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

By Sam Baker and Sophie Novack:
Republicans want the Supreme Court to blow a major hole in Obamacare next year, but they are still debating whether they would help repair it—and what they should ask for in return.

There’s a very real chance the high court will invalidate Obamacare’s insurance subsidies in most of the country, which would be devastating for the health care law. It would become almost entirely unworkable in most states, and the cost of coverage would skyrocket.

By John Fund

An old Soviet joke had men carrying briefcases marching alongside tanks and soldiers in a Kremlin parade. “Why are those men in a military parade?” a boy innocently asks his father. He replies, “Those are the economists. They are the most dangerous of all.”

Why the hell did Jonathan Gruber say that? And that? And that? And (sigh) the other thing? Those are the questions on the minds of virtually everyone in the health care world—especially the people who worked the hardest on Obamacare. Ever since the videos started popping up, one after another, America has come to know Gruber—the MIT economist who worked closely on both Obamacare and Romneycare—as the guy who thinks voters are “stupid.” And the guy who thinks Obamacare was passed because of trickery. And who says, ha-ha, voters don’t understand economics. For a while, Fox News didn’t have to bother running anything else.

“There are certain laws of political physics that just cannot be ignored for long. All the bravado about minuscule midterm turnout or audacious executive actions out of the White House cannot forever mask the fact that two disastrous midterm election cycles have sapped the Democratic Party of authority. In 2015, the party will be in one of the weakest positions it has been in nearly a century. As Democrats begin to internalize that suboptimal reality, the effects are spectacular beyond Republicans’ wildest imaginings.
On Tuesday, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said aloud what many Democrats had been thinking privately for years when he observed that the party “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” by focusing on passing health care reform amid a recession in 2009 and 2010. Schumer admonished Democrats for being myopically consumed with addressing “the wrong problem” at the time.

“The holiday shopping season kicks off tomorrow with Black Friday, the annual mad-dash for good deals and early-morning sales. This year, shoppers in a few states will see something new this year at shopping malls–and its not exactly a hot new store. It’s…Obamacare.
In an effort to boost floundering enrollment numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to partnering with retail stores, pharmacies and websites to promote the open enrollment period, which lasts until Feb. 15. Enrollment workers will be present on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to tell shoppers about how to sign up for a plan on the exchange.”

“As I wrote at Forbes yesterday, New York Senator Charles Schumer has placed the blame for the Democrat’s disastrous defeat in this fall’s election squarely at the feet of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Speaking at the National Press Club the other day, the third-ranking Democrat in the US Senate said that whatever the merits or demerits of health reform, it was bad politics.”

“Anyone who has listened to the Gruber tapes has heard Prof. Gruber’s repeated references to the “three-legged stool” that forms the core of Obamacare.[1] However, those who pay close attention to his remarks–variously characterized as “arrogant” (Charles Krauthammer), “ careless” (New York Times), “dumb” (Ezra Klein) “ ill-advised and indefensible” (Times Argus), “offensive” (New York Times), and “stupid” (David Axelrod)–may have detected that Gruber enthusiastically endorses (and Obamacare contains) a more sinister three-legged stool of deception regarding employer health plans.”

“Despite the enduring unpopularity of Obamacare, Congressional Democrats have up to now stood by their health care law, allowing that “it’s not perfect” but that they are proud of their votes to pass it. That all changed on Tuesday, when the Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat—New York’s Chuck Schumer—declared that “we took [the public’s] mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform…When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me.’””

“The Obama administration has admitted to erroneously inflating the count of Exchange enrollees by incorrectly including 380,000 dental subscribers. Instead of 7.1 paid enrollments in the Exchanges as of mid-October, the correct figure should have been only 6.7 million. For the same reason, the reported number of paid enrollments in August should have been only 6.9 million rather than the 7.3 million figure originally reported. It’s a bit disappointing that this goof might never have been discovered but for the investigative efforts of Republican staffers for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data that took weeks of negotiations to secure from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That said, it’s encouraging to see DHHS Secretary Burwell take the position “The mistake we made is unacceptable. I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.””

“Illegal immigrants protected from deportation under President Obama’s executive action will be eligible for Medicare and other benefits once they enter the federal system.
The sweeping White House announcement last week means that up to 5 million people will be considered lawfully present in the United States despite having entered the country illegally.
This status makes them eligible for programs such as Medicare and Social Security if they work and submit payroll taxes that flow to those programs. This fact was noted Tuesday in a report by The Washington Post.”