Dear Santa: Can you help me pick my favorite entry in a stellar HWR?

Julie Ferguson hosted one of the best ever Health Wonk Reviews yesterday at Workers’ Comp Insider.  Definitely something for everyone – and lots of holiday cheer – in this “Dear Santa” edition.  I had so many favorites that I couldn’t narrow it down to just one or two, so here are my votes for the four best entries in this HWR (I told you it was a good one!):

Joe Paduda explains the “strategies” that Republicans are proposing in their tired “repeal and replace” refrain… and why they don’t make much sense at all.  It’s the same sad list that anti-reform folks have been touting for the last four years, and while some of it sounds simple and obvious (and thus tends to have broad appeal), none of it really holds up to much scrutiny.  Tort reform sounds like a good idea, but would only make a tiny dent in the cost of health care.  Selling insurance across state lines wouldn’t do much of anything except confuse things for insurance regulators, since health insurance is a factor of health care costs, which are regional.  And funding more high risk pools?  Even in a state like Colorado that has had a high quality high risk pool in place for twenty years, I can say with certainty that this is not a good idea.  For starters, it limits people with pre-existing conditions to just one option for their insurance.  And it’s not logical when you consider the purpose of insurance, which is to spread risk across as large a population as possible.  Limiting the pool to only people with pre-existing conditions seems like a sure-fire way to end up with spiraling premiums and higher costs for the states.  The ACA’s guaranteed-issue-with-a-mandate idea makes so much more sense.  Joe’s done a thorough job of debunking all of the “repeal and replace” ideas, and he did it in a short, easy to read post.  Don’t miss it.

Tim Jost did an excellent job breaking down the November update on exchange enrollment.  He explains the trends, what we can expect over the next few weeks and the next few months, and how total enrollment will likely increase sharply by the end of March.

I like everything about this post by David Williams.  He takes on a recent AP article spouting ACA doom and gloom, and explains the obviously biased reporting that went into it.  A psychology 101 student can explain how biased survey questions lead to skewed results, and it appears that nearly all of the questions in the AP poll were designed to make people focus on detrimental changes in their health insurance situation.  And yet despite the angle of the questions, more people trust Democrats than Republicans when it comes to health care.

In a similar vein, Wendell Potter has an excellent article about the questions reporters should be asking if they want to get a clear picture of what’s going on with people’s health insurance coverage under the ACA.  Rather than just reporting every woe-is-me story without digging to see if any details are missing, reporters should be looking to see whether or not there are missing pieces that the story protagonists are either unaware of or purposely omitting.  Asking these questions does not result in biased stories – it results in factual stories that portray the actuality of the ACA.  Not everyone has positive answers to all of those questions.  But if you don’t ask them, the story loses all meaning anyway.

These are just some of the great articles in this edition of the HWR.  Many thanks to Julie for an awesome job hosting, and Happy Holidays to all of you!

About Louise Norris

Louise Norris has been writing about health insurance and healthcare reform since 2006. In addition to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, she also writes for,, Verywell, Spark by ADP, and Boost by ADP, and Gusto. Follow on twitter and facebook.

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