GordonJeoff - PNHP California

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Great Dealmaker
The Obama Administration made a series of deals to pass
• The insurance industry: Assured that everyone would
be required to buy their product -- and there would be
no public option
• The drug industry: No negotiation on prices
• The AMA: No cut in physician fees
• Hospitals: No cut in reimbursements, only slower
growth in payments
• Employers: Continued control of health benefits
• Nervous members of the public: “You can keep what
you have”
Starting in 2014: The Insurance Mandate
• Citizens and legal immigrants required to be
insured. Penalties up to 2.5% of income.
• Insurers required to take everyone.
• State-based insurance “exchanges” for individuals
and small employers
• Subsidies up to 400% Federal poverty level so
premium (only) is less than 9.5% of income
• “Hardship waiver” if premium greater than 8% of
income  Can remain uninsured.
• Medicaid for all below 133% poverty level
Exhibit 2. System Improvement Provisions of
Affordable Care Act of 2010
Affordable Care Act of 2010, 03/30/09
Insurance Standards, Plans, and Premium
State or regional exchanges; private and co-op plans offered;
essential health benefits 60%–90% actuarial value, four tiers
plus young adults policy; insurers must meet medical loss ratio
of 80 percent for individual and small groups, 85 percent for
large groups; review of premium reasonableness
Primary Care, Prevention, and Wellness
Primary care 10% bonus for 5 years; Medicaid payment rates to
primary care physicians no less than 100% of Medicare rates in
2013 and 2014; annual wellness visit and/or health risk
assessment for Medicare beneficiaries; preventive services
without cost-sharing; local and employer wellness programs
Innovative Provider Payment Reform
Accountable Care Organizations
CMS Innovation Center; Medicaid medical home designation;
test bundled payment for acute and post-acute care; valuebased purchasing
ACOs to share savings in Medicare
Controlling Health Spending
Independent Payment Advisory Board recommendations to meet
Medicare expenditure target; total system spending non-binding
recommendations; productivity improvement update factor
Quality Improvement and Public Reporting
Direct HHS to develop national quality strategy, public reporting
Medicare Private Plan Competition
Cost-Conscious Consumers
Level the playing field between Medicare Advantage and
traditional Medicare FFS plans
Introduce a 40% excise tax on high premium health insurance
plans beginning in 2018
Note: ACO = accountable care organization; PCP = primary care physician; AHRQ = Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
HHS = Department of Health and Human Services
Source: Commonwealth Fund analysis.
Health Reform Provisions That Took Effect September 23, 2010:
Emergency Room Patient Protections: No prior authorization or higher cost sharing
Lifetime/Annual Limits: Phases in elimination of lifetime limits on healthcare benefits.
OB/GYN Patient Protections: Prohibits requiring a referral to see an obstetrician or gynecologist.
Preventive Health Services: Requires no copayment or deductible for certain preventive services.
Dependent Coverage: Allows adult children under the age of 26 to stay in a parent's health plan..
Pre-existing Condition Exclusions for Children: Prohibits denying coverage to individuals under the
age of 19 based on a preexisting condition.
Rescission: Prohibits insurers from rescinding coverage
Appealing Insurance Company Decisions: Provides consumers a way to appeal coverage determinations
Health Reform Provisions That Took Effect January 1, 2011
Establishes State and Federal Preexisting Condition Insurance Programs:
Minimum Loss Ratio for Insurers: 85% for large group and 80% for small group insurance.
Closing the Medicare Drug Gap: Drug makers give a 50% discount in the donut hole.
Medicare Primary Care Payments: 10% bonus to primary care docs and shortage area
Medicare Prevention Benefits: Co-pays and deductibles eliminated.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: Established and funded.
Medicare Premiums: Raised for higher income beneficiaries.
Medicare Advantage Plan Payments: Restructure to decrease federal subsidy.
Medicaid Health Homes: Starts innovation to restructure care.
CLASS Program: Starts voluntary insurance program for community living support services
National Quality Strategy: Program established.
Overall Consequences of PPACA
• Continued reliance on private insurance
• Employment-based insurance unchanged
• Market competition will determine what health care costs (insurance
premiums, co-pays, deductibles) and how it works (payment and denial
• Nothing but experimental pilot programs to try and reduce system costs, so
there will be no likely reduction in costs or waste
Result: The program will make very little difference in the lives of most people.
Why? Because there’s no change in the way we will be paying for health care.
