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

In 1981, Congress created the home and community-based (HCBS) waiver program. These waivers allow states, if they choose, to extend home- and community-based Medicaid services to individuals who would otherwise qualify for care in a nursing home or institution. Essentially, these waivers allow truly needy individuals on Medicaid to receive additional care they need without being institutionalized.

The waiver programs are comprised of individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and mental illnesses, among other debilitating conditions.

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The recently passed 600-page Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 will impact almost every sector of the American economy. But one provision has the potential to do real damage. The BBA fundamentally alters the popular and successful Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit and puts our nation further down a path towards socialized medicine.

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Democratic and Republican states are moving in opposite directions on health policy, leaving Americans with starkly divergent options for care depending on where they live.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans, by easing many of the Affordable Care Act’s nationwide requirements after failing last year to repeal the entire law, are effectively turning major components of health policy over to the states.

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The latest lawsuit against Obamacare poses little immediate danger to the health care law — but it could look a lot more potent if the balance of the Supreme Court changes in the next two years.

The case may look like a long shot, given that the courts have upheld the health law more than once. But proponents of Obamacare have notoriously underestimated the stream of legal challenges against the Affordable Care Act, and the staying power of the conservatives intent on scrapping the 2010 law.

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Twenty states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over Obamacare’s individual mandate — again.

Wisconsin, Texas and several other red states claim in the lawsuit filed today that since Congress repealed the individual mandate’s tax penalty for not having coverage, that means the mandate itself — and the whole health care law — is invalid.

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The most significant federal entitlement reform in our lifetime was a little noticed provision that Democrats included in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The provision garnered almost no attention from the mainstream media or even from most conservative commentators. Yet according to the Medicare Trustees report that followed, this one provision eliminated $52 trillion of unfunded federal government liability – an amount that was more than three times the size of the US economy.

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United States health spending is projected to rise 5.3 percent in 2018, reflecting rising prices of medical goods and services and higher Medicaid costs, a U.S. government health agency said on Wednesday, an upward trend it forecasts for the next decade.

The increase represents a sharp uptick from 2017 spending, which the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now estimates to have been a 4.6 percent climb to nearly $3.5 trillion. It had previously forecast a 2017 rise of 5.4 percent.

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Galen Institute Senior Fellow Doug Badger has written a paper, published by the Taxpayers’ Budget Office of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, in which he analyzes CBO’s expectation that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) would reduce Medicare spending by $45 billion over ten years.  The forecast is flawed, Badger concludes, as CBO “ascribes unobserved and unobservable savings to projects that CMMI has not yet undertaken (and may never undertake).”  He says the CBO’s judgements “are in some cases questionable, in others mistaken and in still others rendered obsolete.”

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Amazon is looking to turn its medical-supplies business into a major supplier to U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics.  The online retailer is pushing hard to expand its foothold in medical supplies, creating a marketplace where hospitals could shop to stock emergency rooms, operating suites and outpatient facilities.

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Congressional House leaders plan legislation this year to tackle deficits by curbing entitlements, just weeks after digging a deeper deficit hole with a tax plan that will add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.

Entitlement reform is certainly needed. Even before the tax legislation, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast a major rise in federal deficits, from 2.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 to nearly 10% within 30 years. Over that period, says the CBO, health spending, and in particular Medicare, will be one of the largest drivers of spending.

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