The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers

“WASHINGTON – A new video has surfaced showing economist Jonathan Gruber, who made controversial comments about how the Affordable Care Act was written, talking about states’ opposition to the Medicaid expansion in the law, and the role poverty may play in its success or failure.
“There’s larger principles at stake here,” Gruber said in the video, which appeared on the website Healthinsurance.org in April. “When these states are not just turning down covering the poor people, but turning down the federal stimulus that would come with that.
“They’re not just not interested in covering poor people, they’re willing to sacrifice billions of dollars in injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. I mean, it really is just almost awesome in its evilness.””

“The man who changed the ObamaCare debate was at a gas station when I reached him, and he wasn’t dying to talk.
“I really want to stay out of the limelight,” said Rich Weinstein, a Philadelphia investment adviser. “This is not about me.”
But it is about him in the sense that if not for one slightly obsessed citizen, we wouldn’t have the videos of Jonathan Gruber saying the health care law was deceptively designed and its passage depended on the stupidity of the American public. And it is about his frustrating struggle to get that information out to the media.”

“The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that just prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment beginning this past Saturday, the uninsured remained largely unaware of its start, although about half of the uninsured expect to get health insurance in the next few months and seven in ten say that health insurance is something they need. Opinion on the law remains similar to past months – 46 percent say they have an unfavorable view of the law and 37 percent say they have a favorable view. Americans are divided as to what Congress should do next on the law – 29 percent say they support repealing the law entirely, 17 percent say they support scaling back what the law does, 20 percent support moving ahead with the law as is, and 22 percent feel that the law should be expanded. But like opinion on the law overall, partisans fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. The public has no expectation that debate on the ACA will die down soon; a finding that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Most say that now that the midterm elections are over the amount of partisan debate will increase or stay about the same. Finally, on the heels of the midterm elections, few voters (9 percent) named health care as one of the two most important factors in their vote, ranking 5th behind partisan control of Congress (27 percent), a candidate’s platform (18 percent), the economy and jobs (17 percent), dissatisfaction with government (16 percent) and similar to a candidate’s personal characteristics (9 percent).”

“I understand we’ve turned the page to the next controversy — Obama’s unconstitutional immigration pander — but I’d like to dwell a little longer on the previous travesty.
Obama administration health-care consultant Jonathan Gruber was discovered to have boasted that Obamacare was designed to exploit the “stupidity” of American voters and elude honest accounting by hiding both its cost and the taxes necessary to pay for it.”

“It should come as no surprise to Townhall readers that the new Republican congress has no plan to deal intelligently with Obamacare. That’s unfortunate. The worst thing that can happen over the next two years is for president Obama to appear to take the high road – insuring the uninsured and fighting the mean insurance companies – while Republicans rail about the small and trivial parts of health reform.
And the worst thing that can happen is the very thing that is about to happen. So here is some unsolicited advice.”

“Once upon a time, it was gauche to accuse one’s ideological opposition of exploiting the rules by which the Congressional Budget Office plays the scoring game. It’s worth revisiting this idea in the wake of MIT academic Jonathan Gruber’s admission of guilt to this charge.
Way back in 2011, there were conservatives writing about how the CBO’s score of the Affordable Care Act rested on “budget gimmicks,” “smoke and mirrors,” and “a dismal track record.””

“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.”

“So where do things stand with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now that the dust has settled from November’s midterm elections? With Republicans seizing control of the U.S. Senate and an expanded- and newly emboldened- conservative majority in the House of Representatives, expect a slew of new political attacks on the health care reform law. While Bill McIntyre and Elizabeth Harrington noted in their November 6 post for the Morning Consult that election night polling indicated that for most voters the ACA was not a major factor in their decision on how to cast their ballot, it WAS a huge issue for the Republican base.”