The price problem that health-care reform failed to cure
By Alec MacGillis The Washington Post October 24, 2010
[T]he Democrats' effort to sell the law to the public may be undermined by what even some ardent
supporters consider its biggest shortfall. The overhaul left virtually untouched one big element of
our health-care dilemma: the price problem. There is no government "single payer" on the other
side of the table…. The 2010 law does little to address this. Its many cost-control provisions are
geared toward reducing the amount of care we consume, not the price we pay…. The main
reason for this is politics. So there was no price fight. It is one of those fine political ironies: The
law derided as socialism may have had an easier time winning favor from a skeptical public if it
was, well, a little more socialist.
By 2012 'Obamacare' In California: President's Affordable Care Act Has Been
'Lifesaving' For Golden State
**About 8,600 Californians with pre-existing medical conditions have gained access to
affordable health insurance. Patients who have illnesses such as cancer or multiple sclerosis
- who face high costs or denials on the open market - can buy insurance through the
**More than 350,000 young adults have been able to stay on their parents' health
insurance plans until they are 26.
**More than 370,000 low-income people have been covered by an expansion of Medi-Cal,
the health insurer for low-income Californians, that is part of the state's "bridge to reform"
waiver to alter the state-federal program.
** Consumers saved more than 100 million dollars when health insurance rate increases
were rolled back or withdrawn as a result of increased regulatory power to review those
** Seniors saved171 million dollars in prescription drug costs in a plan to close the
Medicare limits in coverage.
**12 million people who currently have health insurance no longer face a cap on coverage
in case of a catastrophic illness.
One of the major flaws of the Affordable Care Act is that underinsurance will become
the new standard for health insurance in the United States. The most common
plans that will be purchased in the state insurance exchanges will fall well below the
coverage that most people have today.
The cheapest plans in the exchanges - bronze plans with an actuarial value of 60%
(patient pays an average of 40% of covered costs) - will have deductibles of $4,375 for an
individual ($8,750 for families) with coinsurance of 20% (the patient pays 20% of the
amount over the deductible). The deductible can be reduced to $3,475 for an individual
but then the patient faces a staggering coinsurance of 40%.
Because of the availability of income-indexed subsidies, it is likely that silver plans with an
actuarial value of 70% will be the most commonly selected plans. These are still well
below the typical employer-sponsored plans which have an average actuarial value of
82%. The deductible for the silver plans would be $2,050 for an individual with a 20%
coinsurance rate. The deductible could be reduced to $650 but, again, the coinsurance
rate would increase to 40%.
The 2014 limit for maximum out-of-pocket spending will be $6,350 for an individual or
$12,700 for a family (on top of the portion of the premium that that must also be paid).
These income-adjusted increases in cost sharing will still be excessive for most individuals
and families with significant health problems and with all of the other financial problems
that often are associated with ill health.
Defining Essential Health Benefits —
The View from the IOM Committee
John K. Iglehart
October 7, 2011 (10.1056/NEJMp1109982)
When Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it mandated that a broad package of “essential health
benefits” (EHBs) equivalent to that of a “typical employer plan” be offered by qualified health plans
participating in newly created state-based insurance exchanges, as well as by new plans offered to individuals
and small employers outside these exchanges. Congress directed the Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS) to flesh out the details. The DHHS, in turn, asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to
recommend a process for defining and updating the EHB package — but notably, not to develop a specific list
of benefits.
In a report released on October 7, the IOM recommended that the initial EHB package be equivalent in scope
to what could be purchased by the average premium that a small business would pay on behalf of an
employee…Over time, under the ACA, an estimated 30 million uninsured individuals and employees of small
businesses (fewer than 100 workers) with low-to-moderate incomes will become eligible for federally
subsidized coverage through insurance exchanges or expansions of Medicaid programs…. The IOM report
acknowledges that “the determination of the EHB is a politically and socially charged endeavor.”
The report said the cost trend will not be moderated only by the definition of EHBs and added: “The
committee considered whether complementary Medicare-only or federal-only approaches to reducing rising
health costs would be sufficient and concluded they would not be. An all stakeholder strategy is required
across the public and private sectors,” and the ACA-created independent payment advisory board, even if it
survives strong opposition to its creation, will not include formal engagement of the private sector. By
expressing its concern over health care costs whose annual increases outstrip the growth of the economy,
the committee has issued a wake-up call for policymakers, clarifying how this spending pattern squeezes out
other important competing needs, particularly in a no-growth economy. However, such previous warnings, as
often as they have been issued, have largely fallen on deaf ears.
