Posted on November 22, 2011 by scjustice
By Drew Altman and Larry Levitt
November 18, 2011
Policymakers in Washington are consumed with the federal budget deficit. The Congressional Budget Office serves as the official referee in budget debates, keeping score of how proposed legislation would make the deficit bigger or smaller. But Congress and the public could get a fuller picture of the implications of legislative changes if the CBO broadened its analysis. What if, in addition to assessing the effect of a proposed law on the budget deficit, the CBO also gauged the effect on people who are poor or on the precipice of poverty ?
In fact, a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau has introduced a tool that could help do just that. This different way of calculating who is poor takes into consideration a broader range of living expenses and the help that people get from government programs. It found that 2.5 million more people are living in poverty than were classified as poor under the previous (and still official) method, bringing the not-so-grand total to 49 million Americans. The single biggest factor driving the increase? Out-of-pocket health-care costs.
Indeed, if the burden of health-care expenses were not taken into account, then 10 million fewer people would have been classified as poor. (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act, Debt Deal, Medicaid, Medicare | Tagged: CBO, cost-sharing, deficit, healthcare costs, insurance, out-of-pocket, poverty, Small Business | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 24, 2011 by scjustice
Here’s hoping we in South Carolina get a shot at purchasing our health insurance through a competitive and transparent market!
Saturday, October 22, 2011
As co-owner of a small IT solutions company in Alpharetta, Julie Haley would rather be out networking and snapping up new business instead of spending hours looking for ways to curb her firm’s escalating health insurance costs.
“It really crippled us,” she said, adding that the exorbitant cost meant growing the business more slowly.
Like small businesses across Georgia and the nation, health care costs for Edge Solutions, which Haley started in 2008, have been jumping by double digits. Haley estimates in the first year alone, health care costs made up 25 percent of operating expenses – in part because without at least 10 employees insurers wouldn’t even bother talking with her. Instead, she paid pricey continuation coverage of workers’ prior plans to attract the experienced people she needed who were used to great benefits at larger companies.
Some relief could be on the way, however, with the creation of a small business insurance exchange in Georgia that experts say could reduce costs for employers and increase plan options for workers.
A committee of local health care experts, lawmakers and community leaders is exploring ways to develop an exchange — required starting in 2014 under the federal health care law — and will deliver final legislative recommendations to the governor by Dec. 15. The group is also looking at an exchange for individuals.
While opposing the health care overhaul, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed the committee earlier this year — saying it made sense to study Georgia-based solutions while the courts decide whether the law is unconstitutional. The federal government will step in to set up exchanges if states don’t. (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act | Tagged: Atlanta, Georgia, Georgians for a Healthy Future, Gov. Nathan Deal, health insurance, health insurance exchange, health insurance marketplace, National Federation of Independent Business, NFIB, Small Business, tax credit | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 26, 2011 by scjustice
Govs. Fallin, Haley and Deal have taken flack over health insurance exchanges. | AP Photos
By FRANK MICCICHE | 4/26/11 4:39 AM EDT
What does the tea party have against helping small businesses find affordable health insurance for their employees?
Tea party-linked groups have recently spiked legislation in three states that would have authorized federally funded planning to create health insurance exchanges. Activists successfully blocked the efforts of these GOP governors to explore market-based alternatives that would address the stubbornly high ranks of the uninsured in their states. In doing so, they blanketed Republican supporters of this exchange legislation with claims of complicity in the enforcement of “Obamacare.”
The tea party’s success — and the unintended consequences for a constituency with whom they share a number of small government principles — says a lot about the current state of health care policy-making in the states.
Filed under: Health Care Law Implementation | Tagged: Affordable Care Act, Georgia, Health Care Reform, health insurance exchange, insurance marketplace, Mary Fallin, Nathan Deal, Nikki Haley, Oklahoma, Small Business, South Carolina, Tea Party | 1 Comment »