Obamacare, month one: Monitoring the vital signs
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Event Summary

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges have been open for a month, and the rollout has been rocky. What implications will this rollout have for the long-term viability of the law? AEI's Scott Gottlieb, Joseph Antos, and Thomas P. Miller hosted the first in a series of three AEI breakfast meetings on Monday to respond to this question.

Gottlieb explained how defenders of the ACA compare the law's rocky rollout to the implementation of Medicare Part D. He rebutted this notion, pointing out that Part D was tested for months before it went into effect, and that people were allowed to shop for plans for two weeks before enrollment opened. He then elaborated on the ACA's cap on medical-loss ratios, which limits the profits insurance companies can make and effectively bars new firms from entering the market.

Antos turned the conversation to President Obama's recent announcement that the many problems with HealthCare.gov are being addressed by the best and brightest technology-industry experts. Antos claimed that this technology surge will probably be insufficient to fix all of the website's problems by the mid-November mark the administration hopes for.

Briefly channeling his inner medical doctor, Miller diagnosed the law's architects with inflated egos. He furthermore criticized the law's politically driven implementation and said the ACA's top-down paternalism is becoming more apparent.

The panelists concluded with a brief discussion of their expectations for the law in the short and long term. Even considering best-case scenarios, they were not optimistic.
--Neil McCray

Event Description

This is the first event in an AEI breakfast series discussing the implications of developments in Obamacare implementation.

One month into the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, where do we stand? From the website malfunctions to the ongoing federal court cases to the delay in the individual penalty, many aspects of the law have yet to be settled.

How are these developments affecting Obamacare’s long-term viability, and what do they mean for Americans now attempting to access insurance through the exchanges? What implications do they have for stakeholders — such as insurance companies, businesses, and providers — who are affected by the law? And what problems have yet to appear?

Join AEI scholars for the first event in a discussion series of the promises, problems, and implications of the Affordable Care Act rollout.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

Agenda

8:15 AM
Registration and Breakfast

8:30 AM
Opening Remarks

8:35 AM
Panelists:
Joseph Antos, AEI
Scott Gottlieb, AEI
Thomas P. Miller, AEI

Moderator:
Ramesh Ponnuru, AEI and National Review

9:15 AM
Question-and-Answer Session

9:30 AM
Adjournment

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Neil McCray at [email protected], 202.862.5826.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Joseph Antos is the Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at AEI. Antos's research focuses on the economics of health policy and federal budget policy. He has written and spoken extensively on the Medicare drug benefit and has evaluated various proposals to extend health coverage to the uninsured. Antos is also a health adviser to the Congressional Budget Office and recently completed two terms as a commissioner of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. Before joining AEI, he was assistant director for health and human resources at the Congressional Budget Office and held senior positions in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Scott Gottlieb is a practicing physician and resident fellow at AEI. From 2005 to 2007, Dr. Gottlieb served as US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs. From 2003 to 2004, he served as a senior adviser to the FDA commissioner and as the FDA’s director of medical policy development. He left the FDA in spring 2004 to work on the implementation of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit as a senior adviser to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Gottlieb is an editorial board member of the journal Value Based Cancer Care, the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Policy Forum, and is a member of the board of advisers of Cancer Commons. He writes a regular column for The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Gottlieb is also a member of the policy boards for both the Society of Hospitalist Medicine and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and serves as a director to public and private life science and health care services companies. He is likewise a clinical assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine.

Thomas P. Miller is a resident fellow at AEI, where he focuses on health policy, with particular emphasis on information transparency, health insurance regulation, health care entitlement reform, and market-based alternatives to the policies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He is the coauthor of “Why ObamaCare Is Wrong for America” (HarperCollins, 2011) and author of “When ObamaCare Fails: The Playbook for Market-Based Reform” (AEI, 2012).  He also directs AEI's Beyond Repeal and Replace project. Miller was a member of the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality from 2007 to 2009. He was a senior health policy adviser for the John McCain presidential campaign in 2008. Before joining AEI in 2006, Miller served for three years as senior health economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress. He has also been director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and director of economic policy studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the State Bar of Georgia. Miller’s writing has appeared in publications such as Health Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and National Review. He makes frequent broadcast media appearances on Fox, PBS, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio, among other networks.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, where he has covered national politics and public policy for 18 years. He is also a columnist for Bloomberg View. A prolific writer, he is the author of a monograph about Japanese industrial policy and a book about American politics and the sanctity of human life. As a visiting fellow at AEI, Ponnuru examines the future of conservatism, with particular attention to health care, economic policy, and constitutionalism.

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