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THE NATURAL
obamacare problem
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YASSIR ‘N HE BE MAKIN’ ME NATURALLY SICK

Don’t believe the media. Obamacare is already adding to the unemployment rolls.

spectator.org/people/david-catron

Commenting on the mainstream media of his day, Thomas Jefferson famously observed that "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." Coming from the Sage of Monticello, whose credentials as an advocate of the free press were pretty darned solid, this is an arresting statement. And it is evident that the news business has changed little during the two centuries that have come and gone since he penned that uncivil passage. Even if one ignores the "reporting" perpetrated by the New York Times and other leading lights of journalism in the wake of the Tucson shooting, the continuing relevance of Jefferson’s comment can be verified by perusing the stories appearing in most prominent publications about the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare .

The new House majority incurred the wrath of the media by refusing to change the name of the repeal bill and ignoring their calls to "wait a bit longer" before bringing it up for a vote. In fact, the Republicans had the temerity to give the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" pride of place in their vote schedule. This affront has inspired a spate of "news" stories claiming that the GOP has misled the public concerning Obamacare’s effect on unemployment. The Republicans have, according to these articles, misrepresented a CBO report that suggests the new law will eliminate 650,000 jobs. A typical example is an AP "fact check" piece that includes this priceless quote from economist Paul Fronstin: "CBO isn’t saying that there is job loss as much as they are saying that fewer people will be working."

The irony of such verbal contortions is that they would be unconvincing even if they were not self-refuting. It isn’t necessary to invoke the CBO to demonstrate that Obamacare is a job killer. The ink was hardly dry on the new law when the layoffs began at the small insurance companies. Last year, HealthMarkets announced its plan to eliminate 250 jobs pursuant to "national healthcare reform." Likewise, Principal Financial Group said it would get out of the health insurance business and lay off 1,500 workers due to "the shadow of a lot of regulatory matters." The darkest of these regulatory shadows is Obamacare ‘s requirement that health carriers spend 80% of premiums on medical care. This mandate will drive many other carriers out of the market as well, and kill the jobs of anyone working in their health divisions.

The job losses have by no means been limited to health insurance companies. The actual providers of health care, including community hospitals, are beginning to eliminate jobs. Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, has had to cut nearly 50 jobs because Obamacare "has already started to cut reimbursement rates to hospitals across the region and the country and we expect that reality to get worse moving forward." Another small hospital, in Leominster, Massachusetts, will eliminate about 50 positions. The spokesman for that institution said the cuts were made necessary by "health care reform, with its reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements." Yakima Valley Memorial, in the state of Washington, will also cut 70 to 100 jobs because "Under federal health care reform, Memorial must reduce its expenses."

In addition to the jobs it will destroy in the insurance and hospital industries, Obamacare ‘s new taxes will kill countless jobs in the medical device industry. The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council estimates that about 90 percent of member firms will be forced to "cut back on operational costs — and jobs — after [Obamacare ‘s] 2.3 percent tax on their products is implemented in 2013." And, lest you fall into the error of thinking that "reform" will bring enough new customers to offset the increased tax burden, 42 percent of the affected firms have indicated that Obamacare will not increase their business. The others are no doubt hoping that at least one of the promises made on behalf of Obamacare will actually be fulfilled. Inevitably, however, this addition to their cost of doing business will add to the unemployment rolls.

If you believe that all this carnage will somehow render health care more "efficient," as many progressive policy wonks have claimed, remember that reform-induced job losses will not be limited to the health care industry. As health care economist John Goodman points out, the various mandates imposed by Obamacare will effectively raise the cost of labor across the economy. He estimates that they will add ".28 an hour for full time workers (individual coverage) and .89 an hour (family coverage) for fulltime employees." Many businesses simply cannot absorb such increases without cutting labor costs. This is why we have heard so many cris de coeur from low-margin employers like White Castle, which says the financial hit "will make it hard for the company to maintain its 421 restaurants, let alone create new jobs."

And the government cannot simply "waiver" this problem away. Thus far, the Obama administration has issued get-out-of-jail-free cards to well over 200 employers and unions that screamed bloody murder when they realized how much devastation Obamacare will wreak on their operations. These waivers don’t cure the disease. They merely treat its symptoms. Even worse, they will eventually draw U.S. health care into an increasingly corrupt, Chicago-style political spoils system. Because these waivers are issued at the pleasure of the HHS Secretary, it is inevitable that the companies and unions with the most political power (i.e. those which have made the largest cash donations to the Democrats) will be given special dispensations. Less affluent employers will be forced to save money by cutting their labor costs.

None of the "reporters" peddling the CBO meme have shown any interest in the job losses already caused by Obamacare . They prefer to focus on the wickedness of the Republicans. As Paul Krugman phrases it, "The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe… it will be ‘job-killing’ (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do." This is the sort of dishonesty that prompted Jefferson to augment the above-quoted criticism of the Fourth Estate with the following: "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." Were he with us today, he would no doubt include broadcast media and many Internet outlets in this indictment.

spectator.org/

RISARC CEO Richard Stephenson predicts rapid improvements in collaboration and healthcare as U.S. providers and payers adopt advanced IT systems under Obamacare.


