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News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Reserve rates stalled // Will classic launch save Blackberry? • Cavuto HeathWed, 17 Dec 2014 12:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOP 2016 Dilemma: Already dividing • Cavuto HeathWed, 17 Dec 2014 12:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShift in U.S./China Relations: Good deal for all parties? • Cavuto HeathWed, 17 Dec 2014 12:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOne News Now: Is the price paid for ObamaCare a good value?<p> <strong>Chris Woodward &nbsp; ( Wednesday, December 17, 2014</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Economic value is something that is getting lost in the equation when it comes to controversy and concerns over ObamaCare.</strong></p> <p> Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the&nbsp;<a href="">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</a>, says it&#39;s important to consider not just what people are getting in ObamaCare, but the value of the service based on the price they&#39;re paying.</p> <p> &quot;One of the hard things about measuring this, especially as individual consumers, is about 80 percent of the people who are enrolled in ObamaCare coverage through the exchanges have some kind of subsidy paid on their behalf to the insurance company,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p> &ldquo;When you take into account their unsubsidized premium and then you look at what kind of coverage they&#39;re getting, what kind of out-of-pocket cost they&#39;re left with, and the type of provider network that they&#39;re getting, then it&#39;s a question of value.&quot;</p> <p> Manning says it&#39;s very difficult for those consumers to actually gauge the value of the insurance they&rsquo;re paying for because one of the problems encountered before and after the passage of ObamaCare is transparency in healthcare.</p> <p> &quot;A lot of consumers don&#39;t know exactly what they&#39;re getting, they don&#39;t know what kind of network they&#39;re signing up for, and they don&#39;t know even what taxpayers are paying on their behalf so they can pay only a subsidized portion of their premiums,&quot; she says.&nbsp;</p> <p> Manning says at the end of the day, the goal of health reform should be to maximize efficiency so that every consumer gets the highest value for his or her healthcare dollars.</p> <p> &quot;And I think if we look critically at the world before ObamaCare, and the world after ObamaCare, value is something that is getting lost in the equation,&rdquo; she tells OneNewsNow.</p> <p> &ldquo;Too many people want to focus on just one metric [such as] how expensive it is or how many people are insured, but they&#39;re not paying attention to whether consumers are actually more satisfied. And that&#39;s a difficult evaluation to make as well, because every individual family consumer will have a different desire, preference and need when it comes to their insurance.&quot;</p> <p> Speaking of consumer satisfaction, a&nbsp;<a href="">Gallup poll</a>&nbsp;around the start of the current enrollment period (November 15) found 37 percent of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act. Another 56 percent disapprove.</p> HeathWed, 17 Dec 2014 09:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMedicaid Wrapped In An ObamaCare Bow<p> It&rsquo;s time to shop for Christmas gifts, and it&rsquo;s also time to shop for health insurance. It&rsquo;s open enrollment again for Obamacare, this time for 2015 coverage. Analysts will carefully count the new enrollments, and the number will become another talking point for proponents of the law who promised that it would significantly expand private health insurance coverage.</p> <p> Yet that&rsquo;s not how the law is shaping up in reality. Rather than helping those who lack insurance, the law&rsquo;s far greater impact has been to shift already-insured people into lower-quality, government-controlled health plans by massively expanding Medicaid (the dysfunctional insurance program meant for those with the lowest incomes) and by offering Obamacare plans through exchanges, which mimic the worst characteristics of the Medicaid program.</p> <p> Consider the numbers: In the first two quarters of 2014,&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:">6.1 million people were added to the Medicaid program</a>. Another net&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:">2.5 million people enrolled</a>&nbsp;in private health insurance during that time, but the new plans available in the Obamacare exchanges &ndash; while technically private &ndash; look and function more like Medicaid plans with limited networks, low physician reimbursement, and high public costs.</p> <p> A McKinsey and Co. study shows that&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:">70 percent</a>&nbsp;of Obamacare plans offer &ldquo;narrow&rdquo; or &ldquo;ultra-narrow&rdquo; networks. (Compared to&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:">23 percent</a>&nbsp;of large-group non-Obamacare plans.) This means that, because there are few providers available in these new plans, patients face significant barriers to actually receiving the care they need. They are technically insured, but face restricted access to care.</p> <p> This is direct result of Obamacare&rsquo;s requirements. Because the law requires that all insurance plans offer certain benefits, and because the law regulates how insurers can share costs with consumers, insurance companies have no way to cut costs other than on the back end, by limiting which providers are &ldquo;in-network&rdquo; and by reducing reimbursements to those providers.</p> <p> In a recent nationwide survey of doctors,&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link: null">23.5 percent</a>&nbsp;said that they would not accept Obamacare plans at all. While some doctors surveyed were never asked to participate in Obamacare plans (perhaps because of the narrow networks), others cited low and uncertain reimbursements as their main reason for avoiding Obamacare plans. These are the same reasons why many physicians have been avoiding the Medicaid program for years. Even if doctors choose to participate in Medicaid or Obamacare, they may cap the number of patients they accept in these plans, to protect themselves financially.