[…] I’m confident that the Colorado Attorney General’s office will be able to provide competent legal advice to the exchange board. In addition, it appears that the board is getting an excellent value, since they’ll be paying less than $79/hour for a lawyer. But I assume that John Suthers is hoping to prevail in the lawsuit challenging the individual mandate, and I am a bit skeptical about whether the rest of the ACA (including the health insurance exchanges) could survive without the individual mandate.
mandatory health insurance
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[…] The study’s authors note that implementing mandatory health insurance rules is not likely to result in a significant decline in the number of medical bankruptcies nationwide unless we also focus on improving the level of coverage that people have (to reduce out of pocket exposure), and on expanding access to disability insurance that can help provide income to people who are unable to work because of a major illness or injury. […]
The Healthcare Opportunity and Patient Empowerment (HOPE) Act (HB 1273) was introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives this week, with primary House sponsorship from Reps Nikkel and Stephens (the House majority leader), and primary Senate sponsorship from Senator Kopp. The idea behind HB1273 is to allow Colorado to legally opt out of the PPACA – not just the individual mandate portion, but the entire law. […]
[…] As I’ve mentioned before, health care costs are what drive health insurance premiums. And until we figure out how to reduce the amount we spend on health care, health insurance premiums will continue to rise. But they will rise even faster if we require health insurance carriers to accept all applicants without imposing some sort of system that eliminates the possibility for people to wait until they are sick to purchase coverage.
[…] There is no simple solution to the issue of balancing guaranteed issue health insurance, an individual mandate, and personal liberties. It will be interesting to see what 2011 brings in terms of court battles over the constitutionality of the individual mandate, and whether any other options become viable alternatives.
For anyone curious about the logistics that will go into setting up the new health insurance exchanges that will become active in 2014, this Denver Post article is an excellent overview. The article notes that the 2011 legislature will have to pass a bill to set up basic guidelines for the exchange, and a governing structure to oversee the process. There will be monthly committee meetings to hash out the details, and once you start to ponder all of the questions that still remain unanswered, it’s clear why it might take a few years to get the exchange up and running. […]
For months now, one of the main arguments against the PPACA is that it doesn’t address health care costs or provide a means to pay for the reforms that it includes. Opponents of the reform law have used the money argument to drum up support for their cause, and – along with opposition to the individual mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014 – it remains one of the first things that people will mention when asked why they oppose the PPACA. […]
[…] Even with guaranteed issue open enrollment periods for child only policies, insurers would definitely be taking on an increased risk compared with what they had when all individual policies were medically underwritten. If insurers could be allowed to continue to accept healthy kids (who present less of a financial risk to the carriers) throughout the year, this would help to offset the losses that they would incur by insuring the unhealthy kids who enroll during the open enrollment period. Regardless of whether that’s in line with the “language and intent” of the PPACA, it makes sense in the real world.
[…] Are we comfortable with allowing emergency services providers to turn away patients who are uninsured and cannot pay upfront for their care? If we are not, then the rest of us are paying for their care (indirectly, through higher health insurance premiums). And if we are, we find ourselves right back in the debate about whether it’s ok for firefighters to watch a house burn to the ground because the homeowner didn’t pay his fire protection fee. It seems that we all like having choices until we make the wrong choice one day.
Voters in Colorado will decide the fate of Amendment 63 next month, and the issue is definitely one of the more divisive ones on our ballot this year. The Denver Post ran a couple of editorials over the weekend that address both sides of the debate, and they’re both worth reading. Bob Semro, a policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center, explains why Amendment 63 is a bad idea, while Jon Caldera and Linda Gorman, both with the Independence Institute, detail the virtues of Amendment 63. […]
Throughout this year, the Independence Institute has been working to get a measure on the ballot in Colorado to block the health care reform legislation that would require everyone to have health insurance starting in 2014. Yesterday, the Colorado Secretary of State confirmed that the amendment supporters have gathered enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, so it will be up for a vote in November. […]
[…] The Obama Administration had been clear in saying that health insurance companies would have to accept all children under age 19, without regard for pre-existing conditions. But last week that position was clarified with a bit of added leeway for insurers, allowing them to set open enrollment periods during which children can have access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions. […]
[…] But the reason I have health insurance is to protect our family in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury. If that were to happen, I want to know that I have a real health insurance company paying my bills, and legal recourse in the event of a dispute. I like knowing that my health insurance policy is regulated by Colorado’s Division of Insurance, and I like the fact that it doesn’t say “this is not health insurance” anywhere on my policy information. […]
Colorado is an interesting place to be this summer, as the health care reform debate continues to play out – in the courts now, rather than in town halls and legislative sessions. Our Attorney General, Republican John Suthers, is part of the group of AGs from 20 states who are challenging the legality of a federal mandate requiring people to have health insurance. And our Governor, Bill Ritter Jr., is one of four Democratic governors of those states who disagree with the position taken by the Attorneys General. […]
[…] The PCP shortage is likely to become even more of a problem once the health care reform provisions kick in and millions of currently uninsured Americans become insured and presumably start to seek out more health care. Unless we can make primary care more attractive to people in medical school, all of those newly insured people are going to end up seeing expensive specialists instead of PCPs, and the burden of paying for health care will only become harder to bear.
[…] We definitely needed a solution to make health insurance available for everyone, and there’s no way to do that without taking away some of the freedoms from both sides (including the ability for insurance companies to decline applicants, and the ability for people to choose to not have health insurance). The legislation isn’t perfect, and it won’t please everyone, but hopefully a decade from now, the problem of millions of Americans living without health insurance will be a memory.
[…] Carol indicated that it was the consensus of everyone she has talked with that $5 billion won’t come close to covering the cost of these high-risk pools in 50 states for four years. She and a number of other Medicaid commissioners are leaning away from expansion or development of new high-risk pools in their states, not for political or philosophical reasons, but because the pools don’t make economic sense. As the federal bill is written, if states don’t act, a federal high risk pool is to be created to fill essentially the same function.
One of the aims of the health care reform legislation is to encourage employers to provide health insurance for their employees. In order to close the loophole that would allow employers to hire many part-time workers (and avoid paying benefits for them), the new law looks at the total number of hours worked to determine “full time equivalent employees”. On page 309-310 of the Senate Bill, the math is explained: […]
[…] The premium costs that are often tossed around represent group premiums, which are partially (sometime completely) paid by employers. Once individual health insurance becomes guaranteed issue in 2014, the premiums will likely rise to cover the cost of paying for pre-existing conditions. The only way to offset this rate hike is for more healthy people to join the insurance pool. That’s where the mandate comes in, and hopefully it will work.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is joining with several other attorneys general who are challenging the legality of the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance, which is part of the bill that President Obama signed into law this morning. Basically, they’re saying that the federal government doesn’t have a constitutional right to compel citizens to take part in any specific market – including health insurance. […]
[…] I feel fortunate to live in a state where we have a solid high risk pool (Cover Colorado) and lots of options for policies in both the individual and group market. But I can’t help but think of people who live in states where there aren’t any health insurance policies available to people who are sick and not covered by an employer’s plan. For them, health care reform on a state level has a long way to go, and might not happen at all.
Last week’s seven hour health care summit was basically a rehash of the ideas that were tossed around throughout the last year of health care reform debate. Neither party seems willing to negotiate much more in terms of the nitty gritty of the reform, and it’s looking like the Dems might try to use reconciliation to push through their reform bill. […]
[…] If people know that they won’t be penalized for pre-existing conditions and that health insurance companies will have to accept everyone, a penalty that is just a tiny fraction of the cost of coverage might be the preferred option for a lot of people. And without a large pool of healthy insureds, I just don’t see a way that premiums won’t increase significantly. I’m keeping an open mind, but I’m skeptical that we’ll be able to provide all of the proposed consumer benefits with such a lax enforcement of mandatory health insurance.
[…] People who buy their own health insurance must pay the whole bill, every month. When it’s time for their rate increase, there’s no employer shouldering part of the burden. The option to continue or drop coverage is there every month when it’s time to pay the premium… and if it comes to a decision between the rent or the health insurance, it’s easy to understand how a healthy person might opt to go uninsured.