Posted on December 14, 2011 by scjustice
President Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in Virginia earlier this week. He highlighted provisions, including requirements to let young adults stay on their parents’ insurance plans. (By Dennis Brack, Getty Images)
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
December 14, 2011
That drop is 2½ times as large as the drop indicated by previous government and private estimates from earlier this year, which showed about 1 million Americans ages 19-25 had gained coverage.
Administration officials said they now have more data. They say they’re also slicing the numbers more precisely than the government usually does, trying to pinpoint the impact of a popular provision in an otherwise politically divisive law.
Under the health overhaul, children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, and families have flocked to sign up young adults making the transition to work in a challenging economic environment. But the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains uncertain, with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear a constitutional challenge next year, and Republican presidential candidates vowing to repeal it.
“The increase in coverage among 19- to 25-year-olds can be directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s new dependent coverage provision,” said a draft report from the Health and Human Services Department. “Initial gains from this policy have continued to grow as … students graduate from high school and college.” (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act | Tagged: ACA, Health Care Reform, health insurance, Obama, Obamacare, young adults | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 14, 2011 by scjustice
Haley dictated panel finding
Outcome ordered before health committee met
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Gov. Nikki Haley dictated the conclusions of a committee charged with deciding how the state should implement federal health care reform before the group ever held its first meeting, public documents show.
Now, some of those involved in the dozens of meetings are calling the entire planning process a sham that wasted their time and part of a $1 million federal grant.
In a March 31 email thread that included Haley, her top advisers and the committee member who eventually wrote the report, Haley wrote, “The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange,” which is eventually what happened.
A central part of the federal health care overhaul, an exchange is a marketplace where various insurance plans eventually will be sold.
The emails were released to the newspaper Friday afternoon in response to a Nov. 16 public records request to the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The newspaper had made a nearly identical request of the governor’s office in May, but the office did not include the emails in its response.
The documents show a first-term Republican administration focused on public perception of its handling of the Democratic health care reform law. They also reveal the tight control Haley and her top aides exercise over other state agencies, requiring media inquiries to various state departments to pass through the governor’s office for inspection.
“Oh my God, we just threw $1 million away here,” said Frank Knapp, who participated in the meetings as president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “This confirms this whole thing was an effort to justify the million-dollar grant, but the reality is they had no intention of even exploring whether the state should establish an exchange — which is exactly what the grant called for.” (more…)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Affordable Care Act, Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Common Cause, DHHS, exchange, FOIA, Frank Knapp, Gov. Nikki Haley, Health Care Reform, health insurance, Health Planning Committee, John Crangle, Lynn Bailey, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Rep. Harold Mitchell Jr., Rob Godfrey, S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina, Sue Berkowitz, Tim Pearson, Tony Keck, Trey Walker | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 16, 2011 by scjustice
S.C.’s top health official, Anthony Keck, and Gov. Nikki Haley, not fans of the 2010 health law, are likely to decide to let the federal government run the state’s exchange. (Haley photo by MaryAustinPhoto via Flickr)
Nov 15, 2011
South Carolina’s top health official will recommend this week that the state decline creating its own health insurance exchange, one of the central tenets of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Instead, the state should let the federal government build the insurance marketplace in the state for now, Anthony Keck, the director of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, said in an interview. That recommendation is expected to go to a committee appointed by the governor to study the issue on Friday.
South Carolina, a state dominated by health-law-averse Republicans who got a Tea Party boost in last year’s election, has been heading down this road for months. But the recommendation is the latest step in formalizing objections to the exchange — and it frames the move as pragmatism, even as the state hands over power to the federal government.
The No. 1 reason for the wait-and-see approach? The stakes are so low. If a state does nothing, Washington is required to step in and build an exchange by 2014. That thinking — as well as a list of technical and logistical problems — is swaying decision-makers in other states too, industry analysts say.
State officials say the 2014 deadline is too tight given that rules for the exchanges are not complete, which is one incentive to defer to Washington. Plus, if South Carolina officials don’t like the federally run exchange, they can always circle back and start their own later under rules issued by the federal health department in July.
“What is the first mover advantage for states to rush ahead and implement this, given all the uncertainty?” Keck asked. “States have the safety valve of being able to take it over when they want to.”
“Sometimes, the smartest thing when you’re doing something new like this is to wait,” he said. (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act, Medicaid | Tagged: 2014, Bennett Blodgett, exchange, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, health care, Health Care Reform, health insurance, Health Planning Committee, Leavitt Partners, Nikki Haley, Republicans, South Carolina, Tea Party, Tony Keck | Leave a Comment »