</p> <p> &nbsp;&ldquo;The exchanges have become very much like Medicaid,&rdquo; said Andrew Kleinman, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, as quoted in&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:">USA Today</a>. Some health policy wonks have referred to these plans as &ldquo;<a href="" title="Link:">Medicaid Plus</a>.&rdquo;</p> <p> And like Medicaid, the Obamacare exchange plans come with enormous public costs. In fact, these two coverage-expanding provisions come with the highest price tags in the law: the federal government<a href="" title="Link:">expects to spend</a>&nbsp;$792 billion on the Medicaid expansion and about $1 trillion on the exchanges in the next 10 years.</p> <p> Medicaid participants do not pay a premium, and most exchange enrollees pay only part of theirs. Fully 86 percent of exchange enrollees pay subsidized rates.</p> <p> So essentially, Obamacare has added enormously to public health spending, and as a result, more people have lower-quality health plans. McKinsey and Co. also reports that&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link:">only 26 percent</a>&nbsp;of the 2014 exchange enrollments were of those who were previously uninsured.</p> <p> It didn&rsquo;t have to be this way. A far better method for expanding coverage would have been to directly subsidize the consumers who need it &ndash; rather than subsidizing the insurance companies who carry them &ndash; and then to allow those consumers to spend the subsidy on the insurance plan of their choice. There&rsquo;s no need for government-run exchanges, and there&rsquo;s no need for the federal government to promulgate onerous regulations and benefit mandates on all participating plans.</p> <p> Not surprisingly, this should be the solution in Medicaid too. Instead of a government-run insurance program, direct subsidies should be targeted at those who are truly unable to afford health care, so that they can take those dollars into a competitive market and buy high-quality insurance plans that don&rsquo;t limit their access to physicians.</p> <p> Instead of changing the private market to look more like a substandard government program, we should have gone in the opposite direction, encouraging reforms to Medicaid and our entire health care system to foster greater competition and choice, so that everyone has the opportunity to buy quality, affordable, reliable health coverage.&nbsp;</p> HeathMon, 15 Dec 2014 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRolling Stone & "Jackie": What issues does this story present? • The Independents HeathMon, 8 Dec 2014 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Covetousness Crisis<p> Thanksgiving is a beautiful American tradition centered on family, food, and of course, gratitude for our many blessings. It&#39;s good to take stock of the good things in our lives and to focus on what we have, rather than what we don&#39;t have.</p> <p> Obviously, we should carry this attitude with us everyday, not just on Thanksgiving. But the spirit of gratitude and contentedness is threatened by a moral failure that we rarely discuss: We have, in America today, a Covetousness Crisis.</p> <p> The Tenth Commandment, &quot;Thou Shalt Not Covet,&quot; often raises vocabulary questions in children&#39;s Sunday School classes. Killing, stealing, lying... those are pretty straightforward. But to covet, which means to &quot;yearn to possess,&quot; is a sin that we hear much less about.</p> <p> Perhaps it is less talked about because it is nearly omnipresent. Indeed, today we are saturated with covetousness. Of course, the goal of modern advertising is to inspire the desire to possess new things; so yes, consumerism and materialism fuel the natural human desire for more, newer, better things.</p> <p> But our covetousness crisis isn&#39;t just about material goods. With the advent and mass use of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media, we can now envy every experience of our neighbor, from the sushi she had last night to the love she (professedly) has for her spouse, to even her charitable support of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).</p> <p> And don&#39;t lie &ndash; you&#39;re guilty too. We have all, at least on occasions, presented our lives, online or otherwise, to paint the rosiest picture of our reality. This can inspire covetousness in others.</p> <p> There are at least two devastating effects of this covet-driven culture. One is personal and should be heart-breaking. Another may impact public policy.</p> <p> First, it robs us of our joy. There is already some evidence that looking at Facebook makes people depressed. Comparing ourselves to others (online or off) and coveting their lives makes us less capable of being satisfied with our own. Worse, it makes it difficult for us to truly celebrate blessings in the lives of others. She got a raise! He got married! They had a baby! These are wonderful things, but when they inspire pings of jealousy, we&#39;re living in (and participating in) a sad, depraved culture of envy and covetousness.</p> <p> Second, although there are many positive arguments in favor of online &quot;connectedness,&quot; the constant comparing and competing inspired by more (and selective) insight into the lives of others is fueling a widespread, covetousness-driven entitlement attitude that influences our public policies.</p> <p> Even if we don&#39;t know it, coveting the success and wealth of others is at the heart of economic redistribution. Of course, Americans have long supported social safety nets to provide for the indigent poor. But that&#39;s not what&#39;s at stake here.</p> <p> Today progressives disguise redistributive policies as aid for the poor, when in reality the goal is to create more equal outcomes for everyone, or parity in all aspects of life. Of course, dire poverty should trouble us; but &quot;economic inequality&quot; should not.</p> <p> Envy seduces the mind into a false belief that someone else&#39;s gain is our loss. Translated to economic views, this misguidedly paints the economy as a fixed pie, a zero-sum game, an unfair mixed bag of winners and losers.