A project of the Galen Institute

Commentary

Jim Angle
Fox News
Fri, 2014-09-12
"The politically divisive legacy of ObamaCare has vulnerable Democrats trying to downplay their past support of the legislation ahead of Election Day – by criticizing the president’s execution of the law or by sidestepping the issue altogether. Lately, Democrats in tough Senate races have been slamming President Obama for breaking his pledge that everyone could keep their health plans and doctors "no matter what." Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, locked in a race with Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, says of Obama in a recent ad: "This is a promise you made. This is a promise you should keep." Landrieu previously offered legislation requiring people be allowed to keep their plans and doctors and not be forced into ObamaCare, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has yet to schedule a vote on it."
Alyene Senger
The Daily Signal
Thu, 2014-09-11
"Some of Obamacare’s big supporters say the new law has already contributed to decreases in the rate of growth of health spending. But a new report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary says the rate slowed because of a slow economic recovery, increased cost-sharing for those enrolled in private plans and sequestration. Indeed, the report does not mention Obamacare when assessing the situation. “The recent period is marked by a four-year historically low rate of health spending growth, which is primarily attributable to the sluggish economic recovery and constrained state and local government budgets following the 2007-09 recession,” the report states."
The Associated Press
The Washington Post
Thu, 2014-09-11
"On both ends of the Capitol, the parties controlling Congress are happily showcasing futility. Less than two months before pivotal congressional elections, Republicans muscled legislation through the House Thursday letting insurers continue selling health coverage that falls short of standards required by President Barack Obama’s health care law. The measure passed on a 247-167 vote but is sure to die in the Democratic-run Senate, and the White House promised a veto in any event. Even so, the vote let Republicans highlight their repeated efforts to debilitate the health care law.
Drew Altman
Kaiser Family Foundation
Wed, 2014-09-10
"As the image above shows, reporters and pundits–including some of the most respected ones I know–have different takes on the importance of Obamacare as an election issue now that implementation of the law is moving forward and some of the controversy around it has cooled. Observers are split: Some emphasize the law’s decline as a hot political issue, others its staying power as a rallying cry for the right, and a few suggest that the ACA may emerge as an issue Democrats want to run on. Each of these positions may be at least partly right. Obamacare has cooled as an issue now that there isn’t an obvious controversy, such as last fall’s website debacle, to occupy the front pages. But the law, now a more conventional Republican talking point than an outsize rallying cry, is still useful to some Republican candidates as a tool to motivate their anti-Obama base.
Guy Benson
Townhall.com
Wed, 2014-09-10
"Dan wrote up yesterday's Washington Post/ABC News poll, which was jammed with crooked numbers for President Obama. Most striking was the (30/55) majority deeming Obama's presidency "a failure," along with the prevailing opinion that he's divided the country, and his unsightly leadership score. The survey also included a dreadful (38/56) presidential approval rating on the implementation of Obamacare; support for the law itself was also underwater, with an outright majority opposed, despite this polling series' silly question wording that omits any mention of 'Obamacare' or the 'Affordable Care Act.' A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll produces similar findings, with support for the president's signature domestic accomplishment swamped by opposition. It's been this way for years, across hundreds of national surveys. One major reason for the enduring opposition is that the law has violated virtually every major promise erected in dishonest ideologues' sales pitch.
Guy Benson
Townhall.com
Wed, 2014-09-10
" Dan wrote up yesterday's Washington Post/ABC News poll, which was jammed with crooked numbers for President Obama. Most striking was the (30/55) majority deeming Obama's presidency "a failure," along with the prevailing opinion that he's divided the country, and his unsightly leadership score. The survey also included a dreadful (38/56) presidential approval rating on the implementation of Obamacare; support for the law itself was also underwater, with an outright majority opposed, despite this polling series' silly question wording that omits any mention of 'Obamacare' or the 'Affordable Care Act.' A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll produces similar findings, with support for the president's signature domestic accomplishment swamped by opposition. It's been this way for years, across hundreds of national surveys. One major reason for the enduring opposition is that the law has violated virtually every major promise erected in dishonest ideologues' sales pitch.
Dan Mangan
CNBC
Wed, 2014-09-10
"Obamacare is taking a toll on small businesses, according to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, which found billions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs. Take-home pay at small businesses was trimmed by some $22.6 billion annually because of the Affordable Care Act and related insurance premium hikes, researchers at the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank headed by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, found in a report released Tuesday. Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay, the report found."
Bob Laszewski
Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review
Wed, 2014-09-10
"Welcome back from the summer. It's been pretty quiet lately on the Obamacare front. So quiet, that there has been a flurry of articles recently over how Obamacare has dropped to a second or even third tier issue and will hardly matter come election-time. Wishful thinking. Obamacare has largely been out of the news cycle for a couple of months but that is about to change. A few thoughts. The 2015 rate increases have been largely modest. Does that prove Obamacare is sustainable? No. You might recall that on this blog months ago my 2015 rate increase prediction was for increases of 9.9%. You might also recall my reason for predicting such a modest increase. With almost no valid claims data yet and the "3Rs" Obamacare reinsurance program, insurers have little if any useful information yet on which to base 2015 rates and the reinsurance program virtually protects the carrier from losing any money through 2016.
James C. Capretta
Weekly Standard
Wed, 2014-09-10
"Obamacare’s defenders are busy declaring victory again. Ezra Klein is touting a new survey of Obamacare benchmark premiums in some regions of the country as evidence that the law is defying the predictions of critics and working to cut costs rather than increase them. But, as Bob Laszewski notes, the truth about Obamacare implementation is far less rosy than the latest round of cheerleading would indicate. For starters, the federal and state websites remain largely a dysfunctional mess, although the media isn’t really covering the story anymore. The supposed “fix” that allowed millions of consumers to sign up with plans on the exchanges from December through April really wasn’t much of a fix after all. It was a workaround, allowing consumers to access large federal subsidies with minimal verification."
Michael F. Cannon
Cato Institute
Wed, 2014-09-10
"Robert Laszewski, health policy wonk, blogger, and president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, tells Inside Health Insurance Exchanges: The Obama administration has no idea how many people are currently enrolled [in exchanges] but they keep cutting checks for hundreds of millions of dollars a month for insurance subsidies for people who may or may not have paid their premium, continued their insurance, or are even legal residents. And if you think they’re doing those “enrollees” a favor, remember that if it turns out a recipient wasn’t eligible for the subsidy, he or she has to pay the money back. Surprised? Don’t be. This is part of a deliberate, consistent strategy by the Obama administration to throw money at individual voters and key health care industry groups—lawfully or not—to buy support for this consistently unpopular law."

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