“The implementation of the Affordable Care Act seems like an unending nightmare. Desperate for some good news, the White House is justly relieved and celebrating the fact that the government website is not plagued with last year’s disasters.
But other big challenges loom, including the administration of the law’s hideously complex insurance subsidy system, as well as coverage and cost problems.”
“Former Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who infamously presided over HealthCare.gov’s flop, swore Monday that her administration was “forthright with the American public” about Obamacare.
“We were very forthright with the American public — I think members of Congress who wrote this legislation were very forthright,” Sebelius said on CNN’s “New Day.” “It was both about — having affordable coverage was certainly a piece of it, but also people getting coverage they didn’t have.””
“The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that just prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment beginning this past Saturday, the uninsured remained largely unaware of its start, although about half of the uninsured expect to get health insurance in the next few months and seven in ten say that health insurance is something they need. Opinion on the law remains similar to past months – 46 percent say they have an unfavorable view of the law and 37 percent say they have a favorable view. Americans are divided as to what Congress should do next on the law – 29 percent say they support repealing the law entirely, 17 percent say they support scaling back what the law does, 20 percent support moving ahead with the law as is, and 22 percent feel that the law should be expanded. But like opinion on the law overall, partisans fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. The public has no expectation that debate on the ACA will die down soon; a finding that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Most say that now that the midterm elections are over the amount of partisan debate will increase or stay about the same. Finally, on the heels of the midterm elections, few voters (9 percent) named health care as one of the two most important factors in their vote, ranking 5th behind partisan control of Congress (27 percent), a candidate’s platform (18 percent), the economy and jobs (17 percent), dissatisfaction with government (16 percent) and similar to a candidate’s personal characteristics (9 percent).”
“With round two of Obamacare enrollment here, New York’s policymakers should take stock of where the Empire State is and where it’s heading.
Take the state’s Medicaid program. Post-Obamacare, Medicaid enrollment has grown by over 7 percent to 6.1 million people: nearly 1 in 3 New Yorkers now receive coverage through the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor. New York’s Medicaid spending, among the highest in the country, makes up about 30 percent of the state budget.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Democrats took a serious one-two punch last week. First, they suffered their second consecutive mid-term “wave” election on Tuesday, losing the Senate in the process. Then on Friday, the Supreme Court announced it would review yet another Obamacare case that Obamacare champion Ron Pollack of Families USA said represented “the most serious existential threat” of the moment to the president’s signature piece of domestic policy legislation.
Consequently, conservative health reformers now have a platinum opportunity  to drastically overhaul or perhaps even replace the most misguided law enacted in recent memory. But taking advantage of this historic opportunity will require an exquisite balancing of speed and shrewdness.”
“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:”