Recently the Asbury Park Press published a story based on a widely criticized and discredited State Comptroller’s 2012 report examining the state of health benefits for public workers of municipalities, county governments and school districts. The report, which was panned by most benefit and insurance professional at the time as being actuarially and statistically invalid, also failed to accurately reflect the process local governments must use when selecting benefits for its employees. The report made for good headlines, but it didn’t make for good policy.
The takeaway of the report was that local entities in New Jersey — counties, townships, boroughs, school districts — could simply join the state health benefit plan and save the state $100 million dollars. But that wasn’t correct then and it isn’t correct now. The report overlooked the fact that benefits are collectively bargained for and can’t simply be changed on whim or all at once. It also made the false assumption that just by merging all the groups across the state, their claims history, which is how insurance policies are priced, would miraculously get better and generate savings. Finally, the report largely blamed local benefit brokers and consultants for the high cost of health care for public plans even though the cost of brokerage services is about 2% to 3% of the total cost of healthcare. The state plan is a solution for many public employers as are other private plan options. The key is to examine all of the options and align the entity with the best solution for their circumstances.
The report was largely discredited and dismissed at the time of its issuance by industry experts for being naïve and non-factual. But because it includes an eye-popping alleged savings number, the nearly 4 years old report is regularly dusted off and re-circulated by political operatives and media types looking to re-create a controversy that never existed.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans say they approve of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, while 56 percent disapprove, according to a new Gallup poll. The 37 percent approval rating is 1 percentage point below the previous low from Gallup in January. Approval of the law is largely split along party lines; 74 percent of… Read the rest of this entry »
Uninsured New Jerseyans will have a new tool to help them buy health insurance this fall, just in time for the next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, a website geared to connecting them with people and resources that can make it easier to sign up for coverage. The New Jersey for Health Care coalition, which… Read the rest of this entry »
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to hold a press conference to kick off Enrollment Week ahead of the March 31 Affordable Healthcare Act sign up deadline Monday morning at Montclair State University.
MMM has been invited and Art Gallagher will attend.
What would you like Art to ask the Secretary if he’s lucking enough to be called on? Leave your questions in the comments, please.
MMM will be live-streaming the press conference at 10:30am Monday morning.
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has clogged the system for nearly all types of health insurance in New Jersey, causing frustration and delays for consumers, agents and policyholders say. Lingering backlogs have left thousands in limbo,…
But all is not lost! HealthCare.gov doesn’t work, so one of the firms contracted by the federal government to help with the enrollment process has opened centers in Edison and Wayne that are open seven days per week where trained navigators will be on hand to help the uninsured and soon to be uninsured enroll.
The deadline to enroll in ObamaCare, if you want coverage by January 1, is December 23. Get your elf off the shelf and hustle off to Edison or Wayne. There are malls nearby.
Once again, there are rumblings of “death panels” in the Affordable Care Act. This happens when a bill is passed as massive as this one that not a single member of Congress read prior to approving it. We are slowly learning of the myriad of difficulties buried in this bill simply because it was jammed down our throats with the goal of not airing it carefully beforehand. But the death panels do not exist.
There are two provisions to which Sarah Palin, Mark Halperin and even Howard Dean have referred as “death panels.” The first, Section 1233, involves counselling (voluntary, not mandatory) of “end of life” provisions. These include Living Wills, Health Advisory Statements, etc., all of which are standard documents every trust and estates attorney prepares for his/her client. There is nothing sinister about these. The second provision involves the Independent Payment Advisory Board whose sole function is to make recommendations regarding ways of cutting Medicare costs in the future. Those recommendations are not self-implementing. They must be submitted to Congress and approved by the President. This means first, there is no review of any individual case. Second, whatever recommendations are made need to be passed as if they were a new law. Oddly, there are so many serious harmful provisions of this Act, it is curious that everyone is fixated on two provisions that are relatively benign.
There are provisions that are not benign that are harmful to this nation and not just to its health care. What is amazing is that while everyone is obsessed with something that is not in the Act, they are totally ignoring a provision of the Act that is as unconstitutional and unAmerican as any provision of any Act in our lifetime. The Act provides in section 3007 for a “value based payment modifier.” This means health professionals get reviewed by the Administration and a calculation is made measuring the average cost for treating a patient for the physician or “group” of doctors versus the “success” of the treatment. It would be difficult to dream of a more subjective measurement so subject to abuse. I stand awestruck by the teachers who support the ACA (having not read it, of course) while screaming that it is not fair to “measure” their performance by the success of their students. This calculation leads to a “mathematical” payment modifier that reduces the payments given by Medicare to each group of health practitioners. But that’s not the bad part.
The ObamaCare backstory gets worse all the time, Save Jerseyans.
We can never really know what happened in chambers. That said, emerging anonymous accounts seem to comport with what we can plainly observe about this repugnant capitulation to unconstitutional, unrestrained big government by Chief Justice John Roberts.
It was supremely political.
Be assured, I’m not leveling this charge simply because I don’t like the decision! The Chief Justice simply didn’t do a very good job of masking his purely tactical motivations.
If you read the conservative Kennedy-Alito-Thomas-Scalia dissent (click here – pdf), one of the first things you’ll notice is how the dissent frequently refers to the majority opinion as the “dissent.” Is the current batch of High Court clerks just sloppy? Or is something else going on here?