OK, this is a very short post. It's not technically ACA-related, but it's certainly about healthcare & preventative medical treatment in America, so it seems close enough.

  1. Look at these charts, comparing the causes of death in the U.S. in 1900 vs. today.
  2. Consider the Anti-Vaxxer movement.
  3. Weep for the future.

That is all. Carry on.

Four important stories about the technical situation status on various ACA exchange websites:

Idaho moving forward with state-run Obamacare exchange

Officials in Idaho say they’re undaunted by the well-documented failures of Obamacare exchanges in neighboring states and are moving  full-steam ahead with plans to launch their own web portal this November.

While executives at Cover Oregon and Nevada Health  Link abandon their state-run websites and turn to the federal exchange (HealthCare.gov), Your Health Idaho is headed in the opposite direction.

The state relied on the federal website for the open-enrollment period that ended in mid-April because it had less than 200 days last year set up its own web-exchange when state lawmakers authorized the project. It was one of two states — New Mexico is the other — that had to wait a year for its own site, and exchange officials say the delay has been a plus as they meet with other states to discuss what went right or wrong during Obamacare’s first round.

A bunch of people have sent me links to this story out of Virginia:

RICHMOND — Republicans appear to have outmaneuvered Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a state budget standoff by persuading a Democratic senator to resign his seat, at least temporarily giving the GOP control of the chamber and possibly dooming the governor’s push to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) will announce his resignation Monday, effective immediately, paving the way to appoint his daughter to a judgeship and Puckett to the job of deputy director of the state tobacco commission, three people familiar with the plan said Sunday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

The short version is this:

This is incredibly face-slappingly depressing news:

Insurance experts say it's hard to know how many people opted to forego insurance and take a tax penalty and now have decided they want insurance, and also how many simply failed to sign up in time and now regret the decision.

But confusion over the new health law, also known as Obamacare, kept some from enrolling, health insurance experts say.

Some people thought they didn't have to meet the new health law's deadline because they didn't qualify for a premium subsidy from the federal government, said Carrie McLean, director of customer care at eHealthInsurance.com, a private Web-based insurance broker. Others thought that only people who wanted to purchase insurance through Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange, had to do so by March 31, she said.

And, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey in March, more than 60% of those without health coverage were unaware of the enrollment deadline for most people to sign up for individual health coverage.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 143,000 residents are eligible for expanded Medicaid under the ACA, so this means that the state has already signed up over 86% of the total eligible since October:

Under the health care reform law, West Virginia expanded its Medicaid program to cover those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $16,000 a year for an individual. As of May 27, 123,403 West Virginia residents had signed up for Medicaid under the expanded program.

Thanks to contributor Brian W. for both of the following pieces out of Forbes, published just two days apart; the contrast in headlines couldn't be more stark. First up is Bruce Japsen, who writes:

Obamacare Sticker Shock? Unlikely For Most In 2015

Though some analysts and even health plan executives believe there could be many double-digit percentage increases in premiums where some health plans underpriced for this year’s first year of enrollment to get customers, there have been examples where insurers are considering introducing even lower premiums than what they offered this year or new product with lower rates. A Bloomberg News report last week, for example, cited Molina Healthcare (MOH) in Washington State as offering a 2015 rate that is an average “6.8 percent reduction” from this year’s rate.

Every little bit...

Connector Updates for May 31, 2014

32,208 Applications completed in the Individual Marketplace
9,432 Individuals and families enrolled in the Individual Marketplace
629 Employers applied to SHOP Marketplace
851 Employees and dependents enrolled via SHOP Marketplace

It's rather ironic that Oregon, which had a disastrous exchange website which it's abandoning in order to join the federal exchange, still continues to post their enrollment data on a regular basis (pretty impressive numbers at that, by the way--another 10,204 added to Medicaid in the past week or so), while the federal exchange, which has been running smoothly for months now, has decided to stop posting their own updates. In any event...

Medical enrollments through Cover Oregon: 297,712
Total private medical insurance enrollments through Cover Oregon 1: 85,782                

Oregon Health Plan enrollments through Cover Oregon: 211,930

Dental enrollments 
Total private dental insurance enrollments through CoverOregon 1: 17,578          

Net enrollments 
Net private medical: 78,970
Net private dental: 15,476

Don't let the snarky headline fool you; I'm still very much a single-payer guy. However, anyone who still claims that the ACA exchanges are "socialized medicine" doesn't have the slightest clue what they're talking about. In case you needed even more proof that the ACA is very much private-market friendly:


After sitting out the first year, UnitedHealth Group Inc. intends to offer individual policies on the Illinois health insurance exchange next year, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

The decision by UnitedHealth, the nation's largest and the state's No. 2 insurer, has the potential to shake up the Illinois market, which was dominated in 2014 by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the state's dominant insurer.

...United's participation also could help lower rates for consumers, a key concern among the law's supporters.

While United would neither confirm nor deny its plans to offer policies in Illinois next year, a spokesman said the Minnesota-based insurer intends to increase its participation over time in exchanges nationwide.