeal it. Since even before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law, Republicans have been vowing to get rid of it and to pass their own reforms instead.
Note: Here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News. When Assurant Health, a Milwaukee-based health insurance company, announced this month it was laying off 130 employees in Milwaukee and Minneapolis, it blamed the health care overhaul for its struggles -- and at least one prominent critic of reform quickly chimed in. "There are more and more Obamacare job-killing stories piling up like this one," conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote in an item with the headline, "The White House War on Jobs." I know a lot of smart, thoughtful health reform critics. Malkin is not one of them.
Speaking of Massachusetts, and related issues, here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News: The weekend’s newspapers included a pair of headlines about health care reform. And they were probably not the kind that reform advocates like to see. One was in the Boston Globe: “Firms Cancel Health Coverage.” According to the article, a number of small businesses had recently decided to stop offering insurance to employees.