health care reform

Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional in Virginia

A Federal Judge in Virginia just ruled Obamacare unconstitutional.

A federal district judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, becoming the first court in the country to invalidate any part of the sprawling act and insuring that appellate courts will receive contradictory opinions from below.

Health Care Bill Spurring "Mergers & Acquisitions" in Sector

You're going to love this one. The New York Times is reporting that instead of reducing health care costs by the reform bill, Doctors, Hospitals and Insurance companies are merging and also using their new clout for lobbying against any regulations. That's right, a monopoly and we all know monopolies do not bring down costs. Even worse, we have predictions that the big winners will be offshore outsourcers on the health care technology front, also consolidating.

Currently, there are bonuses in the new health care law for those bringing down costs. So, instead of really bringing down costs, Hospitals, Doctors are consolidating. The New York Times:

Now, eight months into the new law there is a growing frenzy of mergers involving hospitals, clinics and doctor groups eager to share costs and savings, and cash in on the incentives. They, in turn, have deployed a small army of lawyers and lobbyists trying to persuade the Obama administration to relax or waive a body of older laws intended to thwart health care monopolies, and to protect against shoddy care and fraudulent billing of patients or Medicare.

Consumer advocates fear that the health care law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve — by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses.

The 13th Worker

Remember all of that fuss to pass a tax credit to hire workers?

A new report shows the health insurance tax credit sliding scale causes small businesses to not hire.

The Hill:

Using insurance premium cost projections supplied by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the study states that the credit reaches its optimal point at 13 workers, with relief peaking at $36,400 for qualifying business.

After the 13th worker the economics surrounding the credit change, the study says.

For employers with 15 workers, taking on an additional hire will reduce the credit by $1,400. For a company looking to expand from 20 to 21 workers, the credit will shrink by $3,733. And businesses will take a $5,600 reduction on the credit when hiring the 25th worker.

The credit phases out for companies with at least 26 employees.

Ah, the irony. Lucky 13 again. Here is the original hire tax credit:

For Profit Health Sector Mostly Rejoices on Health Care Vote

The New York Times has a fairly good overview piece on which for profit health care businesses will make out like bandits.

With a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, Congress would be giving the health care industry as many as 32 million additional paying customers in the next few years.

That would mean millions more Americans buying private health insurance and better able to pay for their hospital stays, doctors’ visits, prescription drugs and medical devices.

Over all, the legislation would be a positive for much of the industry, said Les Funtleyder, who oversees health care strategy for Miller Tabak & Company, a New York investment firm.

Here is the great change:

New Obamacare plan online - might hit insurance premium gougers

The Obama administration has unveiled a new plan and put it online at

Ya know the White House needs to reduce their wordiness, especially when it doesn't say much.

One good thing is a rate review of insurance premiums.

One essential policy is “rate review” meaning that health insurers must submit their proposed premium increases to the State authority or Secretary for review. The President’s Proposal strengthens this policy by ensuring that, if a rate increase is unreasonable and unjustified, health insurers must lower premiums, provide rebates, or take other actions to make premiums affordable. A new Health Insurance Rate Authority will be created to provide needed oversight at the Federal level and help States determine how rate review will be enforced and monitor insurance market behavior.

Think a Public Option in Health Care Won't Reduce Costs?

Think a health care public option is just some communist plot to send all old people to death camps? Well, I have a barometer for you on just how important this option is to reduce costs on health care....The Stock Market.

While the broad market was slammed, shares of large health insurers rallied as the Obama administration apparently backed off its plan to give Americans the option of signing up for a government-run health-insurance option. See full story on prospects for a public option.

"Health care can outperform in a declining stock market, but what's going on today is that investors have a growing belief that a public plan will not be part of the final solution," said John Sullivan, director of research at Leerink Swann, a health-care investment bank.

Taunter shreds health insurers' claims that recission is rare

A big tip'o the hat to okanogen at CorrenteWire for picking up this one:

Death by Math (that should get Oaks' attention!). Taunter analyzes the statement by Assurant CEO Don Hamm’s that "Rescission is rare." Rescission is when a health insurer cancels a policy, usually because the insured "lied" on the original application, usually by failing to disclose a previous condition. If you haven't heard the horror stories of people who required costly medical care only to be dropped by their health insurer, you haven't been paying attention to the world around you. Here is what Hamm told Congress in his prepared remarks:


Are you Watching What They are Doing to Health Care?

Can't keep track on the latest with health care? ( except to know when it comes to getting rid of those for profit bottom feeders driving up costs you're guaranteed to save their profits first and actual sick people will come last or maybe you are aware of all of the lobbyists pouring money on Congress as well as ads on your TV trying convince you to guarantee their profits)

You're in luck. The New York Times is running an online spreadsheet with the latest proposals. It's a matrix.