Annals of ObamaCare: Restaurant hiring increased since the bill passed

July 30, 2013

Watch the charts, get the facts.  Obamacare is working well.

First, let’s look at the food service industry.  Hoaxsters claim that restaurants are cutting hours of employees and refusing to hire, to avoid the law. Not so.

Growth in restaurant employment and sales since Affordable Care Act was signed into law

Growth in restaurant employment and sales since Affordable Care Act was signed into law

So food service establishments — restaurants — have experienced sales and employment growth as has the rest of the economy during the Obama administration.  What about employees?  Are restaurants cutting back their hours to avoid providing benefits to employees?  Evidence suggests the opposite:  Hours worked per employee are increasing.  Go to the chart:

Average weekly hours worked in restaurants, per employee, since the Affordable Care Act became law

Average weekly hours worked in restaurants, per employee, since the Affordable Care Act became law

These are the official figures from the White House.  More [links added here]:

During the four years since the recession ended in June 2009, 87% of the increase in employment has been due to a rise in the number of workers in full-time jobs. And looking at the period since ACA was signed in March 2010, more than 90% of the rise in employment has been due to workers in full-time jobs. Moreover, the length of the average workweek for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees has returned to its level at the start of the Great Recession.

And while the number of involuntary part-time workers has declined roughly in line with previous recoveries, it spiked up 322,000 in June. However, nearly 30 percent of the June increase was due to federal employees. This suggests that furloughs contributed to the pickup in part-time employment.

These observations strongly suggest that the Affordable Care Act has not constrained growth in hiring or work hours. So what is the ACA doing? It’s slowing the growth rate of health care costs for consumers, creating new incentives for providers to raise the quality of care, and adding new transparency and accountability in the insurance marketplace—all steps that help the economy.

ObamaCare is working — the Affordable Care Act has provided cheaper health care, much broader insurance coverage, better health — and seems to be stimulating industry, too.

More:

 


Got questions about ObamaCare? Check out this site

June 24, 2013

I get e-mail; this one may prove useful to more than a few people, especially anyone who owns a small business and has questions about how ObamaCare — the Affordable Care Act — will affect your taxes, your hiring, your expenses, etc.:

The White House, Washington

Hi, all —

In fewer than 100 days, the new health care reform law takes an important step forward. On October 1, 2013, Health Insurance Marketplaces will open in every state, and millions of Americans will be eligible to apply for coverage. Between now and then, we’re sure that lots of people will be looking for information about the upcoming changes.

That’s why we revamped HealthCare.gov.

On the updated site, you’ll be able to get a personalized list of coverage options, tailored to your situation, and a checklist to help prepare for October 1. You’ll find a rich set of answers to frequently asked questions, powerful search features to help you find the specific information you need, and two great ways to talk to customer service representatives, 24/7: a new 1-800 number (1-800-318-2596) and online chat.

When open enrollment starts on October 1, 2013, you’ll be able to use the site to compare various health care plans side by side to find a plan that fits your life and your budget. You’ll even be able to use HealthCare.gov to apply for coverage or be directed to your own state’s application portal.

We hope you’ll use the site to get answers to your questions about the health care law — and forward this email to your friends so they can do the same.

Thanks!

Tara

Tara McGuinness
Senior Communications Advisor
The White House

P.S. — Have questions about what else you can expect from health care reform? Click here for a timeline of the key features of the Affordable Care Act.

Visit WhiteHouse.gov

[My e-mail address cut out ]

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

Several people I’ve run into have questions about the program — some of the questions are serious, and difficult for me to answer, and some are silly (“Why do I have to give up my insurance now?” Answer:  You don’t.)  There’s a great need for answers.  Distortions of the plan from the nasty political fights involved, have taken hold in the mind of many as representations of what the plan weill do.

Go try the site.  Does it answer your questions?  What questions do you have that are not answered by this site?

More:

Screenshot of HealthCare.gov. Click to visit the site.

Screenshot of HealthCare.gov. Click to visit the site.


Activist Supreme Court?

June 25, 2012

Today’s the day, most likely, the Supreme Court will announce the results of the legal challenges to what has come to be called ObamaCare.

English: West face of the United States Suprem...

West face of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a twist of fate, conservatives are praying for an activist court to go against precedent, and strike the plan down.  They hope that will improve their chances of getting into the driver’s seat of federal government again in November, because a fiscal ditch is looming and they find the temptation too strong to resist.

Ezra Klein’s Wonkbook noted:

Most legal scholars think the mandate is constitutional, but few are confident it will be upheld. ”The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years. Only eight of them predicted the court would do so…Five of the 21 professors who responded, including Whitman, said the court is likely to strike down the coverage requirement. Underscoring the high stakes and complexity of the debate, eight described the outcome as a toss-up..” Bob Drummond in Bloomberg.

Klein’s post is titled “Everything you need to know about health care and SCOTUS in one post.”  He covers the waterfront — you should read it.

Interesting day.  I’ll be traveling.


More good news about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): CBO says it will save money

March 22, 2012

President Barack Obama's signature on the heal...

President Barack Obama's signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. CBO projections in March 2012 indicate savings under the bill will increase beyond earlier projections, offsetting increased costs from continuing economics woes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember, without the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. was experiencing health care cost inflation of about 15%annually.

You might not know it if you read conservative blogs, watch Fox News, or listen to the Republican candidates for president — all of whom seem to have their fact panties on wrong — but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the bill will reduce federal spending, still, even after accounting for recent changes in law and changes in the economy that will increase costs of the bill’s provisions.

Yeah, Obamacare saves money.

The new law will  not eliminate the problem of people not having insurance coverage to guarantee access to health care, a sad result of Republican efforts to cut the bill’s effectiveness.  But it’s a great first step to making America better, healthier, and economically more sound.  Here’s the blog post from the CBO discussing the bill, and CBO’s continuing studies of the effects of the law:

CBO Releases Updated Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

March 13, 2012

In preparing the March 2012 baseline budget projections, CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have updated estimates of the budgetary effects of the health insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—the health care legislation enacted in March 2010. Those provisions:

  • Establish a mandate for most legal residents of the United States to obtain health insurance;
  • Create insurance “exchanges” through which certain individuals and families may receive federal subsidies to substantially reduce the cost of purchasing health insurance;
  • Significantly expand eligibility for Medicaid;
  • Impose an excise tax on certain health insurance plans with relatively high premiums;
  • Establish penalties on certain employers who do not provide minimum health benefits to their employees; and
  • Make other changes to prior law.

The most recent previous estimate of those effects was prepared in March 2011. For more details on the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA, you can see CBO’s cost estimate for the health care legislation, which was issued in March 2010.

The Estimated Net Cost of the Insurance Coverage Provisions Is Smaller Than Estimated in March 2011

CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012-2021 period-about $50 billion less than the agencies’ March 2011 estimate for that 10-year period. (For comparison with previous estimates, these numbers cover the 2012-2021 period; estimates including 2022 can be found below.)

The net costs–specifically the combined effects on federal revenues and mandatory spending–reflect:

  • Gross additional costs of $1.5 trillion for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), tax credits and other subsidies for the purchase of health insurance through the newly established exchanges and related costs, and tax credits for small employers,
  • Offset in part by about $0.4 trillion in receipts from penalty payments, the new excise tax on high-premium insurance plans, and other budgetary effects (mostly increases in tax revenues).

Those amounts do not encompass all of the budgetary impacts of the ACA. They do not include federal administrative costs, which will be subject to future appropriation action. Also, they do not include the effects of the many other provisions of the law, including some that will cause significant reductions in Medicare spending relative to that under prior law and others that will generate added tax revenues relative those under prior law.

CBO and JCT have previously estimated that the ACA will, on net, reduce budget deficits over the 2012-2021 period; that estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA has not been updated.

Gross Costs Are Higher, but Offsetting Budgetary Effects Are Also Higher

The current estimate of the gross costs of the coverage provisions—$1,496 billion through 2021—is about $50 billion higher than last year’s projection; however, the other budgetary effects of those provisions, which partially offset those gross costs, also have increased in CBO’s and JCT’s estimates—to $413 billion—leading to the small decrease in the net 10-year tally.

Over the 10-year period from 2012 through 2021, enactment of the coverage provisions of the ACA was projected last March to increase federal deficits by $1,131 billion, whereas the March 2012 estimate indicates that those provisions will increase deficits by $1,083 billion.

The net cost was boosted by:

  • An additional $168 billion in estimated costs for Medicaid and CHIP, and
  • $8 billion less in estimated revenues from the excise tax on certain high-premium health insurance plans.

But those increases were more than offset by a reduction of:

  • $97 billion in the projected costs for the tax credits and other subsidies for health insurance provided through the exchanges and related spending
  • $20 billion in the projected costs for tax credits for small employers, and
  • $107 billion in deficits from the projected revenue effects of changes in taxable compensation and penalty payments and from other small changes in estimated spending.

The Revisions in Estimates Reflect Legislative, Economic, and Technical Changes

The major sources for the differences between the March 2011 and March 2012 projections are the following:

  • New Legislation. Several laws were enacted during the past year that changed the estimated budgetary effects of the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA.
  • Changes in the Economic Outlook. The March 2012 baseline incorporates CBO’s macroeconomic forecast published in January 2012, which reflects a slower recovery when compared with the forecast published in January 2011 (which was used in producing the March 2011 baseline).
  • Technical Changes. The March 2012 baseline incorporates updated projections of the growth in private health insurance premiums, reflecting slower growth than the previous projections. In addition, CBO and JCT made a number of other technical changes in their estimating procedures.

The Number of the Nonelderly Uninsured Is Higher Than Previously Estimated

CBO and JCT’s projections of health insurance coverage have changed since last March. Fewer people are now expected to obtain health insurance coverage from their employer or in insurance exchanges; more are now expected to obtain coverage from Medicaid or CHIP or from nongroup or other sources. More are expected to be uninsured. The extent of the change in insurance coverage varies from year to year.

