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

Coinsurance? Premium tax credit? HMO and PPO?

Swimming through the health insurance word soup can be frustrating for anyone. Even though I cover health, I couldn’t define “cost-sharing reduction plan” until I Googled it just now.

And it seems I’m not the only clueless 20-something here. Young adults, who generally have little experience managing their own health care expenses, are finding it especially hard signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

More small businesses will have to adopt Obamacare’s insurance changes next year, which business groups say could result in higher premiums.

Obamacare required small-group healthcare markets to cover essential benefits similar to those in the individual market. Those include capping enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs and not excluding people due to pre-existing conditions.

Insurers also have to set rates using a single risk pool that includes all enrollees across their small group plans in the state.

If a “death panel” never rationed health care, did it really earn the name?

That’s the question for Congress this week: The House soon will vote to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board established by the Affordable Care Act, dubbed at various times a “death panel” and rationing board by its opponents.

The irony, though, is that the board, which was created to come up with Medicare savings if the program’s spending grew too quickly, hasn’t had any work to do and might not for years to come—which now paradoxically might make it easier for the new GOP Congress to end it.

House Republicans have launched another assault on Obamacare. This time, they have some support from their foes on the other side of the aisle.

Two bipartisan bills that would repeal parts of Obamacare are scheduled to reach the House floor this week. One would get rid of a job-killing tax on medical device manufacturers. The other would do away with a powerful and unaccountable board of 15 members charged with cutting Medicare spending.

Hillary Clinton says she will propose fixes for ObamaCare over the course of her presidential campaign, while strongly defending the law as a whole.

In an interview with The Des Moines Register published on Sunday, she cited the “family glitch,” which prevents some low-income families from qualifying for subsidies under the law as one example of something she should seek to fix.

The White House on Monday threatened to veto a bill to repeal ObamaCare’s unpopular medical device tax.

The bill is headed for a vote in the House later this week, and the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices has drawn criticism from some members of both parties who say it stifles innovation.

But the White House on Monday called the bill “a large tax break to profitable corporations.”

It argues that healthcare industries gain from new customers under ObamaCare and therefore should pay some of the cost of the coverage expansion.

A government data warehouse that stores personal information on millions of HealthCare.gov customers is raising privacy concerns at a time when major breaches have become distressingly common.

A government privacy assessment dated Jan. 15 says data “is maintained indefinitely at this time,” but the administration said Monday no final time frame has been decided, and the National Archives has recommended a 10-year retention period.

The Obama administration has been making billions of dollars in payments to insurance companies under the health law without being able to confirm just how much it owes each insurer, according to an inspector general’s report to be released Tuesday.

The federal government has paid subsidies for many enrollees’ premiums and deductibles directly to insurers since January 2014, when key health-law changes kicked in and millions of lower-income Americans started gaining coverage from plans they picked through HealthCare.gov or state equivalents.

Broken Promises: President Obama recently claimed that ObamaCare is working even better than anticipated. That would be a tough sell to all those hospitals that thought the law would help them make ends meet.
In the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare ruling in 2012, which upheld the individual mandate, the justices also ruled that ObamaCare couldn’t force states to expand Medicaid by threatening all their Medicaid funds if they refused.

“I just love nuns generally. I’m just saying.” – President Obama, June 9.
And nuns just love him too. At least nuns who run hospitals seem to. And with good reason: the President advocates policies that enable hospitals like those operated by the Daughters of Charity to provide less charity.