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Elizabeth Slattery, The Heritage Foundation
Tue, 2014-08-05
"Last week, the House of Representatives voted to authorize Speaker John Boehner to file a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s failure to fully implement Obamacare. Specifically, the lawsuit will challenge the administration’s delay of the employer mandate—requiring many employers to provide health insurance or pay a fine—that was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1. It’s clear President Obama repeatedly has abused executive power to circumvent Congress and essentially rewrite the law, but this lawsuit still raises a host of questions."
Michael Cannon, Cato Institute
Mon, 2014-08-04
"In an oped for Politico, I explain why ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber’s 2012 admissions that “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits” matter to the ongoing litigation over the Obama administration issuing those subsidies in federal Exchanges, and why Gruber’s attempts to explain his own words away are not credible. Shortly after submitting that piece, I learned Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt found Gruber’s remarks relevant enough to ask a federal court hearing one of those cases to take notice. Gruber’s repeated remarks contradict the Obama administration’s legal argument, made in Halbig v. Burwell and three related lawsuits, that it is implausible that Congress would have conditioned those subsidies on states establishing Exchanges. His remarks likewise contradict the amicus briefs Gruber himself filed in two of those cases. (Here’s my response to those briefs.)"
Chris Conover, Forbes
Mon, 2014-08-04
"Did you hear the great news? According to the latest Medicare Trustees report, “Medicare isn’t going bankrupt,” and Vox has a chart to prove it! Not only that, “slow health cost growth has improved Medicare’s financial outlook, extending the program’s trust fund to last until 2030.” That’s four years longer than last year’s forecast! It all sounds great until you hear what Vox unaccountably elected not to tell its readers.
Chris Conover, Forbes
Mon, 2014-08-04
"If being uninsured were no big deal, presumably Obamacare never would have been enacted. The whole premise of the law is that being uninsured is a bad thing, so it’s well worth wielding a few carrots and sticks to get people into coverage. Unfortunately, Obamacare has had to break more than a few eggs along the way. One of the presumably unintended consequences of this misguided law is the fashion in which it encourages some young adults to become uninsured. These are the very young people that the Exchanges need to sign up for coverage if they are to avoid a death spiral. It may seem puzzling that a law that both hands out subsidies to encourage coverage and imposes penalties on those who do not could possibly increase the incentive to become or remain uninsured."
Drew Altman, Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-08-04
"Court decisions can have huge policy implications. Because judges are not policy experts, statistical modelers or economists, and because these are inexact sciences anyway, the policy implications of judicial rulings may not be fully appreciated when they are made. A good example is the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made Medicaid expansion optional for states. It’s hard to imagine that the justices had any idea that their decision would leave 4.8 million low-income people in a coverage gap without insurance in states that chose not to expand, or that 10 million slightly higher-income people would get tax credits to help them buy coverage in those same states. (Not that those things may, or should have, changed the justices’ conclusion.) Now let’s consider Halbig v. Burwell, a case in which recent appeals court rulings made headlines. Halbig, which raises questions about whether the U.S.
Michael A. Memoli, Lisa Mascaro
Mon, 2014-08-04
"Six months ago, a House Republican campaign official listed the top three issues that would propel the party's candidates to victory in the midterm election: "Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare.". It was a strategy that worked well in 2010, when GOP electoral gains were fueled primarily by a high-profile campaign to repeal the newly passed Affordable Care Act. But now, months removed from the political storm that resulted from the botched rollout of the law and as more Americans begin receiving healthcare under the program, many Republicans have a more nuanced view of its importance. House Republicans are broadening their once-singular focus on the healthcare law and headed into an extended summer break without delivering on their promise to advance an alternative."
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal
Fri, 2014-08-01
"Andrew Slavitt, a former executive at the technology company tasked with “saving” HealthCare.gov and now second in command at the agency overseeing Obamacare, yesterday ran into sharp questions from a House panel about a potential conflict of interest in his new role. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., pressed Slavitt on his previous job at OptumInsight/QSSI and that company’s continuing involvement with HealthCare.gov. “How are you able to manage your former employer, and doesn’t this create a conflict of interest?” Griffith asked Slavitt during the new Obamacare official’s testimony before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Slavitt, the new principal deputy administrator at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, didn’t go into specifics, but said he had limited contact with his former employer.
Drew Altman, Wall Street Journal
Fri, 2014-08-01
"The annual report from the Social Security and Medicare trustees predicted that Medicare will be solvent until 2030, four years later than the trustees predicted last year. That’s thanks to the recent slowdown in Medicare spending and a stronger economy that yields higher revenue through payroll tax contributions to the Medicare trust fund. The administration and congressional Democrats are taking credit for elements of the Affordable Care Act that have helped to slow the growth in Medicare spending, and they warn against changes to Medicare that they fear would shift costs to seniors and undermine the program. Republicans, however, see little good in the trustees’ report. “Don’t be fooled by the news that Medicare has a few more years of solvency,” Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, said in a statement.
Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News
Fri, 2014-08-01
"Florida Blue, the state’s largest health insurer, is increasing premiums by an average of 17.6 percent for its Affordable Care Act exchange plans next year, company officials say. The nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate blames higher health costs as a result of attracting older adults this year who previously lacked coverage and are using more services than expected. Florida insurance regulators plan to release rate information for all companies next week. The exchange plans cover individuals who aren’t covered by employer-based policies. Florida Blue offers many plans. The 40 percent of its individual policyholders who chose “narrow network” plans called BlueSelect that limit coverage to fewer doctors and hospitals will see rates rise by an average of 13 percent. Critics of the health law have predicted big rate hikes in the second year of the online marketplaces.
Kaiser Health News
Fri, 2014-08-01
"The health law’s unpopularity among the public rose sharply in July with a surge of disapproval from people who had been agnostic about it in recent months, a poll released Friday shows. The law is as unpopular as it has been since it was enacted four years ago. The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 53 percent of the public had an unfavorable view of the law in July, the highest level since the law was passed in 2010. It was up from 45 percent in June. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) The law’s unpopularity hit similar levels several times since passing, most recently in January when 50 percent of people disliked it. Support for the law in July remained about the same as in June, with 37 percent supporting it.

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