Health Care Reform Here to Stay
If there were any lingering doubts about the long-term sustainability of the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), a recent Supreme Court ruling assured the health care overhaul is here to stay.
Not only does the King v. Burwell ruling handed down by Chief Justice John Roberts put the ACA on firm ground for the future, it also puts to rest challenges of the health law’s tax rules from opponents hoping to exploit loopholes.
A few lines pulled from the Supreme Court ruling:
“We cannot interpret federal statutes to negate their own stated purposes.”
“Congress passed the ACA to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”
Roberts’ decision may go a long way in clarifying the ACA’s intentions, but for the average person, it’s understandable if all the legislative, medical and financial arguments remain clear as mud. Health insurance is a complex issue at both the state and national levels, but as your financial professional, we know that what matters most is how the law affects you individually.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What to Take Away from the Supreme Court Decision on Health Care,” from The New York Times, June 25, 2015.]
[CLICK HERE to search the Rate Review database, “Find Rate Review Information about Your Insurer,” on Healthcare.gov, accessed June 24, 2015.]
Talks of the 2016 presidential race have already started picking up as new, high-profile candidates throw their names into the ring. In that regard, it can be difficult to predict what changes are on the horizon. But, as King v. Burwell established, it will take more than just a Presidential change to eliminate the ACA.
The ruling strengthens the law to the point that it will take an act of Congress to make changes in the future. Roberts wrote that he believes subsidizing universal health insurance is of “deep economic and political significance,” and that if Congress wanted to give future Presidents an escape hatch from the legislation, “it surely would have done so expressly.”
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why John Roberts’ Obamacare decision goes further than you think,” from MSNBC.com, June 25, 2015.]
So here’s what we know: The initiative to get everyone in the country covered by health insurance, regardless of income level, will continue as planned. Ensuring the care is at a certain degree of quality … well, that has its challenges.
Take a look at veterans who have sought care at VA hospitals. One of their greatest needs, mental health care, appears to be a weakness in this delivery system. In fact, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, as many as 22 veterans die by suicide each day. This travesty appears to emanate from incorrect diagnoses, poor record-keeping, lack of follow-ups and the VHA’s lack of compliance with its own policies and procedures.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “GAO: VA’s errors and noncompliance hinder suicide prevention efforts,” from Modern Healthcare, June 11, 2015.]
Access to quality care also is a major issue in rural locations throughout the country. Fortunately, this has been addressed in recent years by loosening up practice requirements by nurse practitioners (NPs) who have earned a master’s degree or better.
New state laws have begun to permit NPs greater autonomy to perform services such as ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications and administering treatments for patients in rural states that struggle to recruit doctors to remote areas.
[CLICK HERE to read the article “Doctoring, without the Doctor,” from The New York Times, May 25, 2015.]
On the other hand, greater demand for providers necessitates more money. This has been evident in rate requests filed by health insurers for 2016. Increases thus far have ranged from 6 percent for high-level platinum plans to 14 percent for silver plans.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “3 must-know facts about 2016 health rate filings,” from LifeHealthPro, June 11, 2015.]
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