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

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.

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.