1. Raising premiums There is no prohibition on companies raising premiums until 2014.
2. Denying or revoking coverage for people with pre-existing conditions (EXCEPT FOR CHILDREN) until 2014.
3. Changing your insurance plan Raising premiums, shutting down or restricting access to less costly care plans
like HMOs and pushing current customers into high-deductible plans, where customers have to pay significant
expenses out of pocket before the insurance company picks up a dime.
4. Making life more difficult for doctors Reducing insurance payouts by expanding prior authorization barriers,
lowering provider payment rates, and making it more difficult to file claims.
5. Selling across state lines Allowing insurance to escape oversight by the most competent state regulators.
6. Marketing only to healthy people Making certain drugs hard (or impossible) to find on pharmaceutical
formularies, limiting access to certain hospitals or centers of excellence for certain chronic diseases or putting up
physical barriers at enrollment meetings will keep sicker people from applying for their insurance.
7. Re-label current overhead expenses as health care When the reform finally takes full effect in 2014, insurance
companies will have to spend 80 percent of their premiums on care for their customers. Thus, in order to make
more money, they’ll have to increase the money you spend on care, or figure out a way to classify expenses
currently deemed “overhead” as “health care for you.”
8. Taking full advantage of the unhealthy behavior premium In the reform, insurers are allowed to makes
premiums 50 percent more expensive for consumers who engage in “unhealthy” behaviors, which was intended to
allow them to continue charging smokers higher premiums. But there are lots of behaviors which can be deemed
“unhealthy,” such as unprotected sex, eating fast foods, drunk driving.
9. Charging older people as much as they can The law allows insurers to charge people between 55 and 65 (the
current age of Medicare eligibility) three times more than people 54 and under.
10. Increasing otherwise unregulated copayments and deductibles for medical services and pharmaceuticals.
Impact of Health Reform on:
Health Care Costs (Expansions)
Expanded Medicaid
• $434 billion
Subsidies for private
• $358 Billion
Small employer tax
• $37 Billion
Temporary high risk
pools, subsidy for
retirees <65, etc
• ~$10 Billion
All figures reflect spending through 2019
Impact of Health Reform on:
Health Care Costs (Savings)
$136 billion •Decreased
Advantage/HMO overpayment
•Decreased Medicare (DSH)
$36 billion payment to safety net hospitals
•Decreased Medicare fee-for-service
$196 billion payments to doctors/hospitals
$87 billion •Other Medicare/Medicaid cuts
All figures reflect spending through 2019
Clinical Care Transformation Model
Accountable Care Organization
• Service Line Integration
• Medical Staff Alignment
• Incentives for Efficiency & Lean Six Sigma
• Quality (SCIP, Leap Frog)
• Safety
• Outcomes & Evidence Based
Ancillary Services
Medical Group
• Call Coverage
• Free-Standing ASC &
Enterprise Level Activities
• Consult Services (Stroke,
Diagnostic Testing
• ER Avoidance Programs
• PCP/SCP Incentives & Clinical Guidelines
• Urgent Care
• Pay for Performance Initiatives
Home Care
• End of Life (Palliative Care)
• Home Safety Visits
• Patient Satisfaction & Loyalty
• Integration &
• Post Discharge Visits
Oversight with Care
• Care management (Acute, Chronic,
• Home Health
• Transition of Care
Inpatient, SNF)
Coordinator of Services
• Provider Satisfaction
• Health Coaching (Shared Decision
• Behavioral & Mental Health
Skilled Nursing Facilities
• SNFists
• On-site Case Management
• Efficiency Rating Systems
“Preferred Facilities”
• Transitions
Medical Groups
• Enterprise Level
• PC-MH Functions
Advanced Primary Care
Under Patient-Centered Medical Home
• Cost Effective Medical
• Prevention & Wellness
Management & Utilization of
• Point of Care Analytics & Clinical
Services (SCP, Ancillary)
Decision Support
• Access, Same Day Appointments, e• Gaps in Care
• Population Management & Chronic
• Patient Satisfaction & Loyalty
Care Registries
• Provider & Office Staff Satisfaction
• Home Visiting Teams
• Generic Prescribing
• Personal Health Record
• Patient Portal
• Health Risk Assessment
• Patient Engagement &
ACOs and HMOs:
Faith-Based Solutions
• Capitation as magic bullet
• Consolidation among providers cuts costs
• Prevention, care management & EMR/
computers save money
• P-4-P encourages global quality
• Risk adjustment can overcome gaming (cherry
picking & upcoding of diagnoses)
Lessons from the Physician Group Practice Demonstration — A Sobering Reflection
Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D., N Engl J Med 2011; 365:1659-1661 November 3, 2011
In early August, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the results of the
Physician Group Practice (PGP) Demonstration project. Although the headline of the press release
was glowing — “Physician Group Practice Demonstration Succeeds in Improving Quality and
Reducing Costs” — the reported information suggests more mixed results.1 These results should
dampen unreasonable expectations, particularly in terms of potential savings, for accountable
care organizations (ACOs), which were modeled after the PGP demo…. The demo began in 2005
(the first sobering fact is that it took so many years to get it started) and included 10 large PGPs. All
were multispecialty groups, many with well-known names, such as the Marshfield Clinic, Geisinger,
Park Nicollet, and Billings; two were associated with academic medical centers — the University of
Michigan and Dartmouth. Physician groups in the demo received their regular Medicare payments
for services provided to beneficiaries but could also share in the savings generated as long as they
met certain quality metrics and exceeded a savings threshold of 2%. Thirty-two quality goals were
used, most of them process measures related to coronary artery disease, diabetes, heart failure,
hypertension, and preventive care. The savings threshold was calculated by using the per capita
expenditures for a comparator group in the same geographic area and adjusting for the case mix
and severity of illness.2 The PGPs did very well on the quality metrics during all 5 years of the
demo. In the fourth year, all 10 groups met at least 29 of the 32 quality goals.
The savings are another matter. Even with all their experience, only two of the PGP participants
were able to exceed a 2% savings threshold the first year of the demo, and only half managed to
surpass that threshold after 3 years…. only half of these 10 experienced PGPs were able to achieve
the 2% savings threshold — these results are unexpected and, more important, they suggest
(doubts) about the likelihood of success for ACOs. The minimum savings threshold that CMS has
proposed for ACOs is also 2% (or 3.9% for plans with fewer patients), but plans will have to share
losses as well as gains by year 3.
Effects of Care Coordination on Hospitalization, Quality of Care, and Health Care Expenditures Among Medicare
Beneficiaries - 15 Randomized Trials
Deborah Peikes, PhD; Arnold Chen, MD, MSc; Jennifer Schore, MS, MSW; Randall Brown, PhD
JAMA. 2009;301(6):603-618.
Objective To determine whether care coordination programs reduced hospitalizations and Medicare expenditures
and improved quality of care for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries.
Design, Setting, and Patients Eligible fee-for-service Medicare patients (primarily with congestive heart failure,
coronary artery disease, and diabetes) who volunteered to participate between April 2002 and June 2005 in 15 care
coordination programs (each received a negotiated monthly fee per patient from Medicare) were randomly assigned
to treatment or control (usual care) status. Hospitalizations, costs, and some quality-of-care outcomes were
measured with claims data for 18 309 patients (n = 178 to 2657 per program) from patients' enrollment through
June 2006. A patient survey 7 to 12 months after enrollment provided additional quality-of-care measures.
Interventions Nurses provided patient education and monitoring (mostly via telephone) to improve adherence
and ability to communicate with physicians. Patients were contacted twice per month on average; frequency
varied widely.
Main Outcome Measures Hospitalizations, monthly Medicare expenditures, patient-reported and care process
Results Thirteen of the 15 programs showed no significant (P<.05) differences in hospitalizations; however, Mercy
had 0.168 fewer hospitalizations per person per year (90% confidence interval [CI], −0.283 to −0.054; 17% less than
the control group mean, P=.02) and Charlestown had 0.118 more hospitalizations per person per year (90% CI,
0.025-0.210; 19% more than the control group mean, P=.04). None of the 15 programs generated net savings.
Treatment group members in 3 programs (Health Quality Partners [HQP], Georgetown, Mercy) had monthly
Medicare expenditures less than the control group by 9% to 14% (−$84; 90% CI, −$171 to $4; P=.12; −$358; 90% CI,
−$934 to $218; P=.31; and −$112; 90% CI, −$231 to $8; P=.12; respectively). Savings offset fees for HQP and
Georgetown but not for Mercy; Georgetown was too small to be sustainable. These programs had favorable effects
on none of the adherence measures and only a few of many quality of care indicators examined.
