Health Insurance Info for Colorado

news & commentary on health insurance and benefits

Obamacare implementation moves forward in 2012

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2012 will be a landmark year in the life of The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, as the federal regulatory apparatus continues it’s torturous development of various aspects of the legislation and HHS builds out the infrastructure of the program, in spite of the constitutional challenge brought by more than two dozen states attorney generals, scheduled for oral argument in April by the Supreme Court of the United States. Battle lines continue to be drawn between pro and con advocates of the sweeping legislation, with California being the latest to submit an Amicus Brief in support of health care reform (not surprising, given the lay of the political landscape in California).

Here are some key dates this year in the implementation of this massive expansion of the welfare state:

Jan/Feb. 2012 – HHS awards grants totaling $3.4 billion to Consumer Oriented and Operated Plans (CO-OPs) for startup costs in order to meet state solvency requirements. These programs, which are essentially non-profit collectives with a high degree of default risk, are essentially being seeded and grown with federal taxpayer dollars and will surely undermine private, for-profit health care organization. HHS admits that these organizations may lose $1 billion of more. Sounds like Solyndra to me.

Spring 2012 – “Essential Health Benefits” regulation expected. This regulation will tell us what benefits will be required for all plans, rather than current state regulations or oversight. Expect health care premiums to increase with the publication of these regs, since there will be little effort to constrain what will be required for essential benefits (well, unless you are a senior on Medicare, of course).

March 26-28, 2012 – The Supreme Court of the United States hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Court has scheduled three days of oral arguments, almost unprecedented in the modern era. (The final day of Supreme Court’s 2011-2012 session is June 25th, 2012 – media reports suggest that a decision on Obamacare’s constitutionality is expected within a week or two before this date.)

June 29, 2012 – Deadline for States to apply for federal grants to implement Health Insurance Exchanges. Colorado has accepted federal grant money to develop it’s exchange, discussed here.

November 6, 2012 – For those who aren’t in favor of letting the Supreme Court legislate from the bench, or strike down only parts of Obamacare rather than extinguish it all based on it’s lack of a severability clause, this is the most important day of the year: Federal Election Day.


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