Burbank, California (PRWEB) April 30, 2014

Richard Stephenson, Founder and CEO of RISARC, a leading national high-technology and revenue recovery consulting firm to the health care industry, predicts that the advanced IT improvements mandated by federal health care laws will dramatically improve collaboration between payers and providers.

Seamless connectivity

Said Stephenson: “The dream has always been for seamless connectivity between those who deliver healthcare services and those systems and plans that pay providers and payers alike.” Stephenson noted that federal legislative and regulatory incentives now make the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) accessible for virtually all healthcare stakeholders participating in federally-subsidized insurance plans – and that the fluid integration of these systems is “advancing at encouraging rates.”

Better rates, better access

Said Stephenson: “The promise of EHR is ultimately to reduce the cost of healthcare and give patients better rates while also giving them easier access to quality and value. Projects and field reports from those in the healthcare industry, which include some of the largest and most innovative providers and payers in the country, confirm that this goal is achievable. The enrollment success of Obamacare which included a healthy segment of 30 and under individuals, known as the ‘invincible Millennial’ generation will be helpful in that transition.”

Stephenson reports that the transformation of physician attitudes has been remarkable. Said Stephenson: “Doctors in America are moving to systems that seamlessly link them with providers and payers and offer more uniformity in electronically recording and reporting patient activity. The result is they are able to reduce costly administrative and staffing burdens.”

Meaningful analysis

According to Stephenson, uniform reporting also means that meaningful treatment analysis can be instantly made across hundreds, even thousands of cases, whether the results are kept in a HIPAA-protected external “cloud” or inside the centralized computers that record outcomes and costs.

Said Stephenson: “Reliable analytics that truly understand how the health of the community as a whole can be improved – and where the costs for protecting community health can be reduced are essential. Through improved payer/ provider engagement and optimized communications the goal for achieving better patient care and population management is within reach.”

About RISARC

RISARC is a leading national high-technology and revenue recovery consulting firm to the health care industry. RISARC, founded in 1990, has recovered over $ 1 billion for its clients. The company offers the RMSe-bubble™ for secure electronic document exchange and the signature RISARC 360° single-source solution that combines health care revenue cycle expertise with innovative cloud-based, cost-saving technology to help clients optimize existing resources, meet business objectives and reach financial goals. RISARC is a pioneer in health care technology solutions and is a certified Health Information Handler for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, esMD project. The RMSe-bubble provides the industry’s best secure, HIPAA-compliant environment for electronic record and document exchange and has been endorsed and accepted by providers, commercial insurance carriers and government agencies across the United States.

Please visit us at http://www.risarc.com for additional information.







April 23 Webinar Will Provide Analysis, Strategies for the Final CMS 2015 Pay Notice and Call Letter

Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 15, 2014

The final 2015 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D pay notice and Call Letter, issued by CMS earlier this month, contains good news but also a host of changes that plans were not expecting. There is a lot of uncertainty, since the impact of many of the changes in the final notice will vary dramatically depending on the particular counties served by the MA plans. On April 23, participants of the Atlantic Information Services webinar, “Final CMS 2015 Pay Notice and Call Letter: Implications and Strategies for MA and Part D,” will learn the implications of CMS’s final 2015 documents and the strategies MA and Part D plans should consider as a result.

William MacBain, senior vice president of strategy at Gorman Health Group, LLC, and Tim Courtney, senior consulting actuary at Wakely Consulting Group, will analyze the final notice and Call Letter, and translate it into steps and strategies organizations should consider for the rapidly approaching bids deadline and beyond. In a lively 60-minute presentation, followed by 30 minutes of responses to individual questions, participants will get reliable answers to questions such as:


What will be the range of the final “all in” 2015 pay change for MA plans? On what will the impact on a particular MA plan depend?
How can MA plans determine the effect of the new reduction in the fee-for-service normalization factor in each of your plan’s service areas?
What will be the impact of CMS’s unprecedented decision to retreat from the phase-in of its new MA risk adjustment system? Why did it do that?
Why did CMS decide to delay its controversial rule limiting the use of home health risk assessments for pay-related diagnosis purposes? What might the agency wind up doing, and when?
How can plans offset declining pay for 2015 if CMS is limiting the maximum increase in Total Beneficiary Cost to less than is permissible for 2014?
How will new restrictions, including possible midyear special enrollment periods, on mass terminations of providers by MA plans affect plan strategies?
What will be the impact of CMS’s decision to delay implementation of the new Part D risk adjustment model?
What information are Part D plans still missing regarding preferred pharmacy cost sharing, and how should they prepare bids until they get it?

Visit http://aishealth.com/marketplace/c4a19_042314 for more details and registration information.

About AIS

Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is a publishing and information company that has been serving the health care industry for more than 25 years. It develops highly targeted news, data and strategic information for managers in hospitals, health plans, medical group practices, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. AIS products include print and electronic newsletters, websites, looseleafs, books, strategic reports, databases, webinars and conferences. Learn more at http://www.AISHealth.com.