Conclusions Viable care coordination programs without a strong transitional care component are unlikely to yield
net Medicare savings. Programs with substantial in-person contact that target moderate to severe patients can be
cost-neutral and improve some aspects of care.
The Long-Term Effect of Premier Pay for Performance on Patient Outcomes
Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H., Karen E. Joynt, M.D., M.P.H., E. John Orav, Ph.D., and Arnold M. Epstein, M.D. March 28,
2012 (10.1056/NEJMsa1112351)
Pay for performance has become a central strategy in the drive to improve health care. We assessed
the long-term effect of the Medicare Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) on
patient outcomes. We used Medicare data to compare outcomes between the 252 hospitals
participating in the Premier HQID and 3363 control hospitals participating in public reporting alone.
We examined 30-day mortality among more than 6 million patients who had acute myocardial
infarction, congestive heart failure, or pneumonia or who underwent coronary-artery bypass grafting
(CABG) between 2003 and 2009.
At baseline, the composite 30-day mortality was similar for Premier and non-Premier hospitals
(12.33% and 12.40%, respectively; difference, −0.07 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI],
−0.40 to 0.26). The mortality remained similar after 6 years under the pay-for-performance system
(11.82% for Premier hospitals and 11.74% for non-Premier hospitals; difference, 0.08 percentage
points; 95% CI, −0.30 to 0.46). We found that the effects of pay for performance on mortality did not
differ significantly among conditions for which outcomes were explicitly linked to incentives (acute
myocardial infarction and CABG) and among conditions not linked to incentives (congestive heart
failure and pneumonia)
We found no evidence that the largest hospital-based pay-for-performance program led to a
decrease in 30-day mortality. Expectations of improved outcomes for programs modeled after
Premier HQID should therefore remain modest.
Increased Ambulatory Care Copayments and Hospitalizations
among the Elderly
vol 362:320-328, JAN 26,2010
Amal N. Trivedi, M.D., M.P.H., Husein Moloo, M.P.H., and Vincent Mor, Ph.D.
Results In plans that increased copayments for ambulatory care, mean copayments nearly doubled for both
primary care ($7.38 to $14.38) and specialty care ($12.66 to $22.05). In control plans, mean copayments for
primary care and specialty care remained unchanged at $8.33 and $11.38, respectively. In the year after the rise
in copayments, plans that increased cost sharing had 19.8 fewer annual outpatient visits per 100 enrollees
(95% confidence interval [CI], 16.6 to 23.1), 2.2 additional annual hospital admissions per 100 enrollees (95%
CI, 1.8 to 2.6), 13.4 more annual inpatient days per 100 enrollees (95% CI, 10.2 to 16.6), and an increase of 0.7
percentage points in the proportion of enrollees who were hospitalized (95% CI, 0.51 to 0.95), as compared
with concurrent trends in control plans. These estimates were consistent among a cohort of continuously
enrolled beneficiaries. The effects of increases in copayments for ambulatory care were magnified among
enrollees living in areas of lower income and education and among enrollees who had hypertension, diabetes,
or a history of myocardial infarction.
Our results, however, suggest that increasing copayments for ambulatory care among elderly Medicare
beneficiaries may be a particularly ill-advised cost-containment strategy. Assuming an average reimbursement
of $60 for an outpatient visit,33 seven annual outpatient visits per enrollee, and an average copayment increase
of $8.50 per visit, a Medicare plan would receive an additional $5,950 in patient copayments and avert $1,200
in spending on outpatient visits for every 100 enrollees, for a total of $7,150 in savings for the health plan.
However, assuming an average cost of $11,065 for hospitalization of a person 65 to 84 years of age in 2006,34 our
estimates suggest that expenditures for inpatient care will increase by $24,000 for every 100 health plan
enrollees in the year after copayments for ambulatory care are increased.
Many US Employers to Drop Health Benefits – McKinsey
CHICAGO (Reuters Health) Jun 07 - At least 30% of employers are likely to stop offering
health insurance once provisions of the U.S. health care reform law kick in in 2014,
according to a study by consultant McKinsey.
McKinsey, which based its projection on a survey of more than 1,300 employers of
various sizes and industries and other proprietary research, found that 30% of
employers will "definitely" or "probably" stop offering coverage in the years after 2014,
when new medical insurance exchanges are supposed to be up and running.
