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

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.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says President Obama will veto any ObamaCare contingency plan Congress sends him, even if the Supreme Court cripples the law.

Congressional Republicans are working on backup plans in case the high court rules later this month in King v. Burwell to invalidate subsidies that help 6.4 million people afford health insurance in 34 states using the federally run exchanges.

Republicans in Congress have repeatedly promised they will have a plan if the Supreme Court rules that an estimated 6.4 million Americans can’t get health insurance subsidies from the federal government.

Though the GOP has not reached a consensus – and few if any details are discussed in public – there is plenty of activity behind the scenes, as disparate groups in the House and Senate work to at least unify around an opening bid.