States Have Limited Time For Decision On Setting Up Marketplaces

Meanwhile, other outlets look at the deadline enrollment surge and its possible effect on health care costs.

The Associated Press: Clock Ticking For States To Adopt Health Exchanges
For the more than 30 states that defaulted to the federal government under President Barack Obama's health care law, time may be running out to decide whether to create their own state-run insurance exchanges. With the chance to apply for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal help set to expire in a few months, even Obama's home state of Illinois is expressing little interest in taking the next step. The law's disastrous rollout and lingering unpopularity have made it risky to raise the issue in a tense election year (Johnson, 4/18).

The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Signups Don’t Tell The Whole Story
Yet while the figures might be a political victory for President Obama and Democrats, health economists and experts caution that it’s too soon to celebrate. They argue that overall enrollment figures are not sufficient to properly assess the success of the law. ... Austin Frakt, the Incidental Economist’s editor- in-chief, argues that "overall enrollment is a lousy benchmark because it doesn't tell you anything about the stability of the program at the level at which it matters: state-level markets" (Ehley, 4/18).

Politico: Beyond 8 Million: Obamacare Math
The surge of people who signed up in the new health insurance exchanges surpassed both White House targets and expectations. It seemed unimaginable six months ago. But the exchanges aren’t the only way people can get covered under the Affordable Care Act. And it’s by no means the only number people will keep fighting about. ... Now that the 2014 sign-up season has ended, here’s a look at several aspects of health law coverage and the brewing disputes about how to measure them (Norman, Haberkorn and Cheney, 4/19).

The Associated Press: Late Sign-ups Improve Outlook For Obama Health Law
A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults. Nonetheless, Obama's announcement Thursday that 8 million have signed up for subsidized private insurance, and that 35 percent of them are younger than 35, is just a peek at what might be going on with the nation's newest social program (Alonso-Zaldivar and Lederman, 4/19).

The Hill:  O-Care Enrollment Still Growing In Several States
Enrollment in ObamaCare's new health insurance exchanges is likely to grow past eight million, as some states are still letting people sign up for insurance beyond this year's official enrollment deadline. At least eight states and the District of Columbia are still allowing people to register for health plans, according to news reports and an April 14 analysis by consulting firm Avalere Health (Viebeck, 4/19).

The New York Times: Health Care Spending’s Recent Surge Stirs Unease
For years, because of structural changes in the health care delivery system and the deep economic downturn, the health care "cost curve" — as economists and policy makers call it — had bent. Health spending was growing no faster than spending on other goods or services, an anomaly in 50 years of government accounts. But perhaps no longer. A surge of insurance enrollment related to rising employment and President Obama’s health care law has likely meant a surge of spending on health care, leaving policy experts wondering whether the government and private businesses can control spending (Lowrey, 4/18).

And with the successes of the enrollment push, another health law program is ending.

The Washington Post: Obamacare's High-Risk Pools Are Closing For Real This Time
After three previous extensions, it looks like Obamacare’s temporary high-risk pools for the some of the country’s sickest patients are finally closing as planned. The high-risk pools were set up in each state four years ago as a bridge to Obamacare’s coverage expansion this year, when insurers can no longer deny people coverage or charge them more because of a pre-existing condition. ... Many of the PCIP patients had been undergoing treatment for cancer, diabetes and heart disease (Millman, 4/18). 

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