Obama Acknowledges Possible ‘Glitches’ in ACA Implementation
Obama Addresses ACA Implementation Concerns
Obama sought to alleviate concerns that the ACA would disrupt coverage or lead to higher premiums for those who already have insurance. He noted that some key provisions already have taken effect, including a rule allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance plans and a requirement for insurers to offer no-cost preventive care (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 4/30).
He said future "implementation issues" will affect only a "small group of people, 10% to 15%, of Americans ... who don't have health insurance right now, or are on the individual market and are paying exorbitant amounts for coverage that isn't great."
When asked about Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) recent comment that the ACA could become "a huge train wreck" if U.S. residents are not adequately informed about the law, Obama said, "The main message I want to give to the American people here is -- despite all the hue and cry and 'sky is falling' predictions about this stuff -- if you've already got health insurance, then that part of Obamacare that affects you, it's pretty much already in place" (Pear, New York Times, 4/30).
Obama acknowledged that there would be some "glitches and bumps" as the administration moves forward with implementation. However, he added "[t]hat's pretty much true of every government program that's ever been set up" (Carey, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 4/30).
Obama Says Administration Pushing Hard on Exchanges; Extends Insurer Deadline
Obama noted that implementing the law's health insurance exchanges "is still a big, complicated piece of business," Modern Healthcare reports (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 4/30).
Obama criticized some governors' decisions to not create exchanges in their states, saying "it puts more of a burden on us" (Heavey, Reuters, 4/30). He added that the governors' resistance is "ironic, since all these folks say they believe in empowering states" (Baker , "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/30).
Despite those obstacles, Obama said his administration is "pushing very hard to make sure we are hitting all the deadlines and benchmarks." He cited the Tuesday release of a simplified ACA application form, which was scaled down from a 21-page draft to three pages (Modern Healthcare, 4/30).
Meanwhile, HHS on Tuesday announced that it would extend by three days the deadline for insurers to submit applications to sell policies in federally run exchanges, which are scheduled to begin enrollment on Oct. 1 (Humer, Reuters, 4/30).
Republicans Criticize Obama Over 'Glitches' Comment
Members of the National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday were quick to criticize Obama's remarks, linking them to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll that showed public opinion of the ACA has declined, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
In a statement, NRCC officials said that Obama's comments are "an interesting perspective from President Obama on what's in store for Americans with the implementation of Obamacare" (Baker , "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/30).
Washington Post Fact Checks Obama's Comments
Obama's claim that individuals who already have coverage "don't have to worry about anything else" fails to consider other potential effects of the law, the Washington Post's "Fact Checker" reports.
According to "Fact Checker," many of the law's new taxes, including those on higher-income Medicare beneficiaries, will take effect this year.
The Medicare actuary also has warned that beneficiaries' access to care could be disrupted because of the sharp cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates, which could force 15% of Medicare hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies to exit the program or close by 2019.
In addition, there is rising concern that workers could see their hours reduced from full-time to part-time as employers try to avoid the law's requirements.
Obama also suggested problems with implementation would affect only those with no insurance and those with bad insurance policies. However, "Fact Checker" notes that several reports and studies have suggested about 10 million individuals outside of those groups could lose their current coverage (Kessler, "Fact Checker," Washington Post, 5/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.