ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
“RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had run out of options to pull off his marquee campaign promise to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Even a risky plan to circumvent the legislature had fallen apart.
That’s when the governor, his top priority defeated, picked up the phone and called the man he blamed for the catastrophe.
“Hey, Phil? Terry McAuliffe,” the governor said in a seething voice message to Phillip P. Puckett, a Southwest Virginia Democrat who had quit the state Senate days earlier, throwing control of it to the GOP. “I want you to know we just lost the vote, 20 to 19, in the Senate. Medicaid is done. I hope you sleep easy tonight, buddy.””
“The Obama administration took another step to close what many see as a health-law loophole that allows large employers to offer medical plans without hospital coverage and bars their workers from subsidies to buy their own insurance.
“It has come to our attention that certain group health plan designs that provide no coverage of inpatient hospital services are being promoted,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in proposed rules issued late Friday.”
“Obamacare customers who choose to re-enroll in insurance plans would automatically default to cheaper coverage during sign-up periods, protecting them from price increases, under rules proposed by the U.S. government.”
“With round two of Obamacare enrollment here, New York’s policymakers should take stock of where the Empire State is and where it’s heading.
Take the state’s Medicaid program. Post-Obamacare, Medicaid enrollment has grown by over 7 percent to 6.1 million people: nearly 1 in 3 New Yorkers now receive coverage through the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor. New York’s Medicaid spending, among the highest in the country, makes up about 30 percent of the state budget.”
“Robert Pear of the New York Times recently described the “symbiotic” relationship between the Obama Administration and health insurers. It was not always so:
“But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.
“Insurers and the government have developed a symbiotic relationship, nurtured by tens of billions of dollars that flow from the federal Treasury to insurers each year,” said Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato CATO -1.93% Institute.”
““This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
– MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, captured on videotape
What did Gruber mean when he uttered this words in a now-infamous video that has inflamed hostility to the Affordable Care Act?
“The pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare coupled with a small provision buried in the law could give Republicans in the new Congress the opportunity to power-boost free-market health reform.
The high court will hear arguments, likely in March, on whether the Obama administration had legal authority to allow tax subsidies to flow through the health insurance exchange established by the federal government.”
“In the blink of an eye, Obamacare enrollment numbers through August fell from 7.3 million to just under 7 million — a level that dips overall enrollment under 2013 enrollment projections from the Congressional Budget Office. How’d it happen? In short, the administration combined Obamacare medical plan enrollment with dental plan enrollment for those August numbers — while previous reports had kept the two numbers distinct.
Here’s how the Department of Health and Human Services reported enrollments in a report last April. This shows only the last line of enrollments, but the number of plans with data on “metal level” (that is, the quality of the plan), is fairly close to the overall number of enrollments. Underneath, the number of people who got standalone dental coverage. 8 million; 1.1 million.”
“Of all the taxes in ObamaCare, none is more onerous than the whopping 40 percent Cadillac tax on the more generous employer-provided health care plans, which often are union plans.
The now-famous former outside adviser on ObamaCare, Jonathan Gruber of MIT, spoke about the Cadillac tax before an audience at the Pioneer Institute in 2011, saying, “It turns out politically, it’s really hard to get rid of. And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.””
“The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear King v. Burwell, an important case about Obamacare’s subsidies (tax credits) to health insurers. Plaintiffs argue that in the 36 states with federal Obamacare exchanges, subsidies cannot be paid legally. If no subsidies can be paid, neither the individual mandate to buy health insurance nor the employer mandate to offer insurance can be enforced.
Few people would voluntarily buy health insurance from an Obamacare exchange if health insurers on the exchanges did not receive subsidies to enroll people. The premiums would be too high otherwise. Experts expect that the Supreme Court might decide on King v. Burwell in July, in which case Obamacare will end with a bang.”