Bloomberg: Why Obamacare Won't Define 2014 Race
Today brings news of another delay in the implementation of Obamacare -- the second significant glitch this summer. … If this sounds like a winner for Republicans in 2014 it probably isn't. And the shrewder Republican candidates running in battleground states and the increasingly rare swing districts will almost certainly soft-peddle their opposition (Francis Wilkinson, 8/13).
Bloomberg: Not Obamacare's Fatal Flaw -- Yet
What President Obama calls "glitches" and "bumps in the road" to the full implementation of the health-care law he signed in 2010, opponents see as evidence of the law's deep flaws and unworkability. Yet even opponents -- I'm one -- have to concede that sometimes a glitch is just a glitch. In the case of the latest Obamacare delay, that appears to be what we're looking at (Ramesh Ponnuru, 8/13).
Forbes: Yet Another White House Obamacare Delay: Out-Of-Pocket Caps Waived Until 2015
First, there was the delay of Obamacare's Medicare cuts until after the election. Then there was the delay of the law's employer mandate. Then there was the announcement, buried in the Federal Register, that the administration would delay enforcement of a number of key eligibility requirements for the law's health insurance subsidies, relying on the "honor system" instead. Now comes word that another costly provision of the health law -- its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs -- will be delayed for one more year. According to the Congressional Research Service, as of November 2011, the Obama administration had missed as many as one-third of the deadlines, specified by law, under the Affordable Care Act. Here are the details on the latest one (Avik Roy, 8/13).
The New Republic: The Latest Right-Wing Freakout Over Obamacare
The headline was splashed across the top of the Drudge Report this morning: "Obamacare Cost Caps Delayed Until 2015." The link went to a New York Times story about another Obamacare regulatory decision -- in this case, a ruling that some employers have one more year before they must comply with one of the law’s key consumer protections. ... if you're on a plan like that now, you face these expenses already. This decision means only that you'll wait another year for relief -- during which time, by the way, you'll benefit from the law's other protections. For one thing, you’ll be better off because the spending cap still applies to major medical expenses, a category that includes office visits and mental health care (Jonathan Cohn, 8/13).
The Oregonian: Hoping For Medicaid Flexibility
Someday -- with any luck, before a present-day kindergartner sits in the Oval Office -- the Affordable Care Act will exhaust its supply of jarring surprises. Until then, Americans will continue to endure plenty of complications like one worrying hundreds of Oregonians who are both guardians and paid caregivers for developmentally disabled adults receiving Medicaid assistance (8/14).
The Wall Street Journal: The High Cost of ObamaCare
A woman in Cornelius, Ore., takes care of her disabled 22-year-old daughter. The daughter has cerebral palsy, spina bifida and a condition called automonic dysreflexia. She requires 24-hour care. The mother provides it, receiving for this $1,400 a month. The mother fears -- and is apparently right to fear -- a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will, as Zheng reports, "largely prohibit guardians from serving as the paid caregiver of an adult child with developmental disabilities." ... First, no mother or child should be put in this position by a government ostensibly trying to improve their lives. Second, everyone in America knows health care is a complicated and complex subject, that a national bill will have 10 million moving parts, and that when a government far away -- that would be Washington, D.C. -- decides to take greater control of the nation's health care it will likely get many, maybe a majority, of the moving parts wrong (Peggy Noonan, 8/13).
The Fiscal Times: Why Obamacare's Death Panel Debate Won't Die
The debate over the nefarious "death panel" is back. Controversy over Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB -- the cost-controlling group derided by critics as a veiled bureaucratic cudgel to ration care -- has heated up in recent weeks. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean has called for the panel to be abolished (John F. Wasik, 8/14).
The Oregonian: Tim Nesbitt: In Oregon, We're Innovating and Shaping Health Care
In the world of health care under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, states are sorting themselves into three categories. There are the eager implementers, like Oregon, and the reluctant cooperators, like Florida. And then there are the rabid resisters, including most of the red states, where governors are refusing to expand federally funded health care to low-income families and right-wing groups are waging campaigns to persuade the uninsured to pay a fine rather than accept any form of government-mandated health insurance. Those red state resisters have a lot to learn from Oregon. Here, we are not just implementing, we are innovating. We won't just adopt Obamacare; we will shape it (Tim Nesbitt, 8/13).
Boston Globe: The GOP's Obamacare Whale Hunt
Obamacare is no mere paper law. It has become a public policy white-whale for the ideological Captain Ahabs driving the GOP, a leviathan that must be harpooned at any cost. So it is that Tea Party types are now demanding that Republican officeholders resort to shut-down-the-government brinksmanship to slay the statute (Scot Lehigh, 8/14).
JAMA Internal Medicine: Using Science To Shape Medicare Physician Payment
In the 1980s, Congress decided that the long-standing method of setting payments for physician services, which was in use in Medicare, many Medicaid programs, and much of commercial insurance, was systematically undervaluing cognitive services in favor of procedures. Concerns were expressed about disincentives to enter or remain in primary care, especially at a time when the role of primary care should have been increasing. These concerns are eerily similar to those expressed today (Paul B. Ginsburg, 8/12).
The New York Times' Opinionator: The Cure For The $1000 Toothbrush
Here is a basic fact of health care in the United States: Doctors and hospitals know what they charge, but patients don't know what they pay. As in any market, when one side has no information, that side loses: price secrecy is a major reason medical bills are so high (Tina Rosenberg, 8/13).
Los Angeles Times: Raise The Cap On Malpractice Awards
For decades, advocates of tort reform have pushed to limit the amount that courts can award for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. ... This summer, however, nearly 40 years after California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act first limited noneconomic damages in malpractice cases to $250,000, trial lawyers and consumer groups have unveiled a ballot initiative that would relax the cap considerably. If the measure qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters next year, the allowable amount for noneconomic damage payouts for victims of medical malpractice would be quadrupled. Relaxing the $250,000 cap, which has never been adjusted for inflation, is a wise move. As a reform idea, noneconomic damage caps have never made much sense (Nora Freeman Engstrom and Robert L. Rabin, 8/13).
Los Angeles Times: Assisted Reproduction: When Does A Father Become One?
When does a man become a father -- the legally recognized parent of a child, responsible for support and eligible for custody? Historically, parenthood has involved something more than simply a biological connection. In some eras that meant the law recognized only fathers who married the mothers. Today, recognition extends to unmarried parents who raise a child together. The new question on the table is whether it extends to a man who donates sperm to a woman and establishes a relationship with the child. Does he become a father if the child calls him "Daddy," or does it require something more? (Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, 8/12).