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

“The rebates that will go to four-star and higher plans are to be used to provide additional benefits, such as lowering beneficiary premiums or reducing co-pays for doctor visits. Lower-income seniors are, arguably, more in need of those benefits. But not all plans are available in all counties. The report notes that four-star plans are offered in less than 14% of the counties where at least 25% of residents are below the federal poverty level. Thus, poorer Medicare beneficiaries are less likely to have access to the plans that receive the rebates and have better benefits.”

“The federal website Regulations.gov released the first round of public comments on the administration’s proposed anti-conscience mandate on Wednesday. The comments were overwhelmingly opposed to the measure: out of 211 comments submitted, only six, less than 3%, offered support for the mandate… The vast majority of the comments submitted focus on the mandate’s violation of Americans’ right of conscience, while a few discuss the health hazards of the medical procedures the mandate covers, and some call for full Obamacare repeal.”

“Could gay conservatives have the answer to ObamaCare? Gay Americans understandably chafe at the way the tax code discriminates against them with regard to health insurance. If you are heterosexual, the insurance provided your spouse by your company is treated as a benefit—which means it is untaxed. If, by contrast, you are gay, the insurance provided your spouse or partner by your company can be treated as income—which means taxed.”

“Young healthy men earning $28,000 a year can expect to pay nearly 100 percent more for health insurance, even after counting the new tax credits for which most will be eligible. Young healthy males at higher income levels earning about $45,000 a year can expect to pay two-and-a-half times more for health insurance in 2014, according to studies produced by independent actuaries who are helping the Hoosier state calculate the impact of Obamacare. The premium-cost increases are caused primarily by two key provisions in Obamacare — ‘essential health benefits,’ in which the government determines what must be covered by health-insurance policies, and the community rating provisions, which require health insurers to level out premiums so younger people pay more and older people pay less.”

“About 16 million people — half of the 32 million who are expected to get health coverage under the new health law — will be enrolled in Medicaid in January of 2014, with almost no changes to improve or modernize the cumbersome, complex, and wasteful program. This large Medicaid expansion could have catastrophic effects on those who provide society’s health care safety net.”

“Out of the 20 new or higher taxes in Obamacare, there are five that most hurt women. All of them violate President Obama’s commitment to families making less than $250,000.”

“The Obama administration’s controversial birth-control mandate saw its first legal challenge Thursday from an employer not affiliated with any religious institution. The latest challenge comes from the owner of a Missouri-based holding company, who says it violates his religious freedom. Although several other suits have been filed, they have all come from religious-affiliated employers such as Catholic universities.”

“Top U.S. Catholic bishops on Wednesday formally made their fight against a White House mandate for reproductive services the church’s top priority, saying ‘this struggle for religious freedom’ demands their immediate attention… The statement represents an expanded public relations effort to oppose the mandate that most religious employers provide health-care coverage for employees, including contraception and sterilization, services forbidden by Catholic teaching.”

“If you were surprised that PhRMA, the pharmaceutical trade group, backed Obamacare, now you can see why: the HHS contraception mandate alone will be a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle for the pharma industry. If your health insurance plan allowed you to buy a television, of any price, without any cost-sharing on your part, would you buy a 13-inch CRT or a 60-inch flat screen?”

“Bill Galston, a former Clinton administration official, and Melissa Rogers, the director of Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs, attempted to inject some balance into a debate that has exploded over the past month in their report examining conscience issues in health care.
But they also said the White House’s initial position on the birth-control rule – which exempted religious groups only when they primarily serve people of their own faith, among other requirements – was not a fair position. It violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Rogers said, because it was not the ‘least restrictive’ way for the federal government to impose on religious practice.”