Bruce Bialosky

Deluged with catastrophes, court challenges and criticism, Obamacare (ACA) has had a controversial life to date. Yet it is ready to enter a completely new phase where the implementation gets shifted to the Internal Revenue Service – America’s favorite three words. If you liked the health care plan up to now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

On Sunday evening, CBS’ 60 Minutes did a feature story on Steven Brill’s new book, America’s Bitter Pill, in which Brill complains that Obamacare didn’t do enough to tackle the exorbitantly high price of U.S. hospital care. “Obamacare does zero to change any of that,” says Brill. That’s not exactly right. What Brill—and CBS—don’t tell you—is that Obamacare is driving hospitals to charge you more than they already do.

The U.S. hospital industry is crony capitalism at its finest

The following is a script of “Obamacare” which aired on Jan. 11, 2015. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer.

This month marks one year since health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act began, and from the president’s point of view: so far, so good. More than 10 million Americans who didn’t have health insurance before have signed up. But congressional Republicans are gunning for Obamacare. Even if they can’t outright repeal it, they want an overhaul.

The complicated process of signing up for Obamacare is now being matched by IRS instructions to help Americans figure out how much in healthcare taxes they owe Uncle Sam.

The agency has issued 21 pages of instructions, complete with links to at least three long forms and nine tip sheets.

It is geared to those who have Obamacare or who owe a fine, dubbed “shared responsibility payment,” for refusing to get health insurance. The IRS warned that everybody must have health insurance or pay the tax.

By Stephanie Armour:
Some free health clinics serving the uninsured are shutting their doors because of funding shortfalls and low demand they attribute to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion.

Nearly a dozen clinics that have closed in the past two years cited the federal health law as a major reason.

The closings have occurred largely in 28 states and Washington, D.C., which all expanded Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income people, and are being heralded by some clinic officials as a sign the health law is reducing the number of uninsured.

Continued at… http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-law-hurts-some-free-clinics-1418429551

With the Supreme Court due to rule on a major ObamaCare legal challenge by next summer, thoughts in Washington are turning to the practical and political response. If the Court does strike down insurance subsidies, the question for Republicans running Congress is whether they will try to fix the problems Democrats created, or merely allow ObamaCare’s damage to grow.

The case for single payer – Medicare for All

By Jeoffry B. Gordon, M.D., M.P.H.
December 3, 2014

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has as its main and overriding purpose the expansion and subsidization of health insurance coverage for many (usually poor and uninsured) Americans who were previously unable to reliably access medical services. Under its auspices, the federal law has provided for health insurance enrollment for 1 million to 3 million additional 19- to 26-year-olds; 6 million new, expanded Medicaid enrollees; and 7.2 million commercial Qualified Health Plan enrollees. Of the latter, about 80 percent qualify for financial subsidy. Taking into account additional factors, e.g. the fact that some of the new enrollees were previously insured, there has been a net gain of about 10 million people who have coverage. Yet even at full expansion, it is estimated that the ACA will not insure another 30 million U.S. residents.

In the 2014 midterm elections, opposition to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare — was a clear political winner. That’s obvious from the election results themselves but also from polling that consistently finds that far more of the electorate disapproves of the law than approves of it.

“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.”

“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.”