The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Was Boehner's ACA Sign-up A Sign of Surrender? Or A Ploy That Failed?

Boehner signs-up for the ACA

Freak Out Nation 

John Boehner could have enrolled in Obamacare even faster but there was one problem: John Boehner

November 23, 2013
It was about an hour after House Speaker John Boehner’s office said he couldn’t sign up for Obamacare coverage on the District of Columbia’s exchange, that his office said, he had officially enrolled on Thursday.
As it happens, it wouldn’t have taken him even that long if it weren’t for one thing standing in his way: John Boehner.
Boehner, apparently exhibiting a public display of frustration while trying to enroll on the DC site, tweeted out his dismay (or joy, however you want to look at it.)

Scott MacFarlane, a reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Washington, reports that a DC Health Care exchange representative actually tried to contact Boehner by phone during the enrollment process but was put on hold for 35 minutes, after which time the representative finally hung up, Josh Marshall of TPM reports.

DC health exchange spokesman says Speaker Boehner office kept DC representative on hold 35 minutes, "lots of patriotic hold music", hung up
Foiled again! Yes if it had not been for that new tech-invention called a ‘telephone’, which takes a lot of time to learn to navigate, John Boehner would have been able to enroll even faster. 
Big thanks to a friend of FreakOutNation’s @Mea-Mark who you can follow on Twitter here. 

Image: DKo 
Boehner's escapade was in fact a ploy, that backfired! Boehner's website, "My attempt to sign-up for health care."

While Boehner attempts a personal war 
against the ACA, the ACA moves on. The White House staff has published an informative report of Progressive and (to-date) outcomes related to trends in healthcare with a and emphasis on the impact of the ACA.

White House Dot Gov "Trends In HealthCare Report..." (full pdf report linked via title below)


White House Council Of Economic Advisers Report

Introduction and Summary 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed against a backdrop of decades of rapid growth in health care spending in the United States. While much of this historical increase reflects the development of new treatments that have greatly improved health and well-being (Cutler 2004), there is widespread agreement that the system suffered from serious inefficiencies that increased costs and reduced the quality of care that patients receive. A key goal of the ACA was to begin wringing these inefficiencies out of the health care system, simultaneously reducing the growth of health care spending – and its burden on families, employers, and state and federal budgets – while increasing the quality of the care delivered. 

This report analyzes recent trends in health care costs, the forces driving those trends, and their likely economic benefits. The report includes the following findings about recent trends: 
• Health care spending growth is the lowest on record. According to the most recent projections, real per capita health care spending has grown at an estimated average annual rate of just 1.3 percent over the three years since 2010. This is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1965.  
• Health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. Recent years have also seen exceptionally slow growth in the growth of prices in the health care sector, in addition to total spending. Measured using personal consumption expenditure price indices, health care inflation is currently running at just 1 percent on a year-over-year basis, the lowest level since January 1962. (Health care inflation measured using the medical CPI is at levels not seen since September 1972.)  
• Recent slow growth in health care spending has substantially improved the long-term Federal budget outlook. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reduced its projections of future Medicare and Medicaid spending in 2020 by $147 billion (0.6 percent of GDP) since August 2010. This represents about a 10 percent reduction in projected spending on these programs. These revisions primarily reflect the recent slow growth in health care spending. 
While the causes of the slowdown are not yet fully understood, the evidence available to date supports several conclusions about the slowdown and the role of the ACA: 
• The slowdown in health care cost growth is more than just an artifact of the 2007-2009 recession: something has changed. The fact that the health cost slowdown has persisted so long even as the economy is recovering, the fact that it is reflected in health care prices – not just utilization or coverage, and the fact that it has also shown up in Medicare – which is more insulated from economic trends, all imply that the current slowdown is the result of more than just the recession and its aftermath. Rather, the slowdown appears to reflect “structural” changes in the United States health care system, a conclusion consistent with a substantial body of recent research. 

• The ACA is contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending and is improving quality of care. ACA provisions that reduce Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers are contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending. In addition, ACA reforms that aim to improve the quality of care are reducing hospital readmission rates and increasing provider participation in payment models designed to promote high-quality, integrated care.  
• New economic research shows that the ACA’s Medicare reforms are likely to reduce health care spending and improve quality system-wide. Recent research implies that reforms to Medicare will have “spillover effects” that reduce costs and improve quality system-wide. In economic terms, this suggests that efforts to reform Medicare’s payment system are “public goods.”  
• Accounting for “spillovers” implies that the ACA’s effect on health care price inflation may be much larger than previously understood. The direct effect of ACA provisions that reduce Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers has been to reduce health care price inflation by an estimated 0.2 percent per year since 2010. 
Accounting for the “spillover effects” discussed above raises this estimate to 0.5 percent per year, which represents a substantial fraction of the recent slowdown. 

Slow growth in health care costs, thanks in part to the ACA, is likely to have substantial benefits for the Nation’s economy in both the short-run and the long-run: 
• In the short run, slower growth in health spending is a positive for employment. The slow growth in health care costs has reduced employers’ benefit costs, increasing firms’ incentives to hire additional workers. Available estimates suggest these gains could be substantial, although the magnitude is uncertain. 

• Over the long run, slower growth in health spending translates directly into higher wages and living standards. If half the recent slowdown in spending can be sustained, health care spending a decade from now will be about $1,400 per person lower than if growth returned to its 2000-2007 trend, a benefit that workers will realize in the form of higher wages and that federal and state governments will realize as lower costs.  
 • CBO estimates that the ACA will substantially reduce long-term deficits. In large part because of the ACA’s role in slowing the growth of health care spending, CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce deficits by about $100 billion over the coming decade and by an average of 0.5 percent of GDP ($83 billion per year in today’s economy) over the following decade. These deficit savings are likely to grow over time and are separate from the revisions in CBO’s Medicare and Medicaid spending projections that were discussed on the last page (which are not directly attributable to the ACA).
If the Affordable Care Act receives a necessary boost from a properly functioning website, the GOP may lose its battle against Obama's signature legislation. The party on the right may also lose it only 2014 campaign issue.

Of course, that would mean a steady diet of " Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi." 

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