With the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment period to begin in less than two weeks, federal officials are racing to fix new features of HealthCare.gov that are supposed to make it easy for consumers to find insurance plans that cover their doctors and prescription drugs.Details
A school district in Tennessee is shutting classroom doors because of the added costs of Obamacare. Jerry Strong, the Clay County Director of Schools, told the Associated Press, “the Affordable Care Act… has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law.” The school district was already struggling with their budget, “struggling with budget concerns for three years.”Details
Among many other changes to the health care system, the ACA created an expansion of Medicaid – made optional by the Supreme Court in 2012 – funded largely by federal dollars. Thus far, 30 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the Medicaid expansion. And as should be expected, states that expanded the program have seen spending grow much faster than those that didn’t. In a recent report, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that total Medicaid spending grew nearly 18 percent in expansion states, though the state share of growth was relatively low (less than 4 percent). And while health care has remained relatively quiet as a campaign issue, Governors Kasich and Christie – both Republican presidential hopefuls – expanded Medicaid (and both have defended this expansion) in their respective states.Details
In a significant win for House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans, a federal judge Monday denied a request by the Obama administration to immediately appeal whether the House of Representatives has the legal right to challenge a provision of the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled last month that one part of the challenge could go forward because the House had shown it had the standing necessary to bring the case. Lawyers for the Obama administration — concerned by what they called an unprecedented ruling on the threshold issue of standing — sought to appeal Collyer’s ruling before her court heard arguments on the underlying merits of the case.Details
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush released his 2016 health plan on Tuesday, including a 10-page background paper that fleshed out a shorter summary outline. The good news is that it’s more serious and detailed than the handful of plans offered by his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. The better news is that it tries to suggest several steps beyond the standard “repeal and replace” orthodoxy regarding Obamacare.Details
The math is harsh: The federal penalty for having no health insurance is set to jump to $695, and the Obama administration is being urged to highlight that cold fact in its new pitch for health law sign-ups.
That means the 2016 sign-up season starting Nov. 1 could see penalties become a bigger focus for millions of people who have remained eligible for coverage, but uninsured. They’re said to be squeezed for money, and skeptical about spending what they have on health insurance.Details
Just about every presidential campaign’s policy plans leave a lot of blanks and rhetorical placeholders, to be filled in later. They also straddle conflicting pressure points and dodge inevitable tradeoffs. The preference is to point in a general, and seemingly more popular, direction, without offering too many instructions for how to traverse the complicated path from here to there. On top of that, the limited attention spans of most voters, let alone candidates, cannot be taxed too much (unlike their incomes).Details
No good deeds go unpunished in national politics, so let’s look a little closer under the hood of the Jeb Bush health plan unveiled earlier this week.
Attracting the most rubbernecking attention is the former Florida governor’s endorsement of a cap on the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, as an alternative to Obamacare’s Cadillac tax on high-cost employer plans.Details
Public opposition to ObamaCare has lasted far longer than its authors imagined. Unsubsidized consumers avoid ObamaCare coverage. Twenty states have rejected its Medicaid expansion. Congress wants to repeal it. President Obama and the Supreme Court have repeatedly amended and expanded it, transforming the statute Congress enacted into an illegitimate law that no Congress ever had the votes to pass, and making repeal not just an economic imperative but necessary to restore the Constitution’s system of checks and balances.Details
Many people who get their health insurance through companies with more than 100 full-time employees can expect rate increases of about 15 to 20 percent next year.
Rates vary from company to company with some receiving no increase, some seeing rates drop, and some receiving increases of more than 30 percent.
Some employees may also pay more for out-of-pocket expenses in the form of higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance.Details