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

“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.”

“After losing a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court, craft stores chain Hobby Lobby said it would defy a federal healthcare mandate requiring employers to provide their workers with insurance that covers emergency contraceptives. The Oklahoma City-based chain, owned by a conservative Christian family, had applied to the high court to block a part of the federal healthcare law ordering companies to offer insurance that covers contraceptive drugs, including the so-called morning-after pill.”

“By mid-December, the federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic. If you think identity theft is a problem now, wait until Uncle Sam serves up critical information on 300 million American citizens on a platter.”

“If young adults can’t afford health insurance policies available in 2014 under the health care law, state insurance officials are worried they won’t buy them. And that could drive up the cost of insurance for the mostly older, sicker people who do purchase coverage. That’s a potential problem even in states like California and Rhode Island, which are moving ahead to carry out the law, state officials told representatives of the Obama administration Friday at a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.”

“Dozens of lawsuits have been filed in protest of the Obama administration’s policy that most employers include no-cost coverage of FDA-approved prescription contraceptives in health plans. Churches and some — not all — religious organizations are exempt. But more than three dozen for-profit and nonprofit organizations have gone to court, citing religious objections to the birth control coverage rule, which itself is part of the women’s health provisions in the controversial health law.”