The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Republican or Democrat, the next president will have the chance to remake the nation’s health care overhaul without fighting Congress.
The law signed by President Barack Obama includes a waiver that, starting in 2017, would let states take federal dollars now invested in the overhaul and use them to redesign their own health care systems.
States could not repeal some things, such as the requirement that insurance companies cover people with health problems. But they could replace the law’s unpopular mandate that virtually everyone in the country has health insurance, provided the alternative worked reasonably well.
The Daily Signal
California’s health insurance exchange, established under the Affordable Care Act, has been held out as a national model for Obamacare. In some ways—not all of them good—it is. Whether it’s falling far short of 2015 enrollment goals or sending out 100,000 inaccurate tax forms, Covered California is struggling with its share of challenges.
Now, several senior-level officials integral to the launch of Covered California—who enthusiastically support the Affordable Care Act—are speaking about what they view as gross incompetence and mismanagement involving some of the $1 billion federal tax dollars poured into the state effort.
‘Somebody Must Have Been Smoking Something’
Consultant Aiden Hill became a “foxhole convert” to Obamacare in July of 2010 when he lost his insurance, had a serious medical issue and couldn’t get a new policy.
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released a report by finance expert Scot Vorse that shows many states knew as early as 2011 that they might not receive tax credits if they opted out of establishing a state-based health insurance exchange. Whether nonparticipating states had adequate knowledge that they were putting their Obamacare subsidies at risk is a critical question in CEI’s Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell.
Vorse obtained emails related to a January 2012 letter sent by seven states to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While Obamacare supporters have dismissed this letter as a “spoof,” these state emails show the letter was a carefully crafted and coordinated effort by the states to get detailed information about the exchanges from HHS.
The fight over ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion escalated Monday, as Texas’s Republican governor backed a lawsuit from Florida fighting the expansion effort.
Last week, Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced he would sue the Obama administration over what he calls an effort to force the state to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.
Texas’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced his support for the lawsuit.
"When the federal government exceeds its constitutional authority, the States must take action,” Abbott said in a statement. “[I] commend Governor Rick Scott’s decision to take legal action to protect these important constitutional principles.”
At issue is the Obama administration move to link Florida’s rejection of a Medicaid expansion to separate federal funding that helps hospitals in the state care for the uninsured.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced Thursday he is suing the Obama administration as part of an escalating dispute over whether the state will expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.
“It is appalling that President Obama would cut off federal healthcare dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into ObamaCare,” Scott said in a statement Thursday announcing the lawsuit.
Scott is objecting to the Obama administration linking the extension of separate federal money to help hospitals in the state care for the uninsured, known as the Low Income Pool (LIP), to the state’s decision on whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Obama administration says the LIP funding will not be renewed in its current form after June. It says that the future of the program is "linked" to the decision to expand Medicaid, though it stops short of saying it is entirely dependent on it.
It has been five years since the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, was signed into law. The disastrous rollout of the federal marketplace website, Healthcare.gov, is well-known. According to a Bloomberg Government analysis released in September 2014, the cost of Healthcare.gov was more than $2 billion, more than twice the Obama administration's estimates. Appropriately, the federal marketplace has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings.
But state-run websites have also squandered hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars. While the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating some of the problems with state-run websites, much more can and should be done. Every House and Senate committee that oversees healthcare issues should carefully examine the roles played by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), state officials and contractors in the design and implementation of the websites.
Thumbs Down, way down, to everyone responsible for the fiasco known as Nevada Health Link, the state exchange for purchasing health insurance online.
As the deadline to file tax returns arrives tomorrow, we suspect plenty of taxpayers have discovered that Nevada Health Link and Xerox, hired to run the online system but since fired, created an accounting nightmare and cost some exchange customers a chunk of change. What’s worse, those responsible for this nightmare don’t appear to care one bit about the mess they created.
In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, those who purchased insurance through the exchange in 2014 have to report on their tax returns what they paid for premiums and how much they received in tax credits or subsidies for that coverage. The figures are reported in a federal tax form known as a 1095-A. The form is prepared and distributed by the exchange.
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii officials are scrambling to provide information to the federal government to satisfy concerns about financial problems at the state's health exchange.
All state-run insurance exchanges that are part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act are supposed to be financially sustainable this year. But without an infusion of cash, the Hawaii Health Connector won't have enough money for its operations. The Legislature hasn't yet approved the organization's request to issue $28 million in bonds or loans.
Without a solid path to sustainability in place, the federal government is telling the state it may have to eventually move some technology functions to a federal system, said Jeff Kissel, CEO of the Hawaii Health Connector.
"This is a contingency that is being imposed on any state-based exchange that doesn't have a funded sustainability plan in play," Kissel said.
(Reuters) - Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a law on Monday that requires doctors to tell women that drug-induced abortions can be reversed and that blocks the purchase of insurance on the Obamacare health exchange that includes abortion coverage.
The requirement that patients be told that the effects of abortion pills may be undone by using high doses of a hormone was the most hotly contested provision during legislative debate.
Supporters said there was ample evidence the reversal was possible if acted upon quickly, although they provided no peer-reviewed studies in support of their position.
McKenna Long & Aldridge
Breaking with normal tradition, we’re going to open this week’s update with national trends before moving into updates at the federal and state levels. This week there was an interesting report from the Kaiser Family Foundation that estimated that 50 percent of households receiving financial assistance to purchase private health insurance on the Marketplaces will have to return a portion of that subsidy when they file their tax returns as part of the tax credit reconciliation process. Repayments will, in most cases, be deducted from an enrollee’s refund check and the Kaiser report estimates that the average repayment will be $794. Roughly seven percent of enrollees could owe a repayment of between $2,000 and $5,000 and two percent could have to repay more than $5,000. A slightly smaller percentage of households, 45 percent, are estimated to receive additional money with their tax refund because they received underpayments in tax credits, with the average refund estimated to be $773.