“The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers.”

“The need for health care reform has never been questioned by health care policy analysts on either side of the political spectrum. Furthermore, the broad goals of controlling costs, improving quality, and expanding access are widely shared. Yet, while both sides agree that reform is necessary, the policy solutions differ dramatically, most importantly on the question of who controls the key decisions in health care. During the public campaign in support of President Obama’s health plan, the President made numerous promises to the American people about the law’s effect on everyday Americans. Four years into its implementation, it is growing ever apparent that these promises have all but vanished. Four Heritage Foundation health policy experts detail the five main promises that President Obama broke, and present a fresh way for sustainable and patient-centered, market-based health care reform.”

“The Obama administration predicted Monday that the number of people with health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces will be significantly lower by the end of next year than previous government estimates.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced that, by the end of 2015, 9 million to 9.9 million Americans probably will be in health plans sold through the federal and state insurance exchanges created under the health-care law. The administration’s expectations are as much as roughly 30 percent beneath the most recent prediction of the Congressional Budget Office that 13 million people will have health coverage through these exchanges next year.”

“The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear the most serious challenge to the Affordable Care Act since the justices found it constitutional more than two years ago: a lawsuit targeting the federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance.
More than 4 million people receive the subsidies, which the Obama administration contends are essential to the act by making insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income families.”

“President Reagan gauged the success of a welfare program by how quickly people were able to move off government assistance and into remunerative work. Yet President Obama, the White House, and their allies are measuring the success of Obamacare by how many people can be enrolled in their new government entitlement programs.
The president celebrated the law’s “success” in getting seven million people enrolled in Medicaid and eight million (or so) people enrolled in exchange coverage, 87 percent of whom are receiving government subsidies for their insurance. And he hopes to lure another five million people onto Obamacare programs starting with the November 15 enrollment period. There is no expectation that participation in these government programs will be a temporary boost but rather that they will become a permanent fixture in people’s lives.”

“Tuesday’s re-election of Republican governors in closely contested races in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine and Kansas dims the chances of Medicaid expansion in those states.
Advocates hoping for Democratic victories in those states were disappointed by the outcomes, but Alaska, which also has a Republican incumbent, remains in play as an independent challenger holds a narrow lead going into a count of absentee ballots.
“No one would say it was a good night for the prospects of Medicaid expansion,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University.”

“A lot of attention has been paid to what a shift in control of the Senate in the midterms might mean for the Affordable Care Act and other big policy issues. As ACA implementation has shifted to the states, governor’s races may be just as important, particularly when it comes to whether states expand Medicaid.
Six of the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid have toss-up governor’s races: Alaska, where Republican incumbent Sean Parnell is running against independent Bill Walker; Florida, the most closely watched race, where former governor Charlie Christ, now running as a Democrat, is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott; Georgia, where incumbent Republican Nathan Deal is trying to hold off Democratic state legislator Jason Carter; Kansas, where state legislator Paul Davis is challenging Gov. Sam Brownback; and Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker is being challenged by Mary Burke; and Maine, where Democratic state legislator Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler are running against Gov. Paul LePage.”

“Health insurers increasingly are building and staffing bricks-and-mortar retail centers to potentially expand their membership base and, most importantly for now, enhance their brand image with the public.
The retail approach represents a major pivot in insurer tactics to grow their books of business brought on by changes in how consumers get insurance thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

“Most of us have long realized that the New York Times’ standards are low. Just look at who the Gray Lady endorses for president and other high political offices. But even we were a little surprised at what little it takes for the editors to call Obamacare a success.
The Times poses the question “Is the Affordable Care Act Working?” Given all the ACA’s problems, one could be forgiven for thinking it was a rhetorical question. It wasn’t. The paper asserts, “After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows.””

“Plans to find a way to expand Medicaid eligibility for Tennessee residents aren’t moving as quickly as expected, Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday morning.
The governor said he continues to work with federal health officials to find a solution that will work, but it’s taking longer than he had hoped.
“I would have hoped we would have made more progress by now, after the meeting we had up there five or six weeks ago,” Haslam said Tuesday morning after speaking at an education conference in Nashville.”