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

“A federal appeals court in Denver sided with Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. on Thursday in its legal battle against part of the Affordable Care Act. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals moved to reverse a lower court’s decision to deny Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s quest for an injunction against part of the Affordable Care Act that requires it to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives for some of its employees.”

“House Republicans and Democrats have joined together to re-introduce a bill that would expand the religious conscience exemptions under ObamaCare. Under the Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act, individuals would have the option of being exempted from the Affordable Healthcare Act’s mandate to buy health insurance. People could avoid the mandate by filing an affidavit as part of their tax return saying their religious beliefs keep them from buying insurance that meets federal standards.”

“Buried deep within President Obama’s $3.77 trillion budget is a tiny little proposal to increase Medicaid spending by $360 million. In a budget as large as this one, $360 million is scarcely worth mentioning. It amounts to less than one-hundredth of one percent of total outlays. But this 0.01 percent is worth mentioning, because it proves the president’s health-care law will not work.”

“In the coming years, treatment programs and medical colleges will face pressure to ramp up to create a larger system. But until then, addiction treatment may represent an extreme example of one of the Affordable Care Act’s challenges: actually delivering the care that people are supposed to receive.”

“Hospitals that treat the most vulnerable patients may have the toughest time weathering spending cuts under President Obama’s health-care law… Under the Affordable Care Act, the safety-net hospitals will gain a new source of revenue when millions of the uninsured gain coverage. At the same time, the law’s spending cuts could prove challenging for hospitals that tend to operate with relatively small profit margins.”

“State officials say they need 20,000 people for the job of signing up millions of Californians for health insurance in the coming months, but a battle is brewing over whether these workers should undergo background checks and fingerprinting. At issue is the level of screening these ‘assisters’ should receive before they handle confidential information about the people they are enrolling this year in the state’s new health insurance exchange, called Covered California.”

“Cuts to Medicare Advantage will disproportionately hurt poor seniors and minorities, the health insurance industry said Thursday. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has pushed back hard against a proposed cut to private Medicare Advantage plans. The Obama administration proposed the 2 percent cut late last week.”

“Facing increasing losses in federal courts over Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, the Department of Health & Human Services last week promulgated a rule to expand exemptions for religious nonprofits. That sounds good, but what the government is actually doing is a sort of accounting shell game: employers will no longer have to pay for the products/services to which they objects, but the government requires them to contract with an insurance company that the government then requires to provide these products/services to employees who want them ‘for free.'”

“Private employers who have religious objections to the requirement are offered no relief, and religious employers that are not houses of worship, like Wheaton College or your local Catholic hospital, are still required to provide employees with health insurance the gives them access to abortive and contraceptive drugs despite their conscientious objections.”

“Young adults will see higher health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because of a provision that links prices for older and younger patients, according to a new study. Actuaries at management consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicted the law’s age rating restrictions could mean a 42 percent hike in premium costs for people aged 21 to 29 when they buy individual coverage.”