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

Yesterday, the White House and Congressional leaders announced a last-minute budget agreement that avoids a so-called government shut-down for now. The deal has four health-related items, and is expected to reduce net federal health spending by about $4.5 billion over five years, and $15.5 billion over ten years. Overall, it is not a bad deal with respect to health care. However, some of its budget savings are fragile and it largely avoids reforms that will actually reduce the growth of health spending.

Voters in the battleground state of Colorado will likely have a big issue to vote on in 2016 — and it’s not the presidential election. The Centennial State is looking to implement a universal health care proposal that goes above and beyond what Obamacare offers. “Part of the reason Obamacare is so unpopular is that it’s a one-size-fits-all approach for 50 different states,” Colorado Democratic state Sen. Irene Aguilar, a doctor, told The Blaze. “What we are hoping to do with this is create a plan that works for Colorado.”

The Obama administration was able to push the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — through Congress in part because the Congressional Budget Office said it would modestly reduce future federal budget deficits. The claim of deficit reduction rests on a shaky foundation. It depends entirely on the uninterrupted implementation of four carefully constructed “indexing” provisions. These provisions, which make annual adjustments to key spending and tax parameters of the law (or specify that such adjustments will not be made), were written with the clear intention of making the ACA look better financially as time passed. Our new study, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, shows that these budgetary manipulations are no more likely to survive mounting political pressure than did income-tax “bracket creep” in the 1970s or across-the-board cuts in Medicare physician fees over the past 15 years.

Some health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace may not provide reasonable access to medical specialists, new research suggests. Under the act, also known as Obamacare, the federal marketplace offers subsidized private health insurance to consumers in states that didn’t establish their own health insurance exchanges.

Monday night’s spending agreement between the White House and Congress would repeal part of the Affordable Care Act. But the provision is a narrow one that few people knew existed and even fewer supported enthusiastically. The Obama administration had stalled writing the rules that would have put it into effect and, with no signs of imminent action, most Washington insiders figured it was only a matter of time before Congress took it off the books anyway. For better or worse, or maybe a bit of both, the provision was the regulatory equivalent of a dead man walking.

Proponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have frequently pointed to official cost estimates projecting that the law will reduce federal budget deficits. Much less attention has been paid to the primary reason for this favorable outlook: the law’s heavy reliance on indexing important provisions to restrain spending and increase revenue. These components of the ACA will automatically impose perpetual, across-the-board cuts on payments to certain institutional medical providers; increase premiums for lower-income households; and raise taxes on an ever-expanding segment of taxpayers.

Given how unpersuasive some Obamacare rulings have been, it’s easy to become cynical. But both sides have won and lost on some big issues. Thus, it is a mistake to think that there are five justices who will always vote to uphold Obamacare. The Origination Clause challenge to Obamacare that the Supreme Court is being asked to review today, Sissel v. HHS, presents some truly novel issues, as the debate among appellate judges this summer demonstrates. It also justifies a review of ten myths about Obamacare litigation.

Opponents of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul are taking yet another challenge to the law to the Supreme Court, and say they will be back with more if this one fails. A new appeal being filed Monday by the Pacific Legal Foundation contends the law violates the provision of the Constitution that requires tax-raising bills to originate in the House of Representatives.

Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges open for business Nov. 1. Millions of Americans will soon have to log on to the digital state or federal marketplace to pick their plans for 2016. They’re in for a rude awakening. Obamacare is set to make insurance a lot more expensive next year. The law will increase its punishment for those who don’t obtain insurance. Many who do buy coverage on Obamacare’s exchanges will face premium hikes as high as 49 percent. Thousands of medium-size employers, meanwhile, will for the first time be subject to penalties if they do not offer coverage to their employees.

I can’t believe what I’ve been hearing recently from Obamacare defenders over the failing Obamacare co-ops–the most recent count has eight of them going bust. The biggest complaint seems to be that those mean Republicans forced these co-ops out of business because of a provision they included in the last budget.