Friday, December 23, 2011

Sebelius' Masterful Muddle

Sebelius' Masterful Muddle

Samuleson writing the SecHHS punts on the Uniform Health Benefits Package under ObamaCare and leaves it to the States to define.
Some background: The ACA requires all Americans to have health insurance. But what's acceptable insurance? Under Section 1302 of the ACA, the secretary of HHS is supposed to answer that question. It's a fateful decision. By 2016, an estimated 35 million uninsured Americans will receive subsidized health insurance under the ACA through Medicaid or from policies purchased on state "exchanges," according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The package of essential health benefits would apply directly to their coverage. It would also apply to unsubsidized beneficiaries receiving coverage in the individual and small group insurance markets (small group usually means firms of less than 100 workers). All told, about 73 million Americans would be affected, estimates the Kaiser.


Defining essential health benefits poses a basic conflict. On one hand, everyone wants broad coverage; on the other, the broader the coverage, the more expensive policies will be -- pushing government spending up (because government pays for the subsidies) and wages down (because employers will shift compensation from wages to fringe benefits).
Pay attention to your State's Legislature with jurisdiction on this one because I anticipate most of our Churches will find themselves putting staff into Medicaid.

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