Front Page
NMJ Search
Editorials
Commentary
Archive
NMJ Radio
Constitutional Literacy
Islamofascism
Progressivism
Books
NMJ Shop
Links, Etc...
Facebook
Twitter
Site Information
About Us
Contact Us
  US Senate
  US House
  Anti-Google






The Obama Administration is warning that the exchanges, which are supposed to open in every state on Oct. 1, may not be easy for low-income people to navigate.
Social Bookmarking
Print this page.
Obama Doubles Estimated Cost
for Obamacare Health Exchanges

Bloomberg.com
The $1.3 trillion US healthcare system overhaul is getting more expensive and will initially accomplish less than intended.

Costs for a network of health-insurance exchanges, a core part of the Affordable Care Act, have swelled to $4.4 billion for fiscal 2012 and 2013 combined, and will reach $5.7 billion in 2014, according to the budget President Barack Obama sent to Congress. That spending would be more than double initial projections, even though less than half the 50 US states are participating.

The unanticipated spending is a consequence of an ambitious timetable dictated by Congress and a complex new way of offering people medical coverage, say analysts, lobbyists and administration officials. Combine that with a majority of Republican governors declining to cooperate with a Democrat president and US regulators are left grasping to get the 2010 health law up and running by a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline.

"Once you're behind schedule, the way you solve problems is you write checks," said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director who is now president of the American Action Forum, which has opposed the health law.

For the areas that money can't solve, the Obama administration is opting for delay. It temporarily backed off some provisions of the law, including restrictions on coverage for executives and a promise to offer small businesses greater choices of health plans.

Obama administration officials say the bulk of the health law will be up and running on time.

"There's an awful lot to implement and we want to do it efficiently," Ellen Murray, the assistant secretary for financial resources at the Health & Human Services Department, said in an interview. "It's a big job, and we want to do it right."

The government has warned that the exchanges, which are supposed to open in every state on Oct. 1, may not be easy for low-income people to navigate. In many states, people found to be eligible for Medicaid, the state-run program for the poor, will have to sign up through their state government instead of through the exchange.

"It's a lot more complicated than anybody imagined," Joseph Antos, a health economist at the nonprofit American Enterprise Institute who advises the CBO, said by phone.

That's because the federal government has been forced to build part or all of the exchanges in 34 states where governors or legislatures declined to do it themselves. The government expects to spend $1.5 billion this year on the federal exchange, Murray said.

In those states, connections between computer systems that run the federal exchange and state Medicaid programs are incomplete, said Caroline Pearson, a vice president at Avalere Health, a consulting firm based in Washington that is tracking exchange development.

The extra step required to sign up might discourage enrollment by low-income people, she said in an interview.

"You sort of always want to minimize the number of interactions you have to have in order to get people into the system," Pearson said. These are "additional hurdles that could present a problem," she said.

The result is that the number of Americans projected to gain insurance from the law has already eroded, by at least 5 million people, to 27 million by 2017, the CBO said in February. In addition, as many as 8 million people will lose healthcare plans now offered through their employers, almost three times more than the CBO initially projected.

The bulk of the Affordable Care Act relies on governors to build exchanges and expand Medicaid (USBOMDCA), the joint federal-state program for the poor. The law also required a myriad of regulations to be crafted and vetted by hospitals, insurers and other industry groups, all to be done within four years...

"Congress did the administration absolutely no favors in setting the timetable," said Neil Trautwein, vice president and employee benefits policy counsel at the National Retail Federation, a Washington-based lobbying group for retailers. "Because of a host of complications, the administration is behind in trying to catch up."

For Obama that means delays. He's pushing back a prohibition against companies giving their top executives better health plans than lower-ranking employees, and a requirement that they automatically enroll workers into the plans. Small businesses that had hoped to give their workers a choice of health plans in government-run marketplaces will instead have to choose one plan for their entire workforce.

A new program for states, called the Basic Health Program, won't start until 2015, angering Obama's allies. The Basic Health Plan was intended to be an option for states that want to cover more low-income people with a government health program, instead of private coverage sold through the exchanges. The provision was added to the law by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), whose state operates a similar program and sought federal money to expand it.

After the delay was announced in February, Cantwell threatened to oppose confirmation of an administrator for the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is setting up exchanges. The senator questioned administration officials about the delay at three hearings, and won a letter on March 28 from Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, promising to begin the program by 2015 and laying out a detailed timeline to set it up.

"It looks like what they're doing is triage," Holtz-Eakin said of the government. "If this isn't going to work, forget it. If that's not on time, forget it. Let's get to the things that we can make work, and declare victory."

READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 04/11/2013

Editor's Note: Just one more in an ever-expanding list of reasons to take advantage of the services provided by this non-profit organization. Click here to find out more.








The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...

The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a sustaining donation today.







Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of NewMediaJournal.us, its editorial staff, board or organization.  Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact the editor for a link request to NewMediaJournal.us.  NewMediaJournal.us is not affiliated with any mainstream media organizations.  NewMediaJournal.us is not supported by any political organization.  Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. All original content offered by NewMediaJournal.us is copyrighted. NewMediaJournal.us supports BasicsProject.org and its goal: the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The Media Journal.us © 1998-2014    Content Copyright © Individual authors
Powered by ExpressionEngine 1.70 and M3Server