A project of the Galen Institute
Investor's Business Daily
02/25/15
The Department of Health and Human Services is prescribing an extra dose of two of ObamaCare's most bitter medicines for 2016. The maximum deductible will rise to $6,850, up 3.8% from this year's $6,600 ceiling and about 8% above 2014's $6,350 limit. Meanwhile, the penalty for employers that don't offer coverage to most full-timers will rise a like amount to $2,160 per employee, up from this year's $2,080 fine. The original $2,000 fine never applied, because it was bumped up a notch after a year's delay.
Independent Women's Forum
02/25/15
On March 4, 2015, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell. The key issue in this case is how the government may provide subsidies to people buying health insurance through government exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. This case could also determine whether millions of Americans are free from the law’s onerous mandates and fines. There are effectively two categories of exchanges: those “Established by a State” (described in Section 1311 of the law’s text) and the federal exchange (described in Section 1321). The statute authorizes the federal government to provide subsidies to enrollees in the state-established exchanges, but not the federal exchange. When it became clear that many states — today as many as 37 — would not establish their own exchanges, the IRS issued a rule in 2012 allowing those who purchase insurance through the federal exchange to also receive subsidies. Plaintiffs in King v.
CBS San Fransisco
02/20/15
DANVILLE (KPIX 5) – Tens of thousands of people who buy their health insurance through Covered California will get an unpleasant surprise when they file taxes this year. Stacy Scoggins gets plenty of mail from Covered California, but the one tax form the agency was required to send her by February 2nd still hasn’t arrived. “After being on hold for 59 minutes, they told me that the 1095-A was never generated,” Scoggins told KPIX 5 ConsumerWatch. She’s talking about the 1095-A form, a document required for enrollees to file their tax returns. It’s a problem, for the recent widow who desperately needs to file now.
Forbes
02/20/15
As the SCOTUS oral arguments in King v. Burwell draw near, the cacophony from liberal outlets is nearly deafening. The plaintiffs’ position is “absurd ,” they cry. Congress “never contemplated withholding premium subsidies” in noncooperative states. Even the Obama administration argued that “it would have been perverse for Senators concerned about federalism to insist on pressuring States to participate in the implementation of a federal statute.”[1] Perverse? Jonathan Gruber (whose position on the issue is “complicated”[2]) is equally disdainful, calling the challengers’ stance “nutty,” “stupid,” and a “screwy interpretation” of the law. Really? Were Obamacare architects incapable of using “sticks” masquerading as “carrots” to coerce states into setting up Exchanges?
Fox News
02/20/15
The Obama administration revealed Friday that it sent about 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers a tax form containing the wrong information, and asked them to hold off on filing their 2014 taxes. The self-inflicted bungle follows weeks of administration officials touting a successful enrollment season -- one that saw far fewer technical glitches than the rocky launch in late 2013. About 11.4 million people signed up this season. But the errors in tax information mean that nearly 1 million people may have to wait longer to get their tax refunds this year.
CBS News
02/19/15
If you're among the roughly 20 million people affected by the Affordable Care Act -- either because you bought insurance through health exchanges or will be subject to penalties or exemptions for failing to get coverage -- filing a tax return just got a lot harder. Indeed, potentially millions of people who never before had to file tax returns will now need to file as the result of the health law. The ACA, better known as Obamacare, has put health insurance in reach for millions of Americans by setting up subsidies for those who otherwise couldn't afford to buy coverage. However, the subsidies that may appear to simply lower the cost of insurance premiums are actually "advance premium tax credits" that are paid directly to health insurers.
The Wall Street Journal
02/19/15
The debate over ObamaCare has obscured another important example of government meddling in medicine. Starting this year, physicians like myself who treat Medicare patients must adopt electronic health records, known as EHRs, which are digital versions of a patient’s paper charts. If doctors do not comply, our reimbursement rates will be cut by 1%, rising to a maximum of 5% by the end of the decade. To continue reading please go to the Wall Street Journal
Politico
02/18/15
Behind the scenes, HealthCare.gov is still a mess. The “back end” of the Obamacare website still isn’t properly wired to the health insurance companies. It’s slow going for health plans to make sure the 11.4 million people who have signed up end up in the right plan. Subsidy payments aren’t automated, so the insurers get payments based on estimates. And adding information like a marriage or the birth of a child is a convoluted, multi-step process.
The Washington Post
02/18/15
The Obamacare window technically just closed this weekend, but a new round of political headaches could just be beginning for the administration. That's because it's tax season, and many Americans could soon be getting an unwelcome surprise that they owe the government a penalty for skipping health insurance coverage. Up to 6 million Americans are expected to pay a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, according to recent Obama administration projections. The 2014 penalty for this tax season is $95, or 1 percent of family income — purposefully on the weaker side to let people adjust to this new coverage scheme. Most of the uninsured won't actually face the penalty because they'll qualify for an exemption, either related to their inability to afford coverage or some other hardship.
Governing
02/18/15
Facing high costs but smaller budgets, states like Hawaii and Rhode Island are struggling to find financially and politically sustainable ways to keep their health exchanges running. Jeff Kissel’s first task when he took over Hawaii’s health exchange was making sure it worked after a botched first year, but a close second was finding a way to pay for it. The former gas utility CEO is now lobbying his legislature -- what he calls "taking a forceful stand for why this business decision works"-- to keep the exchange's lights on.

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