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Is a Death Spiral Inevitable If There is No Mandate?

If the Supreme Court acts within the next couple of weeks to overturn the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while leaving the rest of the law intact, expect to hear a lot about how the individual insurance market will be destined for a “death spiral.” When compared…

Kaiser Survey Probes Health Insurance Brokers’ Views on Insurance Trends, ACA

A new nationally representative survey of 500 health insurance agents and brokers working in the individual and small group markets by the Kaiser Family Foundation explores their outlook on market trends and views on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The survey finds that many agents are seeing steep increases in premiums…

The ACA and Fluoridation: The Power of Political Symbols

In the 1950s, water fluoridation became a public health controversy that morphed into a symbolic issue of larger proportions. For its opponents, fluoridation came to symbolize big government and even for some, a communist threat. The controversy became so odd that it was parodied in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film “Dr.…

Why Premiums Will Change for People Who Now Have Nongroup Insurance

The federal government recently released draft regulations that address the benefits, market rules, and rating practices for nongroup coverage. Before reform, the nongroup market was widely acknowledged to be broken, with restricted access, limited benefits, high administrative costs, and frequent and large premium increases subject to inadequate oversight. Recent requests for…

Pulling it Together: 2012: The ACA, and More

What is remarkable about 2012 (and the current era in health policy) is how many big health policy issues and marketplace changes will be in play at the same time: HEALTH REFORM: There is the implementation of a historic but fragile health reform law, with a Supreme Court decision pending…

Pulling it Together: The Health Care Industry’s Second Voluntary Effort

The announcement that health care industry groups plan to put on the table voluntarily a package of proposals to shave $2 trillion off the rate of increase in health spending over the next ten years immediately conjures up the image of the Voluntary Effort or VE launched with similar fanfare…

Pulling it Together: Implementation

When I was a graduate student at MIT my adviser Jeffrey Pressman was a great political scientist who had just written the seminal book on program implementation.  It was called, simply enough, Implementation, with a subhead that read: “how great expectations in Washington are dashed” (OK, we political scientists study…

The Flip Side of Higher Premiums: Better Coverage

Time Magazine’s recent cover story on health care – “Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill – has focused attention on hospital prices, especially for people paying out of their own pockets. This is not a new issue, but certainly one that deserves attention. However, what has been lost in the ensuing…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.