“The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, setting the stage for oral arguments by March and a decision in late June as the 2012 presidential campaign enters its crucial final months… The court scheduled five and a half hours of arguments instead of the usual one, a testament to the importance of the case, and the court’s ruling a few months later will present opportunities and challenges for the presidential contenders as well as for candidates in the battle for control of Congress.”

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“Before the ink was dry on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), the wheels started to fall off. Lawsuits were immediately filed challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate, small businesses wanted the burdensome 1099 requirement immediately repealed, and coalitions were formed to overturn other costly provisions of the law…Thankfully the Supreme Court has decided to take up our case, among others, challenging the individual mandate and whether or not it is ‘severable’ from the rest of the law.”

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“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) — the new health reform law — contains financial incentives for the states to establish health insurance exchanges where qualifying individuals and small businesses can purchase subsidized, individual health insurance, starting in 2014.
The structure of the exchange subsidies will encourage low-income workers to congregate in companies that do not provide insurance and high-income employees to work for firms that do provide it.”

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“Lawyers on both sides of the lawsuits over President Obama’s healthcare law were caught off guard Monday when the Supreme Court said it would debate whether the law’s Medicaid expansion is constitutional. The high court was widely expected to take up the law’s individual mandate, and to take the case filed by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business. But the court’s decision to also hear the states’ Medicaid challenge came as a surprise to the healthcare law’s critics as well as its supporters.”

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“As demand outstrips supply we can expect large increases in waiting time for services and a price war for providers between Medicaid and commercial insurers. Regardless of the administration’s arguments, little in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) addresses this dynamic. Increases in primary care physician fees, funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers, and national health services corps slots don’t build any new physician capacity; they only drive more competition for limited physicians and fuel a price war. It is likely the administration is relying on the Independent Payment Advisory Board and their new premium rate review power over private insurance to try to control prices, but waiting lines and an increased reliance on the emergency room will be a new fact of life.”

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“Even if ObamaCare survives Supreme Court scrutiny next spring, its trials will be far from over. That’s because the law has a major glitch that threatens its basic functioning. It’s so problematic, in fact, that the Obama administration is now brazenly trying to rewrite the law without involving Congress.”

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“Yesterday, I interviewed U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, about the near complete absence of market signals in health care in the U.S., the future of medical innovation under the Affordable Care Act, and how providers – finally – might be coming around to the view that a market-based, patient-centered health care system is the only thing that will save them from gradual strangulation under IPAB’s price control regime.”

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“By all means, let’s pursue every avenue and let us make sure that our laws are in their proper relation to the Constitution. But the core case against Obamacare must be a sustained political case made on policy grounds, and the means to undo the law as a whole and pursue real reform will present themselves not next summer when the Court rules but next fall when the public does. Let us not forget it, and not lose our focus and resolve.”

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“The federal insurance subsidies and tax credits are among the few popular features of the law. But they won’t remain that way as Americans learn more about them. ObamaCare provides subsidies to those whose incomes fall between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and who do not have access to federally defined “affordable” coverage through their employer. All other Americans — including those in the exact same income bracket — will not be eligible to receive subsidies.”

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“Medical device maker Stryker Corp said it will cut 5 percent, or about 1000 jobs to largely offset costs related to the scheduled implementation of the new Medical Device Excise Tax in 2013.”

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