USDA Creates Certification, Label for GMO-Free Food

The Agriculture Department (USDA) has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. USDA’s move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of the genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Small-Business Employees’ Group Slams Washington State For Rejecting Health Plans

While the Washington Education Association health trust won approval, dozens of other associations and trusts with plans covering hundreds of thousands of small-business employees and their households have either been denied by the State Insurance Commissioner or are in limbo, awaiting a decision. Of Washington state’s more than 60 association and trust plans, 11 are approved, nine are under review and the rest have been rejected.

The Affordable Care Act at 5 Years

If it is premature to draw conclusions about the cost effects of the ACA, it is doubly so for the quality effects of the law. The reductions in hospital-acquired conditions and Medicare readmissions since the enactment of the ACA are unprecedented and encouraging, but here again, the causes of these favorable trends are uncertain.

ObamaCare Exchanges Are A Model Of Failure

Of the 37 states that received $2.1 billion in grants to establish an exchange, only 17 did so, and they got an additional $2.7 billion from the feds. Of those 17, two went bankrupt in the first year. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that half of the remaining state exchanges face serious financial problems as they wrestle “with surging costs…and tepid enrollment numbers.”

Contrary to Goals, ER Visits Rise Under Obamacare

A poll released today by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that 28% of 2,099 doctors surveyed nationally saw large increases in volume, while 47% saw slight increases. By contrast, fewer than half of doctors reported any increases last year in the early days of the Affordable Care Act.

Gonorrhea Cases Spike in Washington, Up 40-Percent

The Department of Health says rates of infection have been rising since 2009 from 34 cases per 100,000 people to 88 cases per 100,000 people in 2014. Health officials say the state’s gonorrhea rates are still below national figures, but they are unsure why the number keeps climbing.

The Demise of Vermont’s Single-Payer Plan

Two factors explain most of the decline in the plan’s financial prospects. First, the anticipated federal revenues from Medicaid and the ACA declined dramatically. Second, Governor Shumlin’s policy choices significantly increased the total projected cost of Green Mountain Care.

170,101 Sign Up for Health Insurance on the Exchange in Its 2nd Year

While the numbers slightly exceeded the 164,000 recorded at the close of first enrollment last year, they still fell short of expectations. Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs Healthplanfinder, had set a goal of 213,000, a number the exchange staff had said was needed for the exchange to be self-sustaining, as required under the law.

The State-Level Future of Healthcare Reform

While the national debate over the Affordable Care Act remains deadlocked in dispute, local-level reform trends towards bipartisan convergence. The likely result is a national consensus, at some point in the future, on a plan that both parties could have agreed upon a long time in the past.