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ACA 2016

Not the greatest news:


The moves by UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, have drawn attention for what they could indicate about the sustainability of ObamaCare as a whole.  

The Obama administration has downplayed the importance of UnitedHealth, saying the insurer is a fairly small player in the marketplaces, with about 6 percent of all enrollees. The insurer’s coverage was often not priced competitively, officials have said.


I don't pretend to have high end accounting knowledge but about UnitedHealth bitching about losing money....

this is dated 4-19-2016 :

Health insurer UnitedHealth reports higher profit

Health insurer UnitedHealth reported a better-than-expected quarterly revenue helped by strength in its Optum business which offers healthcare services and drug benefit plans.

Optum revenues grew 54 percent to $19.7 billion. Revenue from Optum's pharmacy division rose 72 percent, the company said on Tuesday.

Net earnings attributable to the company's shareholders rose to $1.61 billion, or $1.67 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.41 billion or $1.46 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis the health insurer earned $1.81 per share.

Revenue rose to $44.53 billion from $35.76 billion, beating analysts' average estimate of $43.96 billion.

The company now expects 2016 adjusted net earnings of $7.75-$7.95 per share, up 15 cents per share from its previous estimate. The increase is due to changes in the expected income tax rate, the company said.


The nation’s largest health insurer saw a 19% drop in fourth-quarter profit in 2015 after lamenting financial hits on Obamacare insurance exchanges — but it still ended the year exceeding analysts’ expectations.

UnitedHealth (UNH) posted fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday of $1.22 billion, compared with $1.51 billion in the last three months of the previous year. Total revenue in the fourth quarter hit $43.6 billion, up 30% from the previous year’s fourth quarter.


Oh, darn....they only made $1.2B instead of $1.5B.....fuck them.


Not that I didn't already know this but, wow, what an asshole....

John Stossel Uses Lung Cancer Diagnosis To Rain Haterade On US Health Care System


Interesting developments in Colorado regarding the possibility of a single payer system and the Democrats looking to squash that:


A number of other Democratic firms have signed up to help defeat single payer, too. Hilltop Public Solutions, a firm managed by former campaign staffers to Barack Obama, was paid $45,000 by the group. Hilltop has also provided consulting services to Ready PAC, another Clinton-supporting Super PAC that eventually folded into the Clinton campaign.

The Supreme Court was split on this ACA contraception case:


The justices asked lower courts to take another look at the issue in a search for a compromise, issuing an unsigned, unanimous opinion. The case concerns the administration’s arrangement for sparing faith-based groups from having to pay for birth control for women covered under their health plans.

UnitedHealth is leaving California's ACA market as well:


Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post

UnitedHealth is leaving California's ACA market as well:

See my post above about the state of Unitied Health's's all about greed/profit.


That mythical health plan Republicans have been talking about for over five years?  Well, they finally sort of released something:;smtyp=cur


Many of the ideas — for “health savings accounts,” “high-risk pools” and sales of insurance across state lines — are familiar. Democrats in and out of Congress have for weeks been rehearsing their lines of attack.

Others are sure to be contentious. House Republicans would gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare, which is now 65. Starting in 2020, the Medicare age would rise along with the eligibility age for full Social Security benefits, eventually reaching 67.

Following Mr. Ryan’s budget plans of recent years, the health proposal would transform Medicare into “a fully competitive market-based model known as premium support.” The traditional fee-for-service Medicare program would compete directly with private plans offered by companies like UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana.

In their blueprint, to be formally unveiled on Wednesday, House Republicans say they would eliminate the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance. They would offer a flat tax credit to each person or family in the individual insurance market, regardless of income or the premium for a particular insurance policy.

House Republicans also said they would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and give each state a fixed amount of money for each beneficiary or a lump sum of federal money for all of a state’s Medicaid program.

In addition, House Republicans would allow states to establish work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid, requirements that the Obama administration has refused to permit. Under the House Republican plan, states could also “charge reasonable enforceable premiums or offer a limited benefit package” and use “waiting lists and enrollment caps” for certain groups of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Using these options and others proposed by House Republicans, states could profoundly reshape the Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to more than 70 million people at a federal cost of more than $350 billion a year.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Affordable Care Act will cost less money than initially projected:


Expanding health insurance coverage to millions of Americans was bound to increase overall spending. After the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, the actuaries for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projected that, as the economy recovered, the historically low growth in health spending would return to higher levels, reaching $4.6 trillion by 2019. But in the intervening years, the annual expenditure increases have been more modest than expected, and the new estimate from the Urban Institute suggests national health spending is on to track reach $4 trillion by 2019.

"When CMS originally made those projections, they really thought the slowdown in health-care spending [growth] was mostly due to the recession, and afterward we'd see a return to the higher rates of spending growth — and that didn't really happen," said Katherine Hempstead, a senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the new study by the Urban Institute.

Looking forward, the study's authors also point to recent evidence that a 2014 uptick in health spending that had seemed to signal a return to higher growth may have been temporary. If slower growth persists, they argue that it will become harder to argue that it is just the economy and not the cost containment policies enabled by the Affordable Care Act that are tempering spending.

Hempstead said it's becoming increasingly plausible that the federal policies included in the Affordable Care Act — and its ripple effects as programs implemented within Medicare influence the private market — are having a tempering effect.


I hate to follow up good news with bad, but...


Connecticut's financially "unstable" Obamacare health-insurance co-op was placed under state supervision on Tuesday, as regulators said 40,000 people covered by the company will ultimately have to find new plans for the coming year.

HealthyCT is the 14th of 23 original Obamacare co-ops to fail since they began selling health plans on government-run Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges. Several of the other remaining co-ops, at least, are believed to be on shaky financial ground.


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