A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Exchanges"

Tami Luhby: Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty

CNN
Thu, 2015-01-29
Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year, Treasury officials said Wednesday. It's the first time they have given estimates for how many people will be subject to a fine. The penalty is $95, or 1% of income above a certain threshold (roughly $20,000 for a couple). So you could end up owing the IRS a lot of money. Take a married couple with $100,000 in income - their bill comes to $797, according to the Tax Policy Center ACA penalty calculator. The penalty for remaining uninsured rises to the larger of $325 or 2% of income in 2015. Related: Obamacare 2.0 sign ups hit 9.5 million As millions of Americans sit down in coming weeks to compile their tax returns, they'll have to contend with Obamacare's health insurance mandate for the first time.

Justin Haskins: Endlessly Slapped By ObamaCare

NY Post
Mon, 2015-01-26
“I’m sorry sir,” the polite Healthcare.gov customer-service agent said. “There’s nothing I can do. You’re either going to have to enroll in Medicaid or you’re going to have to pay the full health-insurance rate.” “The rate you quoted earlier?” I asked. “That’s nearly 30 percent higher than my current insurance bill, I just can’t afford it.” “You’ll have to pay the full rate, yes,” the agent replied. “I don’t understand,” I explained. “I have plenty of money to pay you a reasonable rate, but I can’t afford to pay the same rate a millionaire would be asked to pay. Why can’t I just receive a partial subsidy? I’m willing to pay more than what Medicaid offers.” “Sir, that’s just not how the system works.” Right.

Reforming Obamacare: Start With the Young

Real Clear Politics
Wed, 2015-01-21
After the lofty promises that led to passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, young people are waking up to how much the law targets them with higher costs. Yes, those lucky enough to be covered on their parents' health plans can postpone the consequences until they are 26. But for the rest, the situation is grim: Young people face disproportionately high costs to pay for coverage and a crushing burden of taxes that could impede their future prosperity. Young people 20-35 constitute about 20 percent of America's population, but they represent 46 percent of the uninsured -- and, according to an analysis by Manhattan Institute scholar Avik Roy and colleagues, a 25-year-old male living in California and earning just $29,000 a year pays more than $1,140 more per year for health insurance due to the ACA.

More CBO transparency could have prevented Obamacare's CLASS debacle

Washington Examiner
Tue, 2015-01-13
Mere days into a Republican Congress, Democrats are making charges of ideological bias when it comes to the majority’s handling of the Congressional Budget Office. A group of leading Senate Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner specifically noting that “a CBO director should not be required to revise the score of the Affordable Care Act in order to please partisan interests.” It’s an ironic charge, given that it’s far from partisan to question why the CBO failed to perform analyses that could have predicted the collapse of an $86 billion Obamacare program — exactly what happened under its current director, Doug Elmendorf. The program in question, Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS, was designed to provide cash benefits for those needing long-term services and support. CLASS made it into Obamacare at the behest of then-Sen.

Dissecting ObamaCare

CBS 60 Minutes
Mon, 2015-01-12
The following is a script of "Obamacare" which aired on Jan. 11, 2015. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer. This month marks one year since health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act began, and from the president's point of view: so far, so good. More than 10 million Americans who didn't have health insurance before have signed up. But congressional Republicans are gunning for Obamacare. Even if they can't outright repeal it, they want an overhaul. And with the debate just getting underway, author Steven Brill, who has spent the past two years immersing himself in the subject, has come out with a new book, "America's Bitter Pill," that takes a comprehensive look at what the new law does and doesn't do.

Eligible Americans Turn Down Obamacare Tax Credits

US News
Mon, 2015-01-12
By Kimberly Leonard Grace Brewer says she never thought she would be without health insurance at this stage of her life. "I'm a casualty of Obamacare," says Brewer, 60, a self-employed chiropractor in the Kansas City, Kansas, area. She wanted to keep the catastrophic health insurance plan she once had, which she says fit her needs. But under the Affordable Care Act, the government's health care reform law, the plan was discontinued because it did not comply with the law's requirements, and her bills doubled to more than $400 a month. "I wanted a minimal plan and I’m not allowed to have it," she says. "That seems like an encroachment on my freedom." The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Government subsidies can reduce costs for low- and middle-income Americans and without them, many say they could not afford insurance.

What Will Be the Biggest Challenges Facing the ACA in 2015?

American Health Line
Wed, 2015-01-07
The Affordable Care Act faces several challenges in 2015.Which of those will just be bumps in the road, and which ones will become major issues this year? The Potential Headache: Owing the IRS This year will