ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.

In the 2014 midterm elections, opposition to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare — was a clear political winner. That’s obvious from the election results themselves but also from polling that consistently finds that far more of the electorate disapproves of the law than approves of it.

Luke Hilgemann: A few weeks ago, hardly anyone in America had heard of Jonathan Gruber. Now, the Obamacare architect is a household name.

Gruber became a national sensation earlier this month after videos emerged of him detailing how the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” became law. The short version: Its architects, including Gruber, exploited the legislative process to pass a bill that voters never would have supported had they known what it was. In his words: “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

“The Obama administration has admitted to erroneously inflating the count of Exchange enrollees by incorrectly including 380,000 dental subscribers. Instead of 7.1 paid enrollments in the Exchanges as of mid-October, the correct figure should have been only 6.7 million. For the same reason, the reported number of paid enrollments in August should have been only 6.9 million rather than the 7.3 million figure originally reported. It’s a bit disappointing that this goof might never have been discovered but for the investigative efforts of Republican staffers for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data that took weeks of negotiations to secure from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That said, it’s encouraging to see DHHS Secretary Burwell take the position “The mistake we made is unacceptable. I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.””

“Illegal immigrants protected from deportation under President Obama’s executive action will be eligible for Medicare and other benefits once they enter the federal system.
The sweeping White House announcement last week means that up to 5 million people will be considered lawfully present in the United States despite having entered the country illegally.
This status makes them eligible for programs such as Medicare and Social Security if they work and submit payroll taxes that flow to those programs. This fact was noted Tuesday in a report by The Washington Post.”

“As employers try to minimize expenses under the health law, the Obama administration has warned them against paying high-cost workers to leave the company medical plan and buy coverage elsewhere.
Such a move would unlawfully discriminate against employees based on their health status, three federal agencies said in a bulletin issued this month.”

“Just days before the health law’s marketplaces reopened, nearly a quarter of uninsured said they expect to remain without coverage because they did not think it would be affordable, according to a poll released Friday.
That was by far the most common reason given by people who expect to stay uninsured next year, according to the latest tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) Forty-one percent of individuals without health insurance said they expected they would remain uninsured, while about half said they plan to get coverage in the coming months.”

“The Obama administration is seeking to clarify rules for the coverage of elective abortion in health insurance exchanges. That is the issue that almost scuttled the Affordable Care Act before it became law.
A complicated compromise that got the final few anti-abortion Democrats to agree to vote for the measure in 2010 required every exchange to include health plans that do not cover abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the pregnant woman. Plans that do offer abortion other than in those cases are required to segregate funds and bill for that abortion coverage separately.”

“Please consider Friday’s ‘Obamacare losing streak’ post officially updated. Behold, the ‘Affordable’ Care Act at work. Congratulations, “beneficiaries” (via The Hill):
The average price of the most popular ObamaCare health insurance plans rose 10 percent for 2015, according to a new study of premium figures published Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)…Not only are premiums increasing, but if consumers do not pick a different plan, they could pay more due to annual changes in how subsidies are calculated.”

“In case we needed another reason to be frustrated with Jonathan Gruber, America’s most infamous architect who insulted our intelligence, he also once argued that abortion has helped improve our nation’s economy and social environment. In a paper he helped write in May 1997 for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Gruber and two fellow writers suggested that abortion has helped save the nation money and social woes. Here is one of their must infuriating excerpts:
We find evidence of sizeable positive selection: the average living circumstances of cohorts of children born immediately after abortion became legalized improved substantially relative to preceding cohorts, and relative to places where the legal status of abortion was not changing. Our results suggest that the marginal children who were not born as a result of abortion legalization would have systematically been born into worse circumstances had the pregnancies not been terminated: they would have been 70% more likely to live in a single parent household, 40% more likely to live in poverty, 35% more likely to die during the first year of life, and 50% more likely to be in a household collecting welfare. The last of these finding implies that the selection effects operating through the legalization of abortion saved the government over $14 billion in welfare payments through the year 1994.”

“The implementation of the Affordable Care Act seems like an unending nightmare. Desperate for some good news, the White House is justly relieved and celebrating the fact that the government website is not plagued with last year’s disasters.
But other big challenges loom, including the administration of the law’s hideously complex insurance subsidy system, as well as coverage and cost problems.”