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

Although Obamacare’s initial rollout problems have been resolved, the administration is still running into problems implementing the law. But this time it’s not the website, it’s the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for enforcing major provisions of the health care law—including administering subsidies to people who enrolled on the state and federal exchanges, as well as enforcing mandates by issuing tax penalties to those who don’t have health coverage.

New figures indicate that about 11 million people have signed up for health insurance during this latest sign-up period of Obamacare, of which about half will be from the uninsured population, based on previous estimates. Once again, the supporters of the law celebrate with proclamations that “it’s working.” One could say that assessment is true, if the definition of “working” means enrolling people into anything called health insurance.

To be sure, the law’s implementation is progressing, but there is no cause for celebration. It is indeed true that millions of Americans are now newly enrolled into health insurance, but it is disingenuous to tout this as a great success. An estimated 71% of the new insurance arises through Medicaid, using 2014 calculations based on analysis by Haislmaier and Gonshorowski of data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

The Obama administration is announcing Thursday a new preventive health campaign, aimed at helping people who are newly insured under ObamaCare as well as others, better understand and use their coverage.

The public awareness initiative, called “Healthy Self,” is intended to help people know about and use the preventive services that are available for free under the Affordable Care Act. It also encourages healthy decisions outside of the doctor’s office, like a good diet and quitting smoking.

The idea is that gaining coverage is not the end of the line.

A key goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help people get health insurance who may have not been able to pay for it before. But the most popular plans – those with low monthly premiums – also have high deductibles and copays. And that can leave medical care still out of reach for some.

Renee Mitchell of Stone Mountain, Georgia is one of those people. She previously put off a medical procedure because of the expense. But as the threat of losing part of her vision became a real possibility, she sought an eye specialist at Emory University, who told her she needed surgery to correct an earlier cataract procedure gone wrong.

If House Republicans can make it over the first hurdle in their lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, their arguments might pose a serious threat to the healthcare law, some legal experts say.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer is now considering whether to allow the lawsuit to proceed or dismiss it for lack of standing on the House’s part. Collyer’s questions during oral arguments in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, along with her subsequent requests, have led some to speculate that she will grant the House standing and let the lawsuit move forward.

The Affordable Care Act has proved the need for health reform, but it also has proved the need for significant changes to the law to reflect Americans’ demand for more choices of more affordable health coverage. Despite the president’s claims, most Americans are seeing much higher costs for health insurance. They want secure coverage and access to care that meets their needs and the needs of their families, but they want the law to live up to its name of “affordability.”

Understanding exchange populations — their demographics, biometrics, health risks, and chronic conditions — is at the core of health insurance management. Government, health plan, employer, and provider leaders know that to create product strategies and plan designs without this information is not just futile, it’s bad business.

The aims of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were to increase health insurance coverage for those under age 65, improve the performance of the health care delivery system, and slow cost growth. Less recognized are the provisions of the law that seek to strengthen the Medicare program.

The ACA addresses gaps in Medicare preventive and prescription drug benefits. It initiates ambitious testing of new payment methods to improve the value of care received by beneficiaries and, indirectly, all Americans. And it substantially extends the solvency of the Medicare Health Insurance Trust Fund by slowing the growth of future Medicare outlays.

Efforts by insurers to boost premiums are the latest evidence that President Barack Obama’s health care law “just doesn’t work” and must be replaced, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said Wednesday.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin launched the GOP’s latest attack against the health care overhaul as Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell defended it before his committee. Their conflicting views underscored that Obama’s 5-year-old law remains a partisan flashpoint, likely to reverberate through next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

In response to a question at a press conference today following the G7 summit in Germany, President Obama commented on the pending decision in the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s U.S. Supreme Court case King v. Burwell:

“And so this should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up. And since we’re going to get a ruling pretty quick, I think it’s important for us to go ahead and assume that the Supreme Court is going to do what most legal scholars who’ve looked at this would expect them to do.”