A project of the Galen Institute
The Associated Press
Sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law doesn't start for another couple of months, but the next few days are crucial for hundreds of thousands of customers at risk of losing financial aid when they renew coverage for 2016. Call them tardy tax filers: an estimated 1.8 million households that got subsidies for their premiums last year but failed to file a 2014 tax return as required by the law, or left out key IRS paperwork.
The Hill
Most politicians like to rhapsodize about small businesses – Main Street as opposed to Wall Street – even if their contributions and voting records betray a preference for the latter. A leading claim made in support of passage of the Affordable Care Act was it would be good for small businesses. In his September 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama touted the benefits for small businesses buying through an exchange: “As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage. This is how large companies and government employees get affordable insurance.”
The Kansas City Star
Typical federal government right hand/left hand confusion has some graduate students at the University of Missouri in Columbia turning their pockets inside out to scrape together enough money to afford health benefits. On one hand, Obama administration education officials are pushing for colleges and universities to ease the rising cost of attending college, increase institutional need-based scholarships and do whatever they can to help students avoid drowning in student-loan debt. Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article31634975.html#storylink=cpy
Bloomberg BNA
Problems with tax filings are jeopardizing the Affordable Care Act subsidies of about 40 percent of households that received them in 2014, according to an analysis of Internal Revenue Service data by the American Action Forum. Some of the taxpayers failed to file the appropriate form, while others didn't file any tax paperwork, according to the analysis, which was based on a letter to Congress from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
About 950,000 new customers selected a health insurance plan on Healthcare.gov during the special enrollment period (SEP) from Feb. 23 to June 30, and 15 percent of those people signed up during tax season to avoid paying a fee for lack of coverage. New data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that a total of 143,707 individuals took advantage of the tax season SEP, which ran from March 15 to April 30. This was fewer individuals than expected, The Hill notes, which means the Obama administration still has work to do to convince uninsured Americans to sign up for coverage to avoid the fine.
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times reported last week on the Obama administration, in an effort “to avoid another political uproar over the Affordable Care Act,” urging state insurance commissioners to hold down premium increases for 2016. The Times cited a letter that Kevin Counihan, who oversees the federal insurance exchanges, sent to state commissioners last month asking states “to carefully consider as you make your final rate decisions” several factors the administration said would contribute to more moderate cost increases than those already experienced.
The Wall Street Journal
Almost 950,000 new customers selected health coverage on HealthCare.gov outside of the open-enrollment period after they became eligible due to changes such as losing their employer-provided insurance or having a baby, according to a government report on the federal health insurance exchange.
US News & World Report
Despite concerns over the continued rise in health care spending and questions over what contributions President Barack Obama's health care law will make to the federal deficit, a left-leaning group says what the government actually needs to do is spend more money on Obamacare. This position was published Tuesday in a paper by the Urban Institute, which said the Affordable Care Act will not work as intended without another $559 billion over the next decade.
Obamacare continues to be haunted by its complexity. The federal insurance exchange created under the health law doesn’t effectively verify critical information about applicants’ income and citizenship—information that is used to determine whether an applicant qualifies for federal subsidies—according to a new report by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General. It’s the latest confirmation of continuing technical troubles for the health care law, and yet another indication of how difficult it's proving to get the law to work as intended.

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