Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for December 10, 2014
Morning Must-Read: Andrew Sullivan: Darkness Visible: Live-Blogging the Torture Report: Daily Focus

Morning Must-Read: Dylan Scott: Sorry, Haters: Here's Another Big Way Obamacare Is Working As Planned

Dylan Scott: Sorry, Haters: Here's Another Big Way Obamacare Is Working As Planned: "It hasn't been at the top of the conversation about Obamacare...

but new evidence suggests that yet another piece of the law is working exactly as it's supposed to. A key provision of the Affordable Care Act that was designed to keep insurers from overspending on administrative costs or else be forced to rebate premiums to customers looks to be succeeding in not only reducing those costs but in lowering premiums. A new report from federal health officials, which concludes that health spending had grown at a historically slow rate in 2013, says the so-called MLR provision is helping drive the broader easing of spending growth in the industry.

The medical-loss-ratio requirement mandates that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of premiums on actual health benefits. It is one of the various provisions intended to help shape the behavior of insurance companies, making the market more efficient and cost-effective for consumers. Administrative costs are kept down, meaning that more of people's money is going to real care. 'The medical loss ratio requirement and rate review mandated by the ACA put downward pressure on premium growth,' officials from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote in their report. Overall private insurance spending, of which premiums are a part, grew at a 2.8-percent rate--the lowest since at least 2007.

As Larry Levitt, vice president at the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, put it to TPM in an email: 'That is how it's intended to work.'