The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers
“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.”
“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.
“No one would say it was a good night for the prospects of Medicaid expansion,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University.”
“The Obama administration plans to close a loophole in the Affordable Care Act that allows large companies to refuse to cover in-patient hospital stays in any of their health insurance plans, according to an official involved in the internal discussions.
The official requested anonymity until the announcement is made because “the guidance that will be issued is not finalized.””
“Anti-Obamacare ads are dominating the airwaves in the election’s stretch run. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, Republicans ran nearly 13,000 anti-Obamacare ads in Senate races during the week of October 20-26. That’s after they ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads during the week of October 13-19 and over 11,000 during the week of October 6-12. In each of those three weeks, Republicans ran far more ads against Obamacare than they — or the Democrats — ran on any other issue.
Judging by both parties’ ads in Senate races from October 20-26, the issues favoring Republicans the most seem to be #1 Obamacare, #2 spending, and #3 immigration. Over that span, Republicans ran nearly 13,000 more anti-Obamacare ads than Democrats did (although Democrats did run a few). In addition, Republicans ran nearly 10,000 more ads on budget/government spending and nearly 5,000 more on immigration. (Meanwhile, the Democrats ran over 7,000 more ads on social issues, nearly 7,000 more ads on taxes, and over 5,000 more on Social Security.)”
“If Republicans take control of the Senate on Tuesday, the new Congress will need a three-part strategy on ObamaCare – the one they follow after they take the repeal “show” vote.
President Obama still retains veto power, and no one believes that there will be two-thirds majorities in both houses to override his certain veto of any full repeal bill.”
“Monthly premiums for health insurance soared in 2014, the first year of Obamacare’s full implementation, according to a new study.
The report by HealthPocket.com — a site that allows consumers to compare health plans — compared rates from 2013 and 2014. “The analysis of pre- and post-Obamacare health insurance in the individually purchased health insurance market demonstrates a clear increase of average premiums across age groups and both sexes,” researchers found. “While the degree of increase varied by age and sex, the occurrence of an increase did not.””
“Democrats’ odds of holding the Senate are declining based on the latest polls. But the race is close. Republicans are counting on narrow leads of just a percentage point or two holding up in some of the most important races, like those in Iowa, Colorado, Georgia and Alaska.
Last month, I examined the possibility that Senate polls could prove to be biased or “skewed” against Democrats. If the polls have even a modest bias against Democrats, the party’s chances of keeping the Senate would be more like 50-50. And if the polls have a more severe anti-Democratic bias, it would be favored to keep its majority.”
“Healthcare stakeholders and the public likely will have to wait at least another week—if not longer—to find out whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear King v. Burwell, a case with the potential to severely disrupt implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The justices were scheduled last Friday to discuss whether to hear the case, but on Monday morning it was announced that they took no action. Shortly after that announcement, the court’s website showed that the justices had scheduled another private discussion about the case, which is called relisting.”
“Four days before Election Day, conservatives are attacking Mitch McConnell, potentially the next Senate majority leader and in a tight race himself, as insufficiently committed to repealing Obamacare.
At issue are McConnell’s remarks to Neil Cavuto of Fox News on Tuesday, when McConnell said that a standalone repeal of the health care law would take 60 votes and a presidential signature — essentially an impossibility during the next term of Congress.”