“Robert Pear of the New York Times recently described the “symbiotic” relationship between the Obama Administration and health insurers. It was not always so:
“But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.
“Insurers and the government have developed a symbiotic relationship, nurtured by tens of billions of dollars that flow from the federal Treasury to insurers each year,” said Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato CATO -1.93% Institute.”

“The pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare coupled with a small provision buried in the law could give Republicans in the new Congress the opportunity to power-boost free-market health reform.
The high court will hear arguments, likely in March, on whether the Obama administration had legal authority to allow tax subsidies to flow through the health insurance exchange established by the federal government.”

“Retired Dallas police Sgt. Tom Wafer recently received a call from a commander that “shocked the fool” out of him: The city can’t let him or any of his fellow retirees watch police surveillance camera feeds anymore when the year is over because of an obscure provision of the Affordable Care Act.
City officials say they had to cut Wafer, 74, along with two dozen other retired officers because the health care law put them in a costly bind. The layoffs also affect a few other city agencies but hit the Dallas Police Department hardest.”

“Any plan Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration presents for expanding Medicaid would have a tough time getting through the state legislature.
A key House member said Tuesday it would probably be premature to consider expanding Medicaid next year with the future of the federal health care law uncertain.”

“State lawmakers on Tuesday voiced their continued frustration with the technical problems still afflicting the Washington Healthplanfinder insurance exchange.
On Saturday, the first day of enrollment for the second round of insurance signups on the exchange, the site was live for only a couple of hours before a technical error was discovered and the exchange was taken offline for repairs. Meanwhile, first-round problems involving the transfer of payment information from the exchange to insurance companies have not been corrected, despite assurances they would be fixed by now.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear King v. Burwell, an important case about Obamacare’s subsidies (tax credits) to health insurers. Plaintiffs argue that in the 36 states with federal Obamacare exchanges, subsidies cannot be paid legally. If no subsidies can be paid, neither the individual mandate to buy health insurance nor the employer mandate to offer insurance can be enforced.
Few people would voluntarily buy health insurance from an Obamacare exchange if health insurers on the exchanges did not receive subsidies to enroll people. The premiums would be too high otherwise. Experts expect that the Supreme Court might decide on King v. Burwell in July, in which case Obamacare will end with a bang.”

“Imagine what would have happened in the midterm elections if the Jonathan Gruber videos had emerged a week before November 4th than the week after. Actually, we don’t have to imagine it, at least not entirely. There is one more Senate race still left to settle, and it looks like Gruber will play a big part in the finale for Mary Landrieu in Louisiana:
I included this in last night’s QOTD, but it’s worth its own look here. The attack strategy in the last two cycles of “Senator X was the deciding vote on ObamaCare” had a mixed track record. The exposure of Gruber’s remarks makes the attack work better than it did in the past, though. It makes each Democrat complicit in the lies and deceptions of ObamaCare which may resonate better than opposition to the law itself. The sheer arrogance of Gruber’s remarks will rub most voters raw.”

“By now you’re aware of the red hot ‘federal subsidies’ controversy, yes? The star of the show at the moment is one Jonathan Gruber — a famed economist and top Obamacare architect — who’s been caught repeatedly lying about the law he helped design, while smirking about the “stupidity” of the American people. Gruber’s performance has become so harmful to The Cause that Nancy Pelosi is now pretending she doesn’t know who he is:”

“The Supreme Court has granted cert. in King v. Burwell, one of four cases challenging the IRS’s ongoing expansion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s main taxing and spending provisions beyond the clear and unambiguous limits imposed by Congress. Here I will attempt to dispel common myths surrounding these “Obamacare” cases.”

“As Bob Laszewski so aptly explained over the summer, there are reasons why the White House delayed the 2015 Obamacare enrollment period until after the midterm elections. CBS News summarizes several of the unhappy developments consumers will encounter in the coming days and weeks:”