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

A federal district court judge recently held that the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) large employer mandate to provide minimum essential coverage does, in fact, apply to Indian tribes.

The Affordable Care Act lives to see another day. Late last month, the Supreme Court upheld the distribution of subsidies, as well as the mandates and penalties attached to them, in the 34 states that use the law’s federal healthcare exchange.

Yet despite this decision, one thing remains painfully clear: The Affordable Care Act isn’t working for millions of Americans. No ruling from the Supreme Court can change that fact.

Congressional Republicans see a repeal of a tax on medical devices as their best opportunity to chip away at the Affordable Care Act after the Supreme Court’s recent decision turning away a challenge to a key component of the law.
The House has already voted to repeal the tax, and Senate Republicans are weighing the best timing for a vote to undo the levy, which helps underwrite the health law.

The urge to merge is sweeping managed health care. Aetna announced Friday a $37 billion deal to acquire Humana. Anthem and Cigna are in merger talks and could be next. The national for-profit insurers are on an anxious mission to consolidate. These combinations will sharply reduce competition and consumer choice, as five big insurers shrink, probably, to three.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act grew out of a long history of failed health insur­ance reform.” Chief Justice John Roberts, in upholding Obamacare subsidies.
Obamacare is the newest chapter in that long history of failed health insurance reform. Conservatives who hope one day to replace it would do well to learn from its errors and conceits.

The Supreme Court has left the ObamaCare demolition job to Republicans, who at least until 2017 will have to chip away at its architecture piecemeal. Last week the House made a good start by voting to kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), aka ObamaCare’s rationing board.

The federal government’s release of new data on health-insurer payments under the Affordable Care Act is roiling the industry, including potentially affecting the timing of any deal for Humana Inc., as suitors pore over the detailed information disclosed late Tuesday.

Now more than ever, it is imperative for every Republican presidential candidate to present a concrete plan to replace ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular: Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics average of polls showed 51.4% disapprove while only 43.6% approve. Voters are more likely to be opposed than are adults overall, and opponents are more fervent than supporters.

The White House’s victory at the Supreme Court last week removed a major threat to ObamaCare that could have rolled back coverage for 6.4 million people. President Obama declared after the ruling that the law has “been woven into the fabric of America,” while allies said the new insurance program and its related policy changes are here to stay.

President Barack Obama is aiming to use the momentum from a recent Supreme Court victory for his health care law to change the conversation from talk about undoing his signature domestic achievement to talk about how to improve it.