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

Should a leading cardiologist be excluded from a panel creating clinical treatment guidelines for heart disease if in treating patients she has reached strong conclusions about how to treat heart disease and thus may “bias” the panel’s conclusions? Is a physician crooked if he accepts lunch, a baseball cap or a sticky-note pad from a drug rep? And is the credibility of scientists who develop a new pharmaceutical or device irredeemably compromised if their research is sponsored or funded by those industries?

The Obama administration issued new rules on Friday that allow closely held for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby Stores to opt out of providing women with insurance coverage for contraceptives if the companies have religious objections.

Women enrolled in such health plans would still be able to get birth control at no cost, the administration said. Insurers would pay for contraceptive services, but the payments would be separate from the employer’s health plan.

The Obama administration on Friday set final rules for contraception coverage in workers’ health insurance plans, putting in place rules that are unlikely to satisfy some religious employers who object to birth control.

The cost of covering people who qualified for Medicaid as part of the federal health law was significantly higher than expected in 2014, federal actuaries said Friday.

Adults who became eligible for Medicaid as a result of the health law’s expansion of the program to include most low-income Americans incurred average medical costs of $5,517, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services office of the actuary said.

A top House Republican on Friday vowed to keep fighting to repeal ObamaCare through budget reconciliation even as the tactic is losing support from some within the GOP.

“We want to use reconciliation to go after ObamaCare,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Friday.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) wants to exempt schools from the employer mandate under ObamaCare.
The healthcare law’s employer mandate requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance.
The South Dakota senator and chairman of the Senate Republican Conference is including his proposal as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate’s overhaul of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

For the first time, the Obama administration has deployed an important new power it has under the Affordable Care Act: proposing to pay doctors and hospitals based on the quality of care they provide, regardless of whether they want to be paid that way.

Millions of Americans have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, but there’s one area where enrollment has significantly dragged. Few small businesses are getting coverage through the law’s online insurance exchange.

The Affordable Care Act has survived another Supreme Court challenge. While the political debate over the future of the ACA is far from over, especially with a presidential campaign underway, key questions about its constitutionality and core coverage provisions have been resolved. So now what?

Democratic lawmakers are questioning whether they should heed constituent concerns or remain loyal to their party as they decide the fate of the medical device tax outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

Constituents argue the tax kills jobs and stalls innovation while Democratic strategists say the tax is a proverbial thread that, if pulled, could ultimately unravel the entire law.