Viewpoints: New Insurers Suggest Health Law Success; Slow Response On Ebola
Vox: In Conservative Media, Obamacare Is A Disaster. In The Real World, It's Working.
Before Obamacare launched, conservative outlets warned that the law would collapse as insurers shunned the overpriced, overregulated insurance exchanges. ... On Tuesday, the idea that insurers would flee Obamacare joined the long procession of Obamacare disasters that simply didn't happen. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell announced that in the 44 states where numbers were available, the number of companies offering plans in 2015 would increase by 25 percent. So, far from fleeing the exchanges, insurers are rushing into them. Competition is increasing (Ezra Klein, 9/24).
The New Republic: Obamacare Is Such A Disaster That Even More Insurers Want To Be Part Of It
Obamacare critics hadn't predicted the markets would evolve this way. On the contrary, they expected that that young and healthy people would stay far away from the new marketplaces, because the new coverage would be pricier than what they were paying before. Without enough business, the argument went, insurers would get skittish and withdraw. At best, the marketplaces would all become oligopolies and monopolies, with just a handful of insurers continuing to sell policies. At worst, the whole scheme would fall apart. That quite obviously isn’t happening (Jonathan Cohn, 9/24).
Bloomberg: Obamacare Is Here To Stay
The Affordable Care Act continues not to implode. In year two of the exchanges, more insurance companies are lining up to participate, which means more competition, lower prices and less waste. ... "Obamacare" was unlikely to be popular no matter what. But its success so far means it won't be repealed even if Republicans win unified control of the White House and Congress in 2016 (Jonathan Bernstein, 9/24).
The Washington Post's Plum Line: Some Good News About Obamacare That Even Conservatives Should Love
We now have some more good news about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and it's good news of a type that ought to warm the hearts of the law's conservative critics. There have been some developments that conservatives can lament, even as the rest of us find them cause for celebration. Some would say that the fact that eight million additional Americans have been enrolled in Medicaid because of the law is an unalloyed good, but many conservatives would think the opposite, because those people are now suckling at government's teat. But what about when the free market embraces Obamacare? What's a conservative to think then? (Paul Waldman, 9/24).
Bloomberg: Reggie Jackson And The Cost Of Health Care
In contrast, in the U.S., the goal of health policy is to ensure that everyone receives whatever health care they "need." Because there is no objective measure of need, the industry can endlessly expand what people consider necessary. So our uniquely unbudgeted public entitlements -- and insurance structured as uncapped benefits -- continuously add dollars to the industry, making effective price discipline impossible. Many supporters of a single-payer system in the U.S. believe it could maintain open-ended coverage while controlling prices to keep costs down. But these objectives are incompatible (David Goldhill, 9/23).
The New York Times: Warnings On Big Medical Bills
It’s not an uncommon situation for patients to be billed by doctors for costly services they did not request or, in some cases, were not even aware they had received. Egregious examples of this billing practice, described by Elisabeth Rosenthal in The Times on Sunday, include calling in consultants whose services aren’t really needed, ordering unnecessary and costly diagnostic tests, and using doctors who bill for services that nurses can perform (9/24).
Dallas Morning News: Health Care Battles Continue To Roil
To make sure [Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's effort to expand Medicaid] failed, the Legislature's Republican majority last week again blocked what The Washington Post termed McAuliffe’s "top legislative priority." "Once again, Terry McAuliffe has far over-promised, and mightily under-delivered,” said state GOP communications director Garren Shipley, echoing the way Republican officials regularly portray actions limiting the Affordable Care Act as defeats for Democrats like McAuliffe and President Barack Obama. In truth, preventing Medicaid expansion or other aspects of Obamacare in Virginia and other states, including Texas, is less a defeat for its political champions than a defeat for millions of Americans. After all, their participation in the landmark universal health care program is at stake when states consider the expanded Medicaid program, at mostly federal cost, or courts decide if it’s legal for them to receive a federal subsidy (Carl Leubsdorf, 9/24).
The New York Times: The Ebola Fiasco
It's a classic case where early action could have saved lives and money. Yet the world dithered, and with Ebola cases in Liberia now doubling every two to three weeks, the latest worst-case estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that there could be 1.4 million cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone by late January (Nicholas Kristof, 9/24).
The Washington Post: We Must Prioritize Drug Development To Fight Ebola
The worst-case scenarios for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa must not be ignored, even if they strain belief. Everything about this epidemic has been worst-case — the scope, the toll, the response. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published projections Tuesday with an upper range of 550,000 to 1.4 million cases by the end of January. The World Health Organization, which earlier estimated 20,000 cases overall, now predicts that number will be reached by early November (9/24).
The Wall Street Journal: The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic
Almost 8,000 cases of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, have been reported to California's Public Health Department so far this year. More than 250 patients have been hospitalized, nearly all of them infants and young children, and 58 have required intensive care. Why is this preventable respiratory infection making a comeback? In no small part thanks to low vaccination rates, as a story earlier this month in the Hollywood Reporter pointed out (Paul A. Offit, 9/24).
Politico: The Incredibly Insipid War On Women 2.0
The "war on women" is back, and more tendentious than ever. ... The recipe is one part taking offense where clearly none was intended, and one part discerning new nefarious schemes to deny women access to birth control. Granted, in the absence of Todd Akin, whose outlandish comments on rape were hung around the necks of every Republican in the country in 2012, Democrats have had to labor mightily to invent new outrages to frighten and motivate women (Rich Lowrey, 9/24).
The Advocate: Are You Being Served — Medically?
In the last five years, the federal government has taken significant steps toward recognizing and addressing health disparities that affect LGBT people. ... But there are two more things that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can do that will make an even bigger impact on closing the gap in health care disparities between LGBT people and the general population: designate LGBT people as a medically underserved population (MUP) and as a health professional shortage area population (HPSA) (Sean Cahill, 9/24).