Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday night that it was in the process of shorting the U.S. Treasury $3.5 billion.
Well, they didn’t exactly announce it. You had to read between the lines.
The theft of $3.5 billion will help prop up insurers that have agreed to sell ObamaCare policies in the individual market. Behind all the happy talk from Administration officials about the program’s success lies an unpleasant truth: insurers that participate in ObamaCare exchanges are bleeding money.
Those losses are coming despite billions of dollars in handouts the government is providing the industry. Some of those handouts are entirely lawful; others, not so much.
The so-called “reinsurance” program falls into the latter category.
There’s not much more time to speculate about how the Supreme Court will handle health care-related cases without the late Justice Antonin Scalia. A number of them are fast approaching on the court’s calendar, including one scheduled for arguments Tuesday.
Legal experts say they expect the court will go ahead and hear those cases and others despite the conservative justice’s unexpected death late last week.
The case set to be argued Feb. 23 involves the penalties companies face for patent infringement and could have a significant impact on the medical device industry. And in two weeks, the court is scheduled to hear a major case over whether Texas has gone too far in regulating abortions.
Hundreds of thousands of people lose subsidies under the health law, or even their policies, when they get tangled in a web of paperwork problems involving income, citizenship and taxes. Some are dealing with serious illnesses like cancer. Advocates fear the problems, if left unresolved, could undermine the nation’s historic gains in health insurance.
Coverage disruptions due to complex paperwork requirements seem commonplace in the health law’s system of subsidized private insurance, which currently covers about 12.7 million people.
The government says about 470,000 people had coverage terminated through Sept. 30 last year because of unresolved documentation issues involving citizenship and immigration. During the same time, more than 1 million households had their financial assistance “adjusted” because of income discrepancies. Advocates say “adjusted” usually means the subsidies get eliminated.
The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who famously said the Affordable Care Act should be called “SCOTUScare,” leaves in limbo a number of health care-related cases. The news also quickly sparked a debate over who would replace him amid the presidential campaign.
The Supreme Court justices are considering a number of important health care cases focusing on topics including abortion and the ACA’s contraception mandate.
The court is also weighing a case about data sharing with potential implications for insurers and state health care reform efforts and another case with the potential to reduce—or increase—the number of False Claims Act suits brought against health care providers and other companies.
Some people may not receive the necessary ObamaCare forms, 1095-B or 1095-C, until shortly before the April 15 tax filing deadline because the IRS has pushed back the due date from Jan. 31 to March 31 for employers and others that provide insurance.
What’s a consumer to do? File anyway, even without the form, the IRS says. If people make a mistake on their return because they didn’t have the 1095-B or 1095-C forms and relied on information from their employer or other coverage providers instead, they won’t have to amend their return, the IRS said.
The number of people who signed up for health insurance for 2016 on the state and federal exchanges was up to 40% lower than earlier government and private estimates, which some say is evidence that the plans are too expensive and that people would rather pay a penalty than buy them.
In 2010, the non-partisan Rand Corporation estimated 27 million people would have exchange policies this year and the Congressional Budget Office at that time was estimating 21 million for 2016. CBO even said last June that 20 million people would have plans purchased on the exchanges this year. Just 12.7 million signed up for plans, however, by the end of open enrollment Jan. 31 and about 1 million people are expected to drop their plans—or be dropped when they don’t pay their premiums.
Health insurers that sold plans on the exchanges in 2015 and enrolled droves of high-cost members, could haul away as much as $7.7 billion this year, as part of the healthcare law’s reinsurance program.
The CMS released a memo (PDF) late Friday that said the agency expects its jar of reinsurance money will total $7.7 billion. The payouts, to be issued this year, will reflect data from the 2015 benefit year.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wasn’t a fan of the Affordable Care Act and opposed it when it came before the nation’s high court every time.
Known for his blunt writings, here are some highlights from a dissenting opinion he wrote, published June 15, 2015, in what was the high court’s second major decision upholding President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Scalia wrote the following passages in the famous King vs. Burwell case on behalf of a three-vote minority that included Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The entire dissent can be read here.
Click through to read five of the best quotes from Scalia’s dissent.
Tax season has alerted Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to a new way to investigate a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows congressional members and staffers to avoid the federal exchanges.
The Internal Revenue Services has sent 1095-C forms to congressional staffers and members in recent weeks stating that Congress is considered a large employer. That statement is at odds with a rule allowing members and their staffs to purchase insurance plans on an exchange for small business with less than 50 employees.
The Louisiana senator sent a letter to the IRS on Wednesday, asking the agency to confirm that Congress is a large employer.
On more than one occasion, President Obama has said that the core idea behind ObamaCare came from the Heritage Foundation and Politifact rates the claim as “mostly true.” More than one left-of-center commentator has made the same charge, often tracing the lineage from the Heritage building in Washington, DC to Mitt Romney’s health reform in Massachusetts to the Obama administration. Most recently, John Aravosis writing at the America Blog claimed that the core idea behind ObamaCare (the individual mandate) comes from a 1989 lecture by Stuart Butler, then a health economist at Heritage. The same notion is almost as common on the right as it is on the left.
There is just one problem. This is all malarkey.
What is ObamaCare? If you sift through the hundreds of pages of legislation, the thousands of pages of regulations and all of the ridiculous complexity you will find that ObamaCare in its essence is a bastardized form of what health economists call “managed competition.”