A new Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze

Currently, patients entering the health insurance exchanges can choose from platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans.  What is the difference between them?  As the names indicate, platinum has the highest premium and bronze the lowest.  However, bronze plans may be more expensive.  Why is this?  In essence, all the plans cover the same items.  The…

Hospitals moving to the ‘burbs

The ACA offers States the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to millions of Americans.  The goal of the expansion was to increase poor and middle class Americans’s access to affordable health care.  However, access to acute care may be getting more difficult for poor individuals. A recent article looking at Milwaukee’s hospital market describes how hospitals are…

Health Reform in Minnesota

Was health reform successful in Minnesota?  If the metric of interest is reducing the number of uninsured, the answer is certainly yes.  A State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) report finds: The number of uninsured in Minnesota fell from 445,000 (8.2 percent of the population) to about 264,500 (4.9 percent of the population). How…

Is Massachusetts getting a singler payer system?

Maybe, if Donald Berwick becomes governor.  Mr. Berwick is the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He ran CMS between 2010 and 2011, but left when Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation to lead the agency permanently.  Now, WonkBlog reports that Mr. Berwick is running for governor of Massachusetts.  His platform claims that the state–whose earlier…

Is Health Exchange enrollment overstated?

Over 8 million people have signed up for a health plan through the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordabe Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  Or have they?  Although policymakers may say that this is the truth, leaders at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), say that these figures may be overstated for two reasons:  Changing enrollment: In…

CBO vs. Urban: ACA and Unemployment

Will the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, aka Obamacare) cost American millions of jobs. A recent report by the CBO says yes. CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers…