By Kimberly Leonard
Grace Brewer says she never thought she would be without health insurance at this stage of her life. “I’m a casualty of Obamacare,” says Brewer, 60, a self-employed chiropractor in the Kansas City, Kansas, area.
She wanted to keep the catastrophic health insurance plan she once had, which she says fit her needs. But under the Affordable Care Act, the government’s health care reform law, the plan was discontinued because it did not comply with the law’s requirements, and her bills doubled to more than $400 a month. “I wanted a minimal plan and I’m not allowed to have it,” she says. “That seems like an encroachment on my freedom.”
The complicated process of signing up for Obamacare is now being matched by IRS instructions to help Americans figure out how much in healthcare taxes they owe Uncle Sam.
The agency has issued 21 pages of instructions, complete with links to at least three long forms and nine tip sheets.
It is geared to those who have Obamacare or who owe a fine, dubbed “shared responsibility payment,” for refusing to get health insurance. The IRS warned that everybody must have health insurance or pay the tax.
”Safer Cars Lead to Drop in Fatalities” trumpets a recent Wall Street Journal headline. Not to be a curmudgeon, but whether this is good news or bad news depends on what it cost to achieve this reduction in mortality. No one disputes that saving lives is a very good thing, but even the richest nation in the world lacks infinite resources. We will never lack opportunities to save lives. But since there are more and less cost-effective ways of achieving this objective, we are best served by policies that move us in the direction of saving lives at the least cost. Auto safety regulation and Obamacare are simply the latest illustrations of where we may have focused far too much on the benefits being achieved and much too little attention on the cost side of the ledger.
Is Auto Safety Regulation Cost-effective?
The Affordable Care Act faces several challenges in 2015.Which of those will just be bumps in the road, and which ones will become major issues this year?
The Potential Headache: Owing the IRS
This year will be the first that individuals could potentially need to repay IRS if they incorrectly calculated their projected 2014 income and received subsidies to help purchase exchange coverage that were larger than for which they were eligible.
Obamacare was designed such that its most harmful provisions would not be implemented until after the President had been returned to office for a second term and his Democrat accomplices had been reelected to their congressional seats. Fortunately for the nation, the latter part of that strategy was a spectacular failure. Nonetheless, it did provide the public with a temporary reprieve from the health care law’s most painful exactions. That brief respite is now at an end. This year, you will begin to experience the realities of “reform” first hand and you are not going to like how it feels.
Here is something few pundits predicted.
Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally going to the doctor’s office for care. But middle-class patients are increasingly staying away.
Take Praveen Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Kentucky. The Arlas’ patient load used to be 45% commercially insured and 25% Medicaid. Those percentages are now reversed, report Laura Ungar and Jayne O’Donnell in USA Today.
By Jonathan Ingram, Josh Archambault, and Nic Horton — Mr. Ingram is Research Director, Mr. Archambault a Senior Fellow, and Mr. Horton is a Policy Impact Specialist at the Foundation for Government Accountability.
Tomorrow, a new Congress convenes, with the largest Republican majorities in nearly a century. These Republicans, elected on the promise of rolling back Obamacare, are ready to start chipping away at the law. One of their first targets? Obamacare’s immoral funding scheme that prioritizes able-bodied adults over the truly needy.
Obamacare Values The Able-Bodied Over The Truly Needy
By Tevi Troy
The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, has had a tough run of it since being signed into law nearly five years ago. It has faced constitutional challenges, voters ousting congressional Democrats who supported it, and the disastrous rollout of its federal website in October 2013. This past fall, supporters launched a public-relations campaign dedicated to the proposition that things were finally going well for ObamaCare’s 7 million sign-ups, but their campaign was derailed when the Obama administration admitted that it had added 400,000 dental patients to the roster of health-insurance enrollees to falsely claim it had reached the 7 million number.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking for vendors to run its “National Data Warehouse,” a database for “capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information” related to beneficiary and customer experiences with Medicare and the federal Obamacare marketplaces. Although the database primarily consists of quality control metrics related to individuals’ interactions with customer service, potential contractors are to “[d]emonstrate … experience with scalability and security in protecting data and information with customer, person-sensitive information including Personal Health Information and Personally Identifiable information (personal health records, etc.).” Vendors are also instructed that one of the requirements of a possible future contract would be “[e]nsuring that all products developed and delivered adhere to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance standards.”
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.