"The shift away from employer-provided health insurance will be vastly greater than
expected and will make sense for many companies and lower-income workers alike,"
according to the study, published in McKinsey Quarterly…. The consultant also found
that at least 30% of employers would gain economically from dropping coverage even
if they compensated employees for the change through other benefit offerings or
higher salaries.
Losing employer-sponsored insurance would not prompt workers to leave their jobs,
contrary to what many employers assume, McKinsey also predicted. The study found
more than 85% of employees would remain at their jobs even if their employer stopped
offering insurance, although about 60% would expect increased compensation.
High-risk health care plans fail to draw crowd
By Christine Vestal, Stateline Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Throughout the rancorous public debate over the national health law,
this provision has maintained broad public support: a federally
subsidized insurance plan for people whose medical conditions
make them uninsurable in the private market.
The health law’s lifeline for sick people who can’t get insurance
anywhere else has been a virtual nonstarter. A year into the program, only 21,000 out of an estimated 25 million
uninsured people with “high-risk” conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes have signed up. When the
law was enacted last year, administration officials projected enrollment would reach 375,000 and many worried
that funding would run out. So far, only 2 percent of the $5 billion subsidy has been spent.
The high-risk program was intended to be a bridge to 2014, when state-run health insurance exchanges will offer
affordable coverage for everyone, regardless of health status.
The biggest sticking point, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is that only
people who have been uninsured for at least six months are eligible. Congress added that provision to limit the
number who would qualify. Others say the cost of premiums in the high-risk pool—though generally lower than for
other available policies—is still too high for most patients to afford.
Cost is clearly the biggest deterrent, says Amie Goldman, chair of the National Association of State Comprehensive
Health Insurance Plans. State officials who have run their own high risk insurance programs for decades continually
struggle with the problem. Sick people cost more to cover, but you still have to offer benefits that they can afford,
Goldman says.
When the federal government announced its high-risk insurance program in April 2010, states were asked to choose
whether they wanted to run their own plans or let the federal government do it. Pennsylvania and 26 other states
elected to run their own programs and set their own rates; 23 states and the District of Columbia opted for the
federal plan, in which rates are equal to the market price for healthy people. More than a year later, one thing is
clear. The state-run plans have been more successful than the federal program, at least relatively speaking. States
have garnered more than 15,000 subscribers; the feds have signed up just 6,000.
…and Costs Will Keep On Rising
National Health Expenditures (trillions)
PPACA (CMS Actuary)
Current projection
PPACA (Commonwealth Fund)
6.6% annual
6.4% annual
6.0% annual
National Health Expenditures as Percent of GDP
17.8 17.9 18.0 18.2 18.8 19.3 19.8 20.2
20.5 21.0
Notes: * Modified current projection estimates national health spending when corrected to reflect underutilization of services by
previously uninsured.
Source: D. M. Cutler, K. Davis, and K. Stremikis, Why Health Reform Will Bend the Cost Curve, Center for American Progress
and The Commonwealth Fund, December 2009. Estimated Financial Effects of PPACA as Amended, Richard Foster, CMS
Actuary, April 2010
After Reform Many Remain
Uninsured (millions)
E.J. Dionne Jr. Opinion Writer THE WASHINGTON POST
Judicial activists in the Supreme Court
Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hardline conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President
Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move
toward a government-financed, single-payer system. What he got back from
conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own
The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the
arrival of a more government-heavy system. Justice Anthony Kennedy even hinted that it
might be more “honest” if government simply used “the tax power to raise revenue and
to just have a national health service, single-payer.” Remember those words.
Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates
Health Insurance - In 1798
RICK UNGAR POLICY PAGE FORBES Jan. 17 2011 - 9:08 pm |
The ink was barely dry on the PPACA when the first of many
lawsuits to block the mandated health insurance provisions of
the law was filed in a Florida District Court. The pleadings, in part, read “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either
directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have
qualifying health care coverage.” State of Florida, et al. vs. HHS
It turns out, the Founding Fathers would beg to disagree.
In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - “An Act
for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation
of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that
privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.
Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the
intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its
members were the drafters of the Constitution…. But those were the days when
members of Congress still used their collective heads to solve problems – not
create them. Realizing that a healthy maritime workforce was essential to the
ability of our private merchant ships to engage in foreign trade, Congress and the
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