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

“MIT economist Jonathan Gruber is in the news again with his comments about how the drafters of ObamaCare used Americans’ ignorance about the complexities of tax law to impose a new tax on high-cost health insurance.
In a speech at the University of Rhode Island in November 2012, Gruber said: “…we just tax insurance companies, they pass on higher prices that offsets the tax break we get into being the same thing. It’s a very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.””

“Voters last week flatly rejected the Obama administration’s policies and created a new opportunity to improve American health care by electing a Republican Congress that is firmly committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare.
With a flawed website launch, failed state exchanges, burdensome mandates, mass cancellations of coverage and countless other broken promises paid for by Medicare cuts and a trillion dollar tax hike, it’s no wonder so few Democratic candidates campaigned on the merits of Obamacare.”

“A number of liberal pundits working off of White House talking points became heavily invested in the argument that the election was not about Obamacare. They seemed to believe if the election was about something else, Obamacare wouldn’t be repudiated or the GOP would lack a mandate to get rid of it. This was, to put it mildly, silly and desperate.
No matter how many GOP ads were cut, how much direct mail was distributed, or campaign Web sites were created pledging to eliminate Obamacare or attacking Democrats for supporting it, the election could not be a referendum on Obamacare, according to the left-wing blogosphere. But it was. Of all the president’s policies that were on the ballot, Obamacare was the most significant.”

“Two potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates — Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — are teaming up on a proposal to replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Their plan could be voted on in the new Congress next year, when the GOP will control both the House and Senate.
The Washington Examiner first reported that Ryan and Rubio began discussing a plan this spring, and the Tampa Bay Times published another report about the collaboration on Monday. But with Ryan ascending to a top House committee post and the Senate being run by Republicans in 2015, the joint effort gets new momentum.”

“Missouri health insurance consumers can get a first look at rates for 2015 coverage on HealthCare.gov, but they may be in for a bit of sticker shock.
St. Louis-area customers will have almost twice as many options to consider once open enrollment begins Saturday. Four insurers are selling a total of 42 different plans, a substantial increase from last year when only two carriers combined to sell 25 plans.”

“With the Affordable Care Act to start enrollment for its second year on Nov. 15, some unpleasant surprises may be in store for some.
That’s because a number of low-priced Obamacare plans will raise their rates in 2015, making those options less affordable. On top of that, penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families’ pocketbooks.
“The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,” said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. “This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.””

“The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers.”

“With the second open enrollment period of the health insurance marketplaces approaching, this analysis provides an initial look at premium changes for marketplace plans for individuals in 15 states and the District of Columbia that have publicly released comprehensive data on rates or rate filings for all insurers.
The analysis examines premium changes for the lowest-cost bronze plan and the two lowest-cost silver plans in 16 major cities. The second-lowest cost silver plan in each state is of particular interest as it acts as a benchmark that helps determine how much assistance eligible individuals can receive in the form of federal tax credits. The findings show that in general, individuals will pay slightly less to enroll in the second-lowest cost plan in 2015 than they did in 2014, prior to the application of tax credits.”

“Since the outcome of Tuesday’s elections became clear, a lot has been said, and threatened, about repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican control of the next Congress is likely to bring ACA challenges in two flavors. There will be early “statement legislation” to repeal the law and possibly to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate, a linchpin of the law that spreads risk and makes its insurance market changes work. These bills, intended to honor election promises to the Republican base, would be vetoed by President Barack Obama if they pass.”

“MIT economist Jonathan Gruber is one of the foremost architects of Obamacare, having bragged that he “knows more about this law” than anyone else in his field. He’s also emerged as an unintentional one-man wrecking ball against Obamacare, making public statements that have undermined the Obama administration’s legal and political defenses of the president’s signature domestic legacy. Over the summer, a three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a substantial blow to the law, ruling that the legislative text means what is says on a critical subject. As written and signed into law, Obamacare specifies that only consumers who live in states (a term that is explicitly defined) that set up their own “exchange” marketplace are eligible to receive taxpayer-funded subsidies to offset high costs.”