Another bombshell could soon drop on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange market, and it might come at a highly vulnerable moment for ObamaCare.
Rosemary Collyer, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, is expected to soon issue her ruling in U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell, a case in which House Republicans claim the Obama administration is illegally funding the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies without a congressional appropriation.
If, as some legal observers believe is possible or even likely, the George W. Bush-nominated Collyer decides against the administration, it would further rattle insurers who are facing multiple difficulties in the exchange business. UnitedHealth Group announced last week that it was pulling out of most exchanges because of its financial losses. Such a ruling would be a shock, even though it surely would be appealed, and the case could ultimately reach the Supreme Court.
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One provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that has been delayed until 2017 is a federal mandate for standard menu items in restaurants and some other venues to contain nutrition labeling.
Drawing on nearly 300,000 respondents from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 30 large cities between 2003 and 2012, we explore the effects of menu mandates. We find that the impact of such labeling requirements on BMI, obesity, and other health-related outcomes is trivial, and, to the extent it exists, it fades out rapidly.
A new note from JPMorgan economist Jesse Edgerton looks at what is happening with Americans who are working part-time for “economic reasons” — or Americans involuntarily working part time. As you can see in the above chart — the red line — the numbers remains elevated despite big declines in the U-3 and U-6 jobless rates. Edgerton:
There has been little recent relationship between the number of “extra” part-time workers and the level of U3 unemployment, questioning the idea that driving U3 down further will reduce involuntary part-time employment. . . In a note last year, we pointed out that the shift strikingly coincided with the passage of the ACA, which included an employer mandate to provide health insurance to employees working 30 or more hours per week. . . passage of the ACA preceded a large and unprecedented shift from workers working more than 30 hours per week to just under 30 hours. We continue to believe that the ACA can explain a significant number of the “extra” involuntary part-time workers.
One of the reasons that ACA Exchange plans are losing money is their inability to attract enough healthy enrollees. Healthy people are, disproportionately, young people. And large numbers of young adults don’t have to enroll in ACA Exchange plans – because the ACA mandates that their parents’ employer provide them with coverage, and that coverage is almost invariably priced lower.
Anyone up to age 26 with a parent who has employer-based health coverage that includes dependents can enroll in the parent’s plan. This is called the “dependent care mandate,” and is a requirement of the ACA. There are no other requirements for this coverage option: the “child” does not have to live with the parent or be financially dependent or a dependent for tax purposes on the parent. The “child” could be employed and eligible for employer-based coverage on his/her own, but elect to take the parent’s coverage if it’s preferable.
Exchanges are being undermined, in part, by the ACA’s dependent care mandate.
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ObamaCare’s “Millennial mandate,” the requirement that employers who offer health coverage for employees’ dependents continue to offer such coverage until the dependents turn 26 years old, is one of those supposed free lunches.
This mandate’s benefits unquestionably come at a cost. Expanding health insurance coverage among adults age 19-26 leads them to consume more medical care. When those people file insurance claims, health-insurance premiums rise. Yet ObamaCare does an amazing job of hiding those costs from voters.
The so-called “Cadillac Tax” is a 40 percent excise tax on the value of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain benefit thresholds, estimated to be approximately $10,800 for employee-only plans and $29,100 for family plans when the tax takes effect in 2020.
While the name may imply the tax applies to a few individuals with luxury health coverage, the truth is it extends much further. 175 million Americans – including retirees, low- and moderate-income families, public sector employees, small business owners and the selfemployed – currently depend on employer-sponsored health coverage and they are all at risk.
On behalf of the American Benefits Council, Public Opinion Strategies conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,200 registered voters from January 29 to February 3, 2016. These findings indicate that voter support for the “Cadillac Tax” is dwarfed by support for repeal.
Voters are more likely to re-elect their representative if they voted to repeal the “Cadillac” tax, though a majority of voters say it makes no real difference in their vote, a report out today from the American Benefits Council says.
Overall, 37 percent of voters said their congressman voting to repeal the tax would make them more likely to re-elect their representative, while 16 percent said it would make them less likely to do so. Still, 47 percent said the vote made no difference. The report was released by the Alliance to Fight the 40, a coalition of groups advocating to repeal the tax on high-cost health plans.
When I first answered God’s call to join the Little Sisters of the Poor and vow myself to Him and to the care of the elderly, I never dreamed of the happiness I would experience in serving, living with and caring for the aging poor until God calls them to Himself. I also never thought one day, I would be walking up the white marble steps of the Supreme Court to attend a legal proceeding in which the high court will decide whether the government can force my order to help offer health care services that violate my Catholic faith and that are already available through existing government exchanges.
Both the percentage of employers who offer insurance and the percentage of people covered will be important to watch as the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to unfold. New coverage provisions and financial assistance provided in the ACA affect employers’ decision to offer coverage and employees’ decisions to take up any coverage they are offered at work. The employer shared responsibility provision, for example, requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer coverage to full-time employees and their dependent children or face a financial penalty.
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would require people who improperly receive insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to repay the overpayments.
The bill, offered by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), was approved by a vote of 22-14.
Jenkins told the committee the measure was a “simple bill,” about “good governance” and the “duty to protect the tax dollars of hardworking Americans.”