Los Angeles Times: Obamacare: Silence Of The Insurers
When will the insurers revolt? It's a question that's popping up more and more. On the surface, the question answers itself. We're talking about pinstriped insurance company executives, not Hell's Angels. One doesn't want to paint with too broad a brush, but if you were going to guess which vocations lend themselves least to revolutionary zeal, the actuary sciences rank slightly behind embalmers (Jonah Goldberg, 12/17).
The Washington Post's Plum Line: Morning Plum: Insurance Industry Bets On Obamacare. GOP Bets On Failure.
The Wall Street Journal reports that insurance companies are set to unleash hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to entice potential customers on to the exchanges created by Obamacare. ... All this is a reminder of just how much of a stake the industry has in the law's success, and how much it is willing to spend to try to make that happen. What's striking is that this comes even as the absolute certainty among Republicans that the law cannot do anything other than fail spectacularly -; indeed, that this has already happened -; has only hardened (Greg Sargent, 12/16).
The New York Times' The Conscience Of A Liberal: The Big Money Bets On Obamacare
As Greg Sargent has been pointing out for some time, the startup troubles of Obamacare have divided both the general public and the political class into two different intellectual universes. On one side, Republicans -; both the base and the political leadership -; have decided that health reform is already a failure; that conviction is actually helping the leadership rein in some of the crazies, by telling them that now is the time to wait and let the political payoff from Obamacare's collapse fall into their laps. On the other side, Democrats see a law that got off to a terrible start but is getting rapidly better (Paul Krugman, 12/16).
Los Angeles Times: Employers Cut Health Coverage, Find Scapegoat: Obamacare
If there's been one inexorable trend coming out of the HR departments of major employers, it's been the steady erosion of worker pay and benefits. Razor-thin raises, defined benefit pensions replaced by 401(k) plans, shrinking healthcare--if you've been on a big company's payroll, you know the drill. Expect the trend to continue or even pick up steam, because employers have an ideal scapegoat right now: the Affordable Care Act. It looks like the blame-Obamacare game is having some effect. According to an AP poll released over the weekend, three-quarters of those with private or employer-based insurance think the Affordable Care Act is the reason for changes in their health coverage for 2014 (Michael Hiltzik, 12/16).
The New York Times: What The New Health Insurance Law Means For My Workers
In America, I told my workers, health insurance pays for three kinds of care: routine, chronic and catastrophic. Under the old system, my company bought a single policy and used it to pay for all three. And as a business owner, I got to choose whatever policy I thought was best but without good information about the various plans that were available. ... I also had no idea what our premiums might be from year to year. The insurance companies could jack our rates up or down for any number of reasons without explanation -; although it appeared that if someone in the company got sick, we could expect a large increase in premiums the next year. So we always had that hanging over our heads. Now, the Affordable Care Act has removed that risk (Paul Downs, 12/16).
The Fiscal Times: Why The GOP Shouldn't Count On An Obamacare Collapse
The disastrous rollout of the HealthCare.gov website has so far kept enrollment well below the levels the Obama administration had sought. Yet as the administration works to fix the numerous technological problems that have plagued the site (it now says that the error rates with the problematic "834 transactions" that transmit enrollment data to insurers have been close to zero since the beginning of December), HealthCare.gov will be getting some outside help in trying to lure consumers to sign up for insurance plans (Yuval Rosenberg, 12/16).
The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage: Five Myths About The Future Of Obamacare
Both liberals and conservatives believe they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with the Affordable Care Act. With the HealthCare.gov Web site running more smoothly, liberals are confident that Obamacare will soon be entrenched. Just as Republicans in the 1950s came to accept Social Security to avoid electoral defeats, ACA supporters insist that conservatives are courting political disaster if they continue to oppose the law. Republicans have a different perspective. They point to millions of cancelled insurance policies, ongoing enrollment problems, and repeated implementation delays as signs that the law is on the brink of collapse. The ACA remains fundamentally flawed, they claim, and all these Band-Aid improvements will never repair a program that was defective from the start. But what do we really know about the dynamics of "policy entrenchment"-; that is, whether programs survive after Congress creates them? (Eric Patashnik and Julian Zelizer, 12/16).
The Washington Post: Auto Bailout Could Be Harbinger For Obamacare
When will the criticism of Obamacare finally end? I've done some research on the question, and by my calculations, judging from current trends, this will happen approximately . . . never (Dana Milbank, 12/16).
Bloomberg: Make Obamacare Cool, Or Make It Hurt
Instead of outreach programs and sappy TV ads with parents imploring their kids to sign up for Obamacare, President Barack Obama needs to start thinking creatively if he wants his signature legislative achievement to be a success. What motivates kids? In fact, what motivates any of us? Incentives (Caroline Baum, 12/16).