An alarming article in Politico.com looks at what could happen if the Supreme Court determines that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate provision is unconstitutional—something that the current conservative leaning of the Court seems to indicate is somewhat more likely than not. Assuming that such a possible decision by the Court follows that of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional but ...

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How to slow Medicare’s escalating costs has been the big health care policy issue recently, with Republicans and Democrats offering competing proposals, each part of broader plans for reducing the federal deficit—projected to be $1.5 trillion this year, with the government borrowing 40 cents for every dollar it spends. Unfortunately, neither the Medicare proposal of Representative Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee, nor that offered in response by President Obama, can ...

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The 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) authorized incentive payments, potentially totaling some $27 billion over ten years, to clinicians and hospitals when they implement electronic health records in such a way as to achieve “meaningful use,” in terms of advances in health care processes and outcomes. But, are EHRs really "meaningfully useful" or are ...

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It’s amazing how much trouble a couple of hundred inexpensive health insurance policies can cause. Up until recently, few people were aware of the existence of so-called mini-med policies. Marketed primarily by for-profit insurers Aetna and Cigna, they are designed to provide bare-bones coverage to employees of low-wage low-margin service companies. Unlike other approaches to affordable insurance that emphasize catastrophic coverage, mini-meds typically keep premiums affordable (some as low as $15 ...

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Massachusetts’ Connector, operational since 2006, is the prototype for PPACA’s insurance exchanges. Connector boosters have claimed it is a vital and successful part of Massachusetts’ health care reform; its critics have noted its failure to influence either benefit or administrative costs or to attract significant enrollment. However, whether success or failure, the Connector offers lessons for other states. Low enrollment means failure As Massachusetts discovered, it’s impossible for the exchange to influence ...

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The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll, conducted in August, shows public support for health care reform falling. After two monthly polls in which reform was viewed increasingly favorably, the new poll shows a sharp decline in public backing for the new law. Kaiser polls in the first couple of months after enactment of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) showed more confusion than clear support or opposition, but by June favorable ...

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The individual mandate is the single most controversial feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Everyone who can afford coverage—unless an undocumented immigrant or exempted on religious grounds—is required to have it or pay a penalty of $695 or 2.5 percent of income. The rationale is straightforward: without a mandate, many people would wait until they needed care before buying insurance, driving up premiums for those with ongoing coverage, ...

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As might be expected of reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) places a lot of emphasis on innovation. Reasonably enough, most of the potential changes—at least in Medicare—are to be preceded by pilot or demonstration projects designed to test their feasibility. In fact, according to one health care blogger with time on his hands, PPACA includes no less than 312 mentions of demonstrations and 80 mentions of ...

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The individual mandate is the single most controversial feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Everyone who can afford coverage—unless an undocumented immigrant or exempted on religious grounds—is required to have it or pay a penalty of $695 or 2.5 percent of income. The rationale is straightforward: without a mandate, many people would wait until they needed care before buying insurance, driving up premiums for those with ongoing ...

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