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

The health law was designed to cover the poorest people by expanding Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people. But the Supreme Court made that optional. The result in states that didn’t expand Medicaid is a gap, where some people make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for insurance subsidies.

Tom Price, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is the latest Republican to unveil a conservative health-care plan to replace Obamacare. It’s a good plan, although it could be made better — and it helps to clarify some of the trade-offs involved in health policy.

Price’s plan would give people tax credits to buy health insurance. The credits would be based on age but not on income. Everyone between 35 and 50 would get $2,100 a year, for example. Both the Affordable Care Act and some other conservative health-care bills, such as the one proposed by Senator Orrin Hatch and colleagues, instead phase out tax credits with income. The credits could be used to buy insurance in a much less regulated market than Obamacare creates: No longer would insurance policies have to cover a federally approved list of essential health benefits, for example.

The plan has already elicited some reasonable criticism over the choices Price made. If you offer the same tax credit regardless of income, you send money to people who don’t need it. On the other hand, you relieve the administrative difficulty and unpredictability of an income-based credit. A lot of people don’t know how much help they can count on from Obamacare; they would have more certainty with Price’s plan.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday voted to repeal two pieces of ObamaCare.

The committee advanced measures that would repeal the medical device tax and a cost-cutting panel known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Both bills are scheduled to go to the House floor the week of June 15.

The health law’s expansion of Medicaid in many states hasn’t benefited nonprofit hospitals in those states as expected, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service.

Hospitals in the mostly blue states that expanded Medicaid were largely expected to benefit from fewer unpaid bills and more paying customers, but that hasn’t generally translated into better operating margins or cash flow, Moody’s found.

Performance improved across the board—including in the mostly Republican-led states that opted out of the law’s Medicaid expansion—as the economy gained steam last year and unemployment declined.

About 13 percent of people who signed up for health insurance coverage in 2015 under the Affordable Care Act have fallen off the rolls, many because they failed to pay their share of premiums, the Obama administration said Tuesday.

Approximately 6.4 million Americans could lose their subsidies for health insurance if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration this month, according to new federal data released Tuesday.

The Obama administration has posted the 2016 rate increases in excess of 10% that the Obamacare health plans are requesting.

There are a lot of them.

The number of uninsured people declined by nearly eight million during the first nine months of 2014, reducing their ranks to 37.2 million, according to an analysis of data released late last week by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Healthcare expenses appear to have climbed at a brisk pace, backing previous calculations that the healthcare industry remains a force even during an otherwise lackluster quarter.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released its second estimate of first-quarter economic growth, finding that healthcare spending climbed 5.4% annually when adjusted for inflation.

The GOP’s months-long debate over when and how to send a repeal of Obamacare to the president’s desk now appears to have an answer.

They can’t do it all at once.

Repealing the law “root and branch” is probably out of the question, the chamber’s parliamentarian is hinting, because some parts of Obamacare don’t affect the federal budget. That’s a must in order to use the obscure procedure known in Senate parlance as reconciliation, which allows lawmakers to avoid the 60-vote filibuster hurdle and pass bills on a simple majority vote.

That’s not the GOP’s only problem. Under those rules any Obamacare repeal has to reduce — not increase — the deficit. So Republicans will have to pick and choose which parts of the Affordable Care Act they most want to ditch.
Obama will, of course, veto any bill that significantly damages his signature domestic policy achievement. But the entire process has the makings of a difficult political exercise that will reveal something about the GOP’s priorities when it comes to the reviled law, forcing the party to go beyond the pile-on repeal rhetoric and say specifically what it would do and how it would pay for it.