ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

The new Republican Congress may not be able to repeal and replace Obamacare entirely, but it could make substantial progress by targeting the health law’s key structural components.

This November’s electoral wave reopened and widened the strategic playing field for critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republican control of both houses of Congress, plus larger majorities of state governors and state legislatures present both opportunities and challenges to move beyond rhetorical opposition and advance changes in national health policy. Initial speculation tends to focus more on tactical considerations on Capitol Hill: which items are easiest to pass in the Senate, how to use budget reconciliation, and which votes will “look good” politically even if vetoed by President Obama.

Avik Roy: Last week, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D.) announced that he was pulling the plug on his four-year quest to impose single-payer, government-run health care on the residents of his state. “In my judgment,” said Shumlin at a press conference, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.” The key reasons for Shumlin’s reversal are important to understand. They explain why the dream of single-payer health care in the U.S. is dead for the foreseeable future—but also why Obamacare will be difficult to repeal.

Leading left-wing economists worked on Vermont plan

WASHINGTON – Trying to head off a new round of consumer headaches with President Obama’s health care law, the insurance industry says it will give customers more time to pay their premiums for January.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main industry trade group, says the voluntary steps include a commitment to promptly refund any overpayments by consumers who switched plans and may have gotten double-billed by mistake.

Over the past year, the ranks of people working part-time jobs by choice — as opposed to business-driven factors — has grown by more than one million, the fastest pace in at least two decades.

The timing with ObamaCare’s first year of subsidies to buy health insurance is likely more than coincidental. While analysts on the left and right have sparred over whether businesses have shifted to part-time jobs to limit liability under ObamaCare, no one disputes that the law will lead more people to choose to work part-time. Any disagreement is over whether the law should get credit for making less work possible or blame for making work less financially rewarding.

By Bruce Parker | Vermont Watchdog

Jonathan Gruber’s health care forecasting is failing in Colorado as Vermont’s Gov. Peter Shumlin prepares to use the economist’s math for single-payer health care.

As Vermonters anxiously await a Gruber-modeled financing plan for Green Mountain Care, modeling done for Colorado’s health exchange by Jonathan Gruber Associates has proven wildly erroneous.

By Stephanie Armour:
Some free health clinics serving the uninsured are shutting their doors because of funding shortfalls and low demand they attribute to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion.

Nearly a dozen clinics that have closed in the past two years cited the federal health law as a major reason.

The closings have occurred largely in 28 states and Washington, D.C., which all expanded Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income people, and are being heralded by some clinic officials as a sign the health law is reducing the number of uninsured.

Continued at… http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-law-hurts-some-free-clinics-1418429551

By Sam Baker and Sophie Novack:
Republicans want the Supreme Court to blow a major hole in Obamacare next year, but they are still debating whether they would help repair it—and what they should ask for in return.

There’s a very real chance the high court will invalidate Obamacare’s insurance subsidies in most of the country, which would be devastating for the health care law. It would become almost entirely unworkable in most states, and the cost of coverage would skyrocket.

With the Supreme Court due to rule on a major ObamaCare legal challenge by next summer, thoughts in Washington are turning to the practical and political response. If the Court does strike down insurance subsidies, the question for Republicans running Congress is whether they will try to fix the problems Democrats created, or merely allow ObamaCare’s damage to grow.

Late last night the House approved a $1.1 trillion spending measure that will keep the government funded. The measure passed 219-206, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats in favor. The so-called “CRomnibus” now moves onto the Senate where it is expected to pass today.

While a House panel was meeting to discuss eliminating the 1970s era ban on crude oil exports, a group of economists from American Council for Capital Formation urged the president to lift the ban. Even according to the government’s own research, “This reduction in oil prices, if they persist for one year, puts approximately $1.3 trillion in the hands of consumers worldwide.”

By Philip Klein | More than one in five Americans, or 68 million people, will receive their health coverage through Medicaid this year — more than any other government health program. But as it adds millions of beneficiaries as a result of President Obama’s healthcare law, there is mounting evidence that Medicaid is broken.

Medicaid is administered jointly by the state and federal government, offering health coverage to Americans earning up to about $16,000 in the states participating in Obamacare’s expansion of the program and up to roughly $12,000 in the states that do not.