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

“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.”

“Sparks flew Wednesday at a hearing on the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov as Republican lawmakers grilled former White House Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Todd Park about his role in the site’s creation.
GOP members had sought for almost a year to bring Park before the House Science and Technology Committee, desiring to suss out his level of involvement in the debacle.”

“MONTPELIER, Vt. An economist who said “the stupidity of the American voter” helped pass the complex federal health care law has agreed to finish his work on Vermont’s health insurance systems for free, a top state official said Wednesday.
But the state will continue to pay assistants working with Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who advised the Obama administration as it crafted the Affordable Care Act.”

“Gruber, who was paid half a million dollars to design Obamacare, is on tape bragging about how the Democrats relied on “the stupidity of the American voter” to pass that law. Which, ironically, was sort of a stupid thing to say on camera.
By now there are so many tapes of Gruber explaining how Obamacare fooled stupid Americans that they’re being released as a boxed set in time for Christmas.”

“The mainstream press – a term which is rapidly losing all meaning as Fox News has begun to not only dominate cable news but the networks as well, but what was once understood to include big city newspapers and the three broadcast networks – has largely ignored the scandal surrounding Jonathan Gruber’s many impolitic comments.

“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 White House continued to distance itself from a controversial adviser Tuesday, suggesting that Jonathan Gruber had a narrow role focused on economic issues when he worked on the development of the Affordable Care Act.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Mr. Gruber, who received about $400,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services for his work, advised the administration on the economics of health care – not on the logistics of getting the law passed.”

“Retired Dallas police Sgt. Tom Wafer recently received a call from a commander that “shocked the fool” out of him: The city can’t let him or any of his fellow retirees watch police surveillance camera feeds anymore when the year is over because of an obscure provision of the Affordable Care Act.
City officials say they had to cut Wafer, 74, along with two dozen other retired officers because the health care law put them in a costly bind. The layoffs also affect a few other city agencies but hit the Dallas Police Department hardest.”