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

The Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate has at least modestly led to a rise in involuntary part-time employment, according to a Goldman Sachs study released Wednesday.

“We would estimate that a few hundred thousand workers might be working part-time involuntarily as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” said Alec Phillips, an economist at the investment bank, in a research note.

This is only a fraction of the 6.4 million workers employed part-time for economic reasons, he said, but would be a significant share of the “underemployment gap.”

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More than two-thirds of state benchmark plans violate federal requirements to cover treatment for addiction disorders.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse surveyed addiction treatment benefits offered among 2017 Essential Health Benefits benchmark plans and found none offered a comprehensive array of addiction treatment benefits.

The report cites benchmark plans, which determine the minimum level of benefits available to those covered in state exchange plans, frequently “excluded or not explicitly covered benefits” related to residential treatment and the use of methadone as therapy.

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Donald Trump’s inconsistencies on health policy are baffling experts and deepening the doubts that conservatives have about his candidacy.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has put forward a healthcare plan on his campaign website that leaves out many of the bolder promises he has made during debates and speeches.

Trump has repeatedly promised to “take care of everybody,” but his health plan includes no major expansion of coverage; one analysis asserted the proposal would actually end coverage for 21 million people.

Similarly, he has vowed to keep protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but his plan includes no such provision.

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The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the total net subsidy provided by the federal government for people under the age of 65 will amount to approximately $660 billion in 2016. The CBO and JCT project that this subsidy will rise annually at a rate of 5.4 percent. The forecasted net subsidy for the 2017-2026 period discussed in the report is $8.9 trillion.

Most of the costs of these subsidies can be attributed to Medicaid and to employer-sponsored health insurance coverage for those under age 65. The latter cost arises primarily because health insurance premiums paid by employers are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes. These employment-based coverage subsidies are expected to increase to $460 billion in a decade and will total around $3.6 trillion during the 2017-2026 period.

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The president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) gives Obamacare a D+ for how it has performed in his state. In an interview with WRAL’s David Crabtree, BCBSNC CEO Brad Wilson conceded that he was a strict grader and that “on a good day” he might give the ACA a C+.

He acknowledged that the health law had provided coverage to 500,000 previously uninsured North Carolinians (“a very good thing”), but also warned that after two and a half years of operation, it was very clear that the financial underpinning of the Obamacare exchanges was not stable.

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The top Justice Department official who defended the president’s health care law at the Supreme Court is leaving his job.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is ending his five-year tenure as the administration’s chief lawyer at the high court, President Barack Obama said in a statement Thursday.

Verrilli, 58, made the principal argument in defense of the health law against a major challenge in 2012 and an attack on subsidies for low-income Americans last year. The 2012 case took place in the midst of Obama’s re-election campaign, with the signature domestic achievement of his first term essentially on trial at the Supreme Court.

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The Senate will begin work thisweek on its health-related appropriations bill, which it hopes will make it to a floor vote this year.

The health panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), will meet Tuesday to mark up its spending bill. That bill, which includes funding for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, passed out of committee last year, but ultimately did not make it for a full floor vote.

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The implementation of ObamaCare has caused private health insurance to increase premiums and deductibles to meet both shifting market demand and regulatory compliance, largely passing on these added costs to the American people. Continuing to expand the program, as Hillary Clinton suggests, will most certainly force greater government control into our health care system. With this we will not only see a serious reduction in private sector insurer options, but also the introduction of longer wait times, wait lists, and limits on pharmaceutical innovation as evidenced in closed, government-run health care systems around the globe.

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Republican lawmakers crafting alternatives to Obamacare face a fundamental decision: whether to focus on expanding coverage or containing costs. Their choice may be driven, at least in part, by budget scorekeepers.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report in December 2008 on key issues in analyzing major health-care proposals. Included was a chart projecting individuals’ willingness to enroll in health insurance at various levels of subsidy (in technical terms, an elasticity curve). That curve suggested that insurance enrollment would remain below 40% until subsidies reached 70% of cost and that even if costs were 100% subsidized, about a fifth of individuals would decline to enroll. (And that level of subsidy is probably much greater than many Republicans would be willing to offer.)

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Will ObamaCare be a top issue in this fall’s presidential and congressional campaigns? Republicans better make it one if they want to prevail.

The continuing unpopularity of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement gives Republicans an enormous opportunity. Only 39.2% of Americans favor ObamaCare in the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls; nearly half, 48.8%, oppose it. There’s also a sharp partisan divide that benefits the GOP: While 78% of Democrats approve of ObamaCare, according to an April survey from the Pew Research Center, 58% of independents and 89% of Republicans disapprove of it.

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