The New Republic: Obama Is Still A Terrible Salesman For Obamacare
We need a serious and sustained presidential conversation with the country about the new health care reform laws—or progressives risk losing ownership of this once-in-generation liberal reform. If you listen to people in focus group discussions right now, they are clueless about the most basic policies in the reforms, even though parts of the law are already in place, the exchanges are to be launched in October, and the law’s requirements and benefits will become fully operative in January. ... And in the most recent national surveys, more people think their health insurance situation will be made worse by the impending changes (Stanley B. Greenberg, 7/30).
USA Today: Lift Health Care Reform's Deductible Cap
The Obama administration recently announced that it would delay until 2015 the Affordable Care Act's "employer mandate," which will require all companies with at least 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance or pay a fine. The delay represents a big help to large firms. Now it's time for the administration to throw a similar lifeline to small businesses -- by lifting the law's cap on annual deductibles (Janet Trautwein, 8/1).
Fox News: Mr. President, ObamaCare Is Creating A Part Time Economy
The June unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous month at 7.6 percent, but the June underemployment rate, which includes those who have stopped looking or settled for part-time work, rose sharply from 13.8 percent to 14.3 percent. This is partly due to the transition of employment from full-time to part-time, as the private and public sectors are forced into the perilous compliance standards of the president’s health care law (Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., 8/1).
Chicago Tribune: The Part-Timing Of America
The Affordable Care Act will give companies -- and, surprisingly, their workers -- a big incentive to embrace more part-time employment. That isn't necessarily a problem, except when it comes to paying the health-insurance bills for all those part-timers. Looks like that job will fall to you, taxpayers. Some of the motives at play here will strike you as familiar; others are fresh insights on the part-timing of America (7/31).
New England Journal Of Medicine: The Unanticipated Consequences Of Postponing The Employer Mandate
The Obama administration's decision to postpone implementation of the employer mandate is the latest in a series of delays and alterations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But postponing the mandate — which requires larger employers to offer lower-income workers health insurance coverage similar to that available in the new insurance exchanges, on equal and affordable financial terms — may create large ripple effects. The good news is that as compared with instituting the mandate as planned, postponing it should barely increase the number of uninsured Americans after ACA implementation. But it affects other provisions, particularly the individual subsidies for purchasing insurance, and creates distorted incentives that may leave the government paying significantly more than planned (Mark Pauly and Adam Leive, 7/31).
Los Angeles Times: The Latest Misguided GOP Effort To Stop Obamacare
The House is expected to hold yet another symbolic vote this week on a bill to neuter the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, once again taking aim at the much-unloved "individual mandate" -- the requirement that virtually all adult Americans obtain coverage, starting in 2014. ... The problem with this approach -- beyond the fact that the bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate -- is that it would leave intact the requirement that insurers offer coverage to all applicants without regard to their medical histories. Insurers would also be barred from charging sicker or riskier customers higher premiums than healthy ones, and would be limited in the surcharges they could impose on older applicants and smokers (Jon Healey, 7/31).
WBUR: Cognoscenti: When Your Doctor Says 'Cancer': The Risks Of Fear Itself
Imagine your doctor saying, "You have cancer." How would you feel? The diagnosis would be more specific: "You have Ductal Carcinoma in Situ" (DCIS) rather than breast cancer, or "You have a Gleason score 4 prostate cancer" rather than prostate cancer. But you would no doubt hear only cancer. How would you react, even if the doctor went on to tell you that what you have is unlikely to ever grow into anything that could kill you, or even harm you, and that in the case of DCIS, it might even go away by itself? (David Ropeik, 8/1).
Sacramento Bee: A Cost Of Dismantling Mental Health Care
Kathy Gaither, the person in charge of daily operations at the California Department of State Hospitals, went on an unexplained administrative leave earlier this month, a week after the state Senate confirmed her appointment. ... Whatever the reason for Gaither's departure, the lack of permanent leadership raises questions of priorities. The California Department of State Hospitals has a $1.6 billion budget and more than 10,000 employees, and is responsible for the care of 6,560 severely mentally ill people in seven state hospitals. The department has been without stable leadership since the previous director retired in December 2010 (Dan Morain, 7/31).