“Americans’ personal information is safe on HealthCare.gov, says a senior Obamacare official, seeking to allay public concerns as the days count down to the start of the second open enrollment season on Nov. 15.
“There’s no higher priority than protecting consumer information and maintaining trust for the consumers,” said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who has been in charge of the health exchanges since late June.”
“The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear the most serious challenge to the Affordable Care Act since the justices found it constitutional more than two years ago: a lawsuit targeting the federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance.
More than 4 million people receive the subsidies, which the Obama administration contends are essential to the act by making insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income families.”
“This hasn’t exactly been a banner week for Democrats, but especially so for Barack Obama. The Washington Post corrected him twice this week on claims made by the President’s denial of reality in his post-election press conference, the first time in a formal fact-check from Glenn Kessler. Obama tried arguing that the election results didn’t really reflect on ObamaCare despite the success of Republicans in defeating Democrats who supported it — or even those who refused to answer the question — because ObamaCare has reduced the costs of health care in every year since its passage. That assumes facts not in evidence in terms of causal relationship, Kessler notes, and isn’t true on the facts anyway:
In fact, despite the president’s claim of a decrease of every year, the White House’s own chart shows that the 2013 estimate represents a slight uptick from 2012, when adjusted for inflation and population. As the White House report puts it, “the three years since 2010 will have recorded the three slowest health-care spending growth rates since record keeping began in 1960.” That is impressive, but it is not the same as health costs going down “every single year” since the law was passed in 2010. …”
“Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to make ObamaCare a priority in his first weeks as leader of the Senate, vowing a sustained effort to dismantle the law piece-by-piece.
McConnell said the GOP will tackle unpopular aspects of the law such as the individual mandate, the medical device tax and the 30-hour workweek requiring employers to provide insurance.”
“Republicans’ strong showing in this week’s mid-term elections opens the door to more calls to repeal President Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act.
And while that is all but impossible given the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, victories in Washington and at the state level could usher in other healthcare changes.”
“Tuesday’s re-election of Republican governors in closely contested races in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine and Kansas dims the chances of Medicaid expansion in those states.
Advocates hoping for Democratic victories in those states were disappointed by the outcomes, but Alaska, which also has a Republican incumbent, remains in play as an independent challenger holds a narrow lead going into a count of absentee ballots.”
“LOS ANGELES On the heels of an advertising blitz funded by health insurance companies, California voters on Tuesday tanked a proposal to give the state’s insurance commissioner veto authority over health insurance premiums.
About 60 percent of voters cast ballots against the plan to give the elected commissioner expanded authority over small group and individual health plans.”
“While the GOP came out on top in today’s national vote, there was good news and bad news for both parties, relatively speaking, in today’s election according to CBS News exit polls. Overall, the Republicans’ advantages abounded. Concerns about terrorism, health care and the economy all provided them with a national vote edge. Among the nearly half of voters who said the health care law went too far, 83 percent supported Republican candidates. Those who were worried about terrorism–71 percent of voters–also gave GOP candidates a boost of 58 percent to 40 percent for Democrats.”
“When the Affordable Care Act marketplace opens on Nov. 15, consumers can expect healthcare.gov to have robust technology, amped-up functions, and a shorter application form for individual plans.
What they won’t see – and likely won’t know about – are the ongoing communication problems that many on the insurance industry say continue to plague the “back-end” transfer of consumer files between the website and insurance companies.”
“With two chambers of Congress under GOP control, the budget process could give the party its best chance to alter Obamacare, particularly if Senate Republicans try to use budget reconciliation, which requires just 51 votes. Congress will also try to fix the Sustainable Growth Rate, a pricey formula by which the government reimburses doctors who treat Medicare patients.”