I've already taken apart Heritage Foundation shill Sharyll Attkisson for her mind-bogglingly embarrassing FAIL at trying to claim that the uninsured total has only dropped by 3.4 million since the ACA exchanges and ACA Medicaid expansion kicked in on January 1st, when in fact it's actually around 12 million, give or take...a number which has been proven by surveys by not just one, not two, but five well-respected sources, including Gallup, the Urban Institute, the RAND Corporation, the Commonwealth Fund and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Now, it seems, I'm going to have to tackle the Heritage Foundation itself directly. A couple of days ago they released a study which claims that (here's the Abstract)...
Thanks to contributor Britt M. for pointing me towards an interesting development in the other Federal Tax Subsidy case (ie, the one not named "Halbig"). As you'll recall, last week the DC Circuit Court panel ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the Halbig v. Burwell case, but the same day, the 4th Circuit Court panel ruled in favor of the HHS Dept. on an almost identical case (King v. Burwell).
It was expected that both cases would then move to the full courts of their respective Circuits (DC for Halbig, the 4th for King). In both cases the Obama administration is heavily favored due to the political makeup of the courts.
However, it looks like the King plaintiffs realized this and decided to cut to the chase, skipping past the full 4th Circuit and pushing straight for the SCOTUS. The Obama administration, meanwhile, wants the full DC Circuit to hear their appeal of the Halbig case...after which whichever side loses will undoubtedly push it up to the SCOTUS as well.
Opponents of Obamacare who lost their legal case over federal subsidies last week are now appealing directly to the Supreme Court, CNBC reported, but it is not clear whether the Supreme Court will take the case.
There hasn't been a real QHP update out of Nevada since they shut down their extension-of-an-extension period at the end of May.At the time, their total enrollment figure was still stuck at 47,245, but their paid number had inched up to an unimpressive 35,700 people.
Today, some 2 months later, it looks like that number still isn't all that impressive (I'm assuming "more than 37K" is around 37,100). Adding insult to injury, all of them will have to re-enroll via HC.gov, although to be honest I kind of figured as much; I'd be very surprised if Oregon isn't facing the same issue, and as I've already noted, it's probably a good idea to have everyone re-enroll anyway just to make sure that they aren't surprised by changes in their tax subsidies:
More than 37,000 Nevadans who signed up for health care plans on the state’s insurance exchange will have to do so again.
The decision is the latest in a series of ongoing changes at the exchange as it tries to recover from a tumultuous first year of signing up consumers for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act.
This is the third 2015 rate change update today; I had already reported on the 25% drop on one of the companies operating on Mississippi's exchange a few weeks ago, but this makes it official, and also reveals that the 2nd provider (there's only 2 on MS's exchange) is only requesting to raise their rates by 6.5%:
A week or so ago, I posted an entry about the requested rate changes for 2015 from the insurance companies operating on the New York exchange (I'm emphasizing "requested" since, again, those changes still have to be approved by state regulators, who have already lopped the average increases down dramatically in both Rhode Island and Connecticut, and I just announced that CA kept them to a quite reasonable 4.3% (weighted) average). The overall unweighted average requested change in New York appeared to be 14.6% increase, which isn't good news at all.
Thanks to contributor Bob H., however, for not only crunching the numbers to give the properly weighted average increase, but also for noting that it turns out that the number of companies listed in the original report (a whopping 42 of them) is slightly overstated, to put it mildly. You see, it turns out that, according to Bob...
RIGOROUS NEGOTIATIONS WITH HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES KEEP RATE INCREASES LOW AND CHOICES ROBUST
Strong Enrollment for 2014 Prompts Balanced Risk Pool and Competition Between Health Plans; Average Statewide Rate Increase Kept to 4.2 Percent
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The vast majority of Covered California consumers will see low increases in their health insurance premiums for 2015, and many consumers will see no increase or even a decrease. The statewide weighted average[*] came in at 4.2 percent, with some plans offering weighted average rates that are 8.5 percent lower than current pricing.
Taking a little break from the Halbig nonsense to get back to the core purpose of this website...
The Graph is starting to get pretty unwieldy at this point. The scale has been changed from Weekly to Monthly, and things are getting pretty squished horizontally with the addition of August to the right side. The overall range remains somewhere between 23 - 28 million, with the main increases being on the QHP side and minor tweaks (some up, some down) in the Medicaid, SHOP & other areas.
The only other notable change is that I've removed the "depending on payment status" qualifier, since I've already removed the 10% of exchange QHPs who definitely aren't paying up for a variety of reasons.
OK, I've proven time and time again that overall, roughly 90% of ACA exchange QHP enrollees do eventually pay their first month's premiums, although it may take a bit longer for some of them to do so. The problem with the exchanges (or individual insurance companies, or the state insurance commissioners or whomever) releasing a flat "XX% have paid as of such-and-such date" is that it's misleading, since anyone who has enrolled within the past 2 weeks likely won't have their policy actually start for up to a month or longer, and even those who enrolled more than 2 weeks ago may just be starting their coverage now. In other words, it's a rolling average, which increases as time goes on for the earlier enrollees, but drops as time goes on for the newest enrollees.
Finally, a solid update out of Vermont; thanks to Morgan True of VT Digger for pointing me towards the most recent Vermont Health Connect report as of just a week or so ago:
There's a lot going on in the table above. For one thing, this demonstrates, again, how stupid it was to hyperventilate about "How many have PAID???" back in February or March, when a good 40% or more of the people who would eventually enroll wouldn't even have their policies kick in for weeks or even months yet. Note that of those whose policies started between January 1 - May 1st, over 95% have paid their first premiums by now:
There's been a recent batch of insurance rate change requests reported across various states which has gotten a lot of press. However, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, there can be a big difference between what the insurance companies ask for and what the state insurance commissioner approves. This is one of the most important (and least-written about) aspects of the ACA: Insurance companies can no longer just jack up their prices however much they feel like; those rates have to be approved by the insurance commissioner for the state they're operating in if they want to sell their wares on the exchange.