As promised, here's Part 2 of my Risk Pool explainer video!

Part 1 went over the basics of how risk pools work in general, and why segregating sick people into a separate pool is a terrible idea.

In Part 2, I go into more detail about the different types of NON-ACA plans available on the individual market, why they mostly stink, and how the repeal of the Individual Mandate Penalty, especially when combined with Trump's yanking away restrictions on "short-term" and "association" plans, will take an existing problem and make it far worse.

Oh, yeah: It involves Dabney Coleman and Morgan Freeman.


As noted a few days ago, I've posted Part One of my latest crudely-produced-but-hopefully-informative video explainer.

The first part gives an overview of how healthcare Risk Pools actually work and why quarantining sick people into a separate High Risk Pool is such a terrible idea.

The second part, which I hope to post in the next few days, will go into why Donald Trump's recent Short-Term/Association Plan executive order will make a problem which already existed in 2017, and which was made worse by the GOP (by design) in 2018, even worse starting in 2019.

UPDATE 5/4/18: On the one-year anniversary of the House Republicans passing their ACA repeal bill, I figured it'd be a good time to once again promote my 17-minute explainer video about why the ACA was necessary, how it's supposed to work, why some parts of it are very much in need of fixing/improvement and an overview of every one of the half-dozen different repeal bills that the GOP tried to push through last year.

Over 2,500 people have watched my 17-minute 3-Legged Stool explainer video to date, and many have given it high praise (especially considering the utter lack of production value). However, there've been a few complaints about a couple of patches which are a bit slow or where the slides accompanying the audio are a bit confusing, so I've added some additional slides and reworked a few others to make it more clear. I've also noted the most significant update: That in the end, yes, the GOP did indeed repeal the Individual Mandate.


I've written a lot in recent weeks about the real world impact that Trump cutting off CSR reimbursement payments will have on 2018 premiums in various states depending on how they choose to load the additional cost. As I've noted repeatedly, there are basically four strategies they can take: They can assume the payments will continue; they can spread the load across all ACA-compliant policies; they can load all of the cost onto Silver plans only; or they can load all of the cost onto on-exchange Silver plans only, while also creating (if one doesn't exist) a special off-exchange-only Silver plan as a backstop for unsubsidized Silver enrollees (aka the "Silver Switcharoo").

As of this writing, most states have gone with the third or fourth of these options, but a handful are still pursuing the first or second.

A healthcare wonk-blogger colleague, Andrew Sprung of Xpostfactoid, described the four CSR loading strategies as The Four Sons from the Passover Seder:


Well, now...suddenly it feels like putting together this video series isn't such a waste of time after all!

Last week I posted the first in a video slideshow explainer series giving an overview of the pre-ACA landscape, circa 2009.

It was pretty crude, but I was scrambling to upload it ahead of the big Senate repeal/replace vote...and frankly, I felt a little silly bothering afterwards, since there was a very good chance that none of this would matter soon anyway.

Fortunately, late last night, something unexpected happened...and it now appears that the ACA will indeed live on for awhile, albeit still with serious issues to work out.

That being the case, I've recorded and uploaded the second slideshow video in the series...and yes, this one includes the (in)famous Three-Legged Stool.

Enjoy (well, as much as anyone can enjoy a dull 18-minute slideshow about healthcare policy, anyway).

As always, support is appreciated!

For the past six months, I've been giving a PowerPoint presentation to various activist clubs/meetings around Southeast Michigan about the Affordable Care Act and Republican attempts to repeal it, including the basics of how the ACA was supposed to work, which parts are and aren't working (and why), how I'd recommend fixing the real problems and, of course, just what the heck the GOP has been trying to do to tear it all apart.

Many people have requested an online version of the slideshow. I posted an earlier version of it this past spring, but obviously things have changed dramatically over the past few months.

I've updated and enhanced about 3/4 of the slideshow. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to update the GOP repeal section yet--it's sort of a mish-mash of AHCA and BCRA slides right now, but I thought it was more important to get it posted for the moment under the circumstances.

Then again, that section keeps changing every five minues anyway, so perhaps it's just as well if I hold off on that part. I'll swap out this version for a newer one at a later date.


As regular readers know, I've spent the past few months speaking at various political/activist club meetings giving a lengthy presentation which gives a basic overview of the healthcare coverage situation in America, how the ACA was supposed to work, which parts of it are/aren't working, how I think the parts which aren't working should be fixed/improved, and of course what the Republican Party's plan of the day is to screw up everything which works while making the existing problems far, far worse.

By popular demand, I've embarked on a project to bring a version of this presentation to the web, by way of a series of short, simple videos (narrated slideshows, really) which give the basics. The first one can be viewed above.

As I note at the outset: I realize how incredibly basic and crude this is. I actually have some experience in video editing from my wannabe film producer days (long story, don't ask) in the 1990's, but I'm more than a little rusty at it...and frankly, given that the Senate vote is coming up in just a few days, I don't exactly have a lot of time for fancy effects and the like.

Ever since I laid into Congressional Republicans on Friday for deliberately sabotaging the funding program for the ACA's CO-OP Risk Corridor program last December, several people have correctly pointed out that, while having federal funds cut for this program cut off was certainly a major factor in at least one of the CO-OPs going under (the Kentucky Health CO-OP), there was a different policy change--made nearly 2 years ago--which may also contributed to their financial woes (and which may have played a role in some of the other 4 CO-OPs which fell apart prior to the risk corridor debacle hitting home a week or so ago).

I've said before that there are a few areas of the ACA which I simply don't consider myself knowledgable enough about to try and explain to others in depth. One of these is the so-called "Cadillac Tax" on high-end employer sponsored insurance policies. The other (well 3 others, really) are the "3R" programs which were set up to try and smooth out the transition period for insurance carriers for the first few years. The "3 R's" are "Risk Adjustment", "Reinsurrance" and "Risk Corridors".

Since I don't know much about them, here's a quick explainer from the Commonwealth Fund. A summary version is below:

Risk adjustment is a process that deters insurance plans from trying to attract healthy enrollees (“cherry picking”), and protects companies that may—by chance or because of their particular benefits—attract sicker than average customers (“adverse risk selection”). Though the Affordable Care Act bans carriers from turning people down or charging them more based on their health, the incentive to attract healthier enrollees remains because healthier customers increase profits by reducing companies’ payouts.