Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.

Hundreds of companies face prospective fines for violating Obamacare’s employer mandate by the same Trump administration that has done virtually everything in its power to abolish the federal health care law.

Internal Revenue Service notices recently began arriving in corporate mailboxes, in some cases demanding millions of dollars in fines — an awkward development as the White House touts its business-friendly tax package. The notices will likely spur another legal fight over the health law.
. . .

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) is countersuing to stop a lawsuit filed by critics of the state’s plan to institute Medicaid work requirements.

The administration filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Kentucky on Monday seeking a ruling that the state’s Medicaid waiver fully complies with federal law.

. . .

Ohio will soon ask the federal government to waive an Obamacare requirement that nearly everyone in the state get health insurance coverage.

It will also ask permission to make some Medicaid recipients work 20 hours a week, go to school or take on similar activities. The state announced both these actions today, anticipating it will submit separate applications to Washington in about a month, after holding public hearings.
. . .

Alex Azar, the new secretary of health and human services, said Thursday that he would closely scrutinize a plan by Idaho to allow the sale of insurance that does not comply with the Affordable Care Act, an early test of how he will enforce a law he opposes. But he said it was too early to know what action he might take. “We’ll be looking at that very carefully and measure it up against the standards of the law,” Mr. Azar said at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee. The plan presents Mr. Azar with a choice that he could face frequently in his new job: whether to try to shore up the health law or to “let Obamacare fail.”

Two weeks into his new post, HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday took another step in the Trump administration’s move toward relaxing the Affordable Care Act’s moratorium on new physician-owned hospitals.

In the HHS budget hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) asked for Azar to commit the administration to help repeal the ACA’s “ban” on physician-owned hospitals.

. . .

Businesses are pushing back on the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to begin enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s employer insurance mandate, challenging penalties that run into the millions and asserting the agency is wrong to impose the fines.

The ACA imposes a penalty on employers with more than 50 workers who don’t provide qualifying coverage to employees, but the fines weren’t initially enforced. In November, the IRS said it would begin assessing penalties, starting with companies that failed to comply in 2015, when parts of the employer mandate first kicked in.

. . .

Nevada is taking steps toward leaving the federal and setting up a separate exchange operated by the state.

The Nevada Appeal reports that the Legislative Interim Finance Committee on Friday authorized state officials to spend $1 million to prepare a request for proposals and find a private provider.

Heather Korbulic, executive director of the state system, says changes are needed because is steadily raising the rates it charges states that link their front-end systems to the federal exchange.

. . .

Gov. Holcomb (R-IN) joined U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at Eskenazi Hospital on Friday to announce Indiana gained federal approval to continue its Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP).

The plan, which the state calls a successful alternative to traditional Medicaid, has been approved through Dec. 2020.

This will allow the state to continue health coverage for more than 400,000 low-income adult Hoosiers.

The Healthy Indiana Plan was created in 2007 under Gov. Mitch Daniels. The program was expanded in 2015 by then Gov. Mike Pence with a federal waiver to implement HIP as an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion.

. . .

States that run their own Affordable Care Act insurance market­places significantly outperformed the rest of the country in attracting consumers to sign up for health plans for 2018, according to enrollment tallies released Wednesday.

Overall enrollment stayed essentially level from the year before in the 11 states plus the District with state-based marketplaces, while sign-ups in states that rely on the ACA’s federal exchange fell, on average, by more than 5 percent. Five states with hybrid systems did best of all, according to a report compiled by the National Academy for State Health Policy.

. . .

The House passed legislation Tuesday to ease the ObamaCare rule that requires restaurants, convenience stores and supermarkets to list the calorie count of each menu item before it’s set to take effect in May.

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), passed, 266-157, with the support of 32 Democrats.

. . .