Compared with prior law, the ACA is now estimated by CBO and JCT to reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 30 million to 33 million in 2016 and subsequent years, leaving 26 million to 27 million nonelderly residents uninsured in those years (see Table 3 at the end of the report). The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance is projected to rise from 82 percent in 2012 to 93 percent in 2016 and subsequent years. That share rose to 95 percent in CBO and JCT’s previous estimate.

According to the current estimates, from 2016 on, between 20 million and 23 million people will receive coverage through the new insurance exchanges, and 16 million to 17 million additional people will be enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as a result of ACA. Also, 3 million to 5 million fewer people will have coverage through an employer compared with the number under prior law

Estimates Through Fiscal Year 2022

This report also presents estimates through fiscal year 2022, because the baseline projection period now extends through that additional year. The ACA’s provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012-2022 period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762 billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources).

The addition of 2022 to the projection period has the effect of increasing the costs of the coverage provisions of the ACA relative to those projected in March 2011 for the 2012-2021 period because that change adds a year in which the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies for health insurance purchased through the exchanges will be in effect. CBO and JCT have not estimated the budgetary effects in 2022 of the other provisions of the ACA; over the 2012-2021 period, those other provisions were previously estimated to reduce budget deficits.

If we could get another stimulus program to goose the economy into quicker recovery, the cost savings would likely grow much faster.  What conservative budget chopper wouldn’t prefer that solution?

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House Español: Barack Obama firmando la Ley de Protección al Paciente y Cuidado de Salud Asequible en la Casa Blanca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How did your favorite media outlets report the CBO cost projections?

More, Resources (with help from Zemanta and WordPress):


No health insurance: Can you look this man in the eye and tell him you want to let him die?

November 29, 2009

Our National Conscience, Nicholas Kristof asked the question in his column a week ago:  Are we going to let John die?

45,000 Americans die each year because of a lack of health insurance.  What do you think:  Should we allow John to die?

Which system saves John’s life, “socialism,” or “free enterprise?”

Here, you can help:

UPDATE: Several readers have asked how they can help or if there is a fund to help John. There isn’t any such fund, but with John and Esther’s permission I’m posting their mailing address: John and Esther Brodniak, 770 W Main St., Sheridan, OR 97378.

Check Kristof’s blog for more details, and nearly 400 comments.

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End the hoaxes, part 2a: Great need for health care reform, Flagler County Free Clinic

August 21, 2009

Health care professionals and legislators struggled with the need for reform of health care for the past 40+ years.  Tweaking of specific, small parts produced no great reduction in health care cost inflation.  More millions of people fall out of the pool of people who have access to health care in a timely and affordable way.

And yet people claim not to see the need?

Faith Coleman of Flagler County Free Clinic: Faith Colemans ordeal as an uninsured cancer patient drove her to help others without health insurance. (CNN Image)

Faith Coleman of Flagler County Free Clinic: "Faith Coleman's ordeal as an uninsured cancer patient drove her to help others without health insurance." (CNN Image)

Meet Faith Coleman.  She was a young nurse, delivering health care for many different employers, when she was struck with kidney cancer.  Since she worked part time for so many, no one offered her health insurance as an employee.

Faith Coleman could mortgage her home for the $35,000 to save her life.

Her cancer is in remission.

But she then organized health providers in her town to take care of others in her situation.  Week in and week out, more than a hundred people show up to her essentially free clinic, trying to crawl out of the cracks in the health care delivery floor.  CNN featured the story.

I have been given another chance, and I felt that it was important for me to make a difference and to help other people,” she said.

So after her recovery in 2004, Coleman approached Dr. John Canakaris. The local physician with 60 years of experience had been treating the indigent population for years. Canakaris was eager to reach more patients in need.

The two worked together to establish the Flagler County Free Clinic in Bunnell, Florida, which provides medical care for the uninsured. It has treated more than 6,700 patients.

The clinic opened its doors in February 2005, with eight volunteers treating eight patients. Since then, it has expanded to 120 volunteers who see about 80 patients every other weekend. Coleman said she’s seen an increase in the number of patients at the clinic, which serves people who meet federal poverty guidelines.

Go read the story, look at the videos, and help out where you can.

One sure-fire way you can help:  Stand up for health care reform. We need it now.  In Texas, each person with health care insurance pays $1,800 a year to mend the holes in the safety net — we need to reduce that cost (for my family, that’s $7,200/year).

Stand up for health care reform now, and stand against the hoaxes claiming we have no need, or that expanded programs won’t help.


Geographical lottery: Gambling with health care

August 4, 2009

Is it true that kids can’t get insured in Texas if their parents have two vehicles?  I mean, this is Texas, the anti-mass transit state — how can you get a kid to the emergency room for the high-cost health care if you don’t have two cars, one for work, one for the family?

Children’s Defense Fund will help you contact your legislators to recommend improving health care for children.

How is the insurance weather where you are? Share the news:

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