The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers
“Republican candidates won a decisive victory at the voting booth on Tuesday, in all races: House, Senate, governorships, and state legislatures. The future of Obamacare has never looked more bleak.
The next battle is more daunting: the Republican Party needs to avoid shooting itself in the foot, govern in a way that achieves results rather than perpetuates partisan bickering, and continue to develop patient-centered health reform for the post-Obamacare future. Although Obamacare itself will not be repealed until January 2017, Republican success yesterday gives depth, resilience, and energy to the post-Obamacare health reform movement.”
“There is nothing more time consuming and expensive for a patient than undergoing extra tests or procedures during a trip to the emergency room, doctor’s office or urgent care center.
Often a physician will know exactly what a patient’s diagnosis is but will order an x-ray, CT scan, blood work or MRI to reaffirm his clinical judgment. The common rationale is to back up his opinion in case there is a lawsuit.”
“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.”
“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.”