Real Clear Politics: 42% Approve, 52.3% Disapprove of the health care law.Details
The IRS cannot be sure that Americans who lacked health insurance last year have complied with Obamacare’s “individual mandate” penalty this tax season, according to an inspector general report Friday that pointed to a decision to delay proof-of-coverage forms from insurers and employers until 2016.
Agency managers told the Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration that a “business decision was made to not develop processes and procedures” to ensure compliance after it decided in 2013 to delay the pair of forms. The documents are sent to both filers and the IRS, allowing the federal government to cross-check what filers say on their returns.
“The transition relief was intended to give the insurer time to adapt its health coverage and reporting systems to comply with the [Affordable Care Act],” the IG report said.Details
Republicans are being ridiculed by the right and the left for weighing ideas that would rescue ObamaCare health insurance policies for people in 37 states if the petitioners prevail in King v Burwell.
“Republicans Are Now Trying To Pass Obamacare Extension To Save Their Own Asses,” writes Allen Clifton in Forward Progressives. “GOP Gets Ready to Save the Day If the Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies,” says Rush Limbaugh.
If the Supreme Court decides against the Obama administration in the case, leaders in Congress are indeed determined to pass legislation to protect coverage for an estimated six million people. ObamaCare has so distorted the market for individually-purchased and small group health insurance that Congress has little choice but to throw them a safety net.Details
If you like your coverage, you can keep your coverage. That’s the pledge leading members of Congress are making to 6 million Americans at risk of losing their health insurance this year because of Obama administration actions.
At issue is a case before the Supreme Court challenging an IRS rule that allowed health insurance subsidies to be paid through exchanges created by the federal government – the infamous healthcare.gov website.
The Affordable Care Act says at least nine times that subsidies are available to citizens only if their state creates an exchange. In the end, 37 states either declined or failed to do so.
Supporters of the ACA are using scare tactics, saying millions of people would lose their subsidies and likely their health insurance if the court decides the IRS rule is illegal.Details
Many have dismissed Rick Scott’s lawsuit against the Obama administration over Medicaid funding as meritless, but the Florida governor might actually be doing everybody a favor. The case could help answer a huge constitutional question left over from the 2012 Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.
That’s right—there’s still more of the landmark ruling that upheld President Obama’s signature domestic policy to pick over.
Scott alleges that the administration is illegally trying to force Florida to expand Medicaid under the health care law by threatening to cut off about $1 billion from a separate federal funding stream which helps hospitals that provide uncompensated care to uninsured people.
The court ruled in 2012 that the federal government couldn’t threaten to cut off all of a state’s existing Medicaid funding, which would wreck any state budget, to compel states to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.Details
Two years in, there’s a lot we still don’t know about Obamacare. How many people will it end up insuring? What will the premiums look like? How much will the program cost?
Some of these questions won’t be answered satisfactorily for a while, if ever. Even the most basic data point, on how many people have gained coverage, comes from Gallup polls and is a little murky. The percentage of people saying they don’t have health insurance has fallen from about 17 as enrollment kicked off to about 12 now. The easing of the recession has presumably helped that.
Other answers, however, will come into focus in the next year or so. The most important being: What will the market for individual insurance look like once Obamacare is in full effect?Details
In 2011, analysts were speculating that Assurant Health might exit the insurance business, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week. So the recent news that Assurant’s parent company was looking to “sell or shut down” the insurance carrier by year’s end was not a total surprise. The issue now is whether its demise holds larger lessons about Obamacare’s impact on insurance markets.
One analyst called Assurant, which reported operating losses of nearly $64 million in fiscal 2014 and $84 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, a “casualty” of the law. The Affordable Care Act “required health plans to cover a package of basic benefits and required health insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care or quality initiatives,” the Journal-Sentinel reported.Details
In its next Obamacare-related decision, the Supreme Court will decide whether employers in states that chose not to establish their own Obamacare exchanges can be forced to pay penalties for not offering insurance the government deems acceptable.
The case is somewhat complicated and based on textual questions and legislative history. But if the court rules that the phrase “established by the state” means what it looks like it means, this will bring a small dose of chaos to up to 37 states that now rely on the federal exchange — the infamous healthcare.gov.
A majority of those who bought insurance from the federal exchanges in those states would no longer be eligible for the subsidies that have made the high price of Obamacare insurance less unpalatable for Americans of modest means. And the employer fines that are currently triggered when employees who aren’t offered qualifying health insurance obtain subsidies to purchase it on the exchange would go away.Details
If ObamaCare were working as well as supporters claim, would New York state have just decided to steer more than half of its subsidized exchange enrollees to a public managed-care plan? New York is the second state after Minnesota to adopt a Basic Health Program for households up to 200% of the poverty level. It’s a government-managed health care option included in the 2010 reform law.
Following Minnesota is a curious move. Minnesota has signed up just 22% of those eligible for exchange coverage, 48th among all states and barely half the U.S. average of 42%, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The MNsure exchange also ranks near the bottom in its share of young-adult enrollees (24.2%) and near the top in its share of adults age 55 and up (33%).
To top it off, PreferredOne quit the Minnesota exchange despite being its dominant insurer in 2014, hardly a vote of confidence.Details
Waste: After spending billions on state-run ObamaCare exchanges, the federal government is only now writing clear rules on how that money can be spent, while half of the exchanges head toward bankruptcy.
state-run exchanges were supposed to form the beating heart of ObamaCare. And the Obama administration dumped almost $5 billion in an effort to make it a reality.
The results have been a disaster.
Of the 37 states that received $2.1 billion in grants to establish an exchange, only 17 did so, and they got an additional $2.7 billion from the feds.
Of those 17, two went bankrupt in the first year. One of them, Oregon, had received a $60 million “early innovator grant.” Residents of those states now use the federal Healthcare.gov site.
A memo from Health and Human Services’ Inspector General Daniel Levinson warns that some of the remaining may be violating federal law in an effort to stay afloat.Details