</p> <p> Obviously, life isn&#39;t fair, or equal. Sometimes others will experience good fortune, and we will feel shortchanged. Sometimes others are born into wealth, good genes or good family. But sometimes there&#39;s more to the story than what&#39;s been &quot;shared.&quot;</p> <p> Sometimes (often) a success comes with serious sacrifices and tradeoffs. Attempts to equalize life for everyone would not only lead to a boring society, but to more inequalities than existed in the first place, by eroding the relationship between virtues like hard work and gain. Russell Kirk wrote, &quot;In the long run, the envious society brings on proletarian tyranny and general poverty. In both the short run and the long run, the generous society encourages political freedom and economic prosperity.&quot;</p> <p> So how can we right the ship and turn away from covetous attitudes? The answer, as Kirk suggested, is generosity, which flows from a heart of thanksgiving.</p> <p> Each of us should evaluate whether we are fueling feelings of envy in our own hearts or whether we can celebrate and admire the successes of others. And, just as importantly, do we regularly recognize, celebrate, and give thanks for the blessings in our own lives?</p> <p> Like other moral struggles, the answer is not simply intellectual. This Thanksgiving, let&#39;s commit to intentionally practice thanksgiving and generosity everyday. These positive attitudes can catch on culturally, adding to our own happiness and the happiness of those around us, and discouraging the destructive attitudes that steal joy and threaten prosperity for all.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 25 Nov 2014 12:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOne News Now: Quality of Care More Important Than Numbers<p> <strong>by Chris Woodward, Charlie Butts (</strong></p> <p> Meanwhile, the latest round of open enrollment in ObamaCare continues. But Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the&nbsp;<a href="">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</a>, says there is more to consider than just the number of people who have or don&#39;t have insurance.</p> <p> &quot;... More importantly, I would ask: Are people satisfied with the kind of health insurance coverage that they have? Are they paying more in their premiums or in their out-of-pocket costs? Are they able to access as many doctors as they need? Are they able to buy the prescription medicine that they need to buy? There are a lot of [other] metrics.&quot;</p> <p> Manning points out millions of Americans were insured through government health insurance before ObamaCare, be it Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans healthcare programs.</p> <p> &quot;Those programs had a lot of problems and continue to have a lot of problems,&quot; she adds. &quot;So really, I would focus on: Are people in the United States getting quality, affordable healthcare? That&#39;s the question &ndash; not so much,&nbsp;<em>How many people have enrolled in an ObamaCare plan?</em>&#39;&quot;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 25 Nov 2014 12:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGlobal Ferguson reaction & FDA cracks down on calories • Cavuto HeathTue, 25 Nov 2014 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUnion Black Friday Protests: Will Walmart low-wage picketing doing anything? • Cavuto HeathTue, 25 Nov 2014 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMisdirected anger? Ferguson protesters push boycott to hit corporate America • Cavuto HeathTue, 25 Nov 2014 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDoes the Admin hope Americans will fall for irrelevant facts about the workforce? • Cavuto 11.17.14 HeathMon, 17 Nov 2014 16:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamaCare Goes Back to the Supreme Court<p> Today the Supreme Court announced it will hear the issue of Obamacare&rsquo;s subsidies in the federal exchange, which challengers have alleged are illegal. <a href="">Reuters</a> reports:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> In a one-sentence order, the court said it would decide a case brought by conservative challengers to the law. The plaintiffs appealed a July ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the subsidies. The nine justices will issue a ruling by the end of June.</p> <p> This suggests that the Justices are granting the cert <a href=";t=Challengers-in-King-Case-File-Cert-Petition">petition</a> filed in King v. Burwell.&nbsp; But the King case isn&rsquo;t the only one to deal with this issue. Notably, Halbig v. Burwell is a very similar case that won in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Often, in the case of a split circuit, the Court will combine cases to hear the same issue and resolve the conflicting lower court rulings.</p> <p> This issue poses an existential threat to ObamaCare. While it has been framed in the press as a politically-motivated attempt to gut ObamaCare of its subsidies (one of its essential features), this case is really about executing the law as it was written. Challengers point out that the law never authorized subsidies to be dispersed through a federal exchange, but only through an exchange established by a state.</p> <p> If the Supreme Court were to side with challengers and rule that the IRS overstepped and illegally changed the implementation of the law without Congressional approval, the result would be that no subsidies would flow through the federal exchange. But this would not be the fault of these lawsuits &ndash; it would simply be the execution of ObamaCare as written.</p> <p> Importantly, the subsidies trigger other not-so-popular mechanisms in the law, like mandates and penalties, which could also be affected if the law&rsquo;s challengers prevail.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathFri, 7 Nov 2014 13:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFair? Taxpayers sending fat pension checks to outgoing lawmakers • Arise Xchange HeathThu, 6 Nov 2014 07:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat should businesses expect from a divided Congress? • Cavuto HeathWed, 5 Nov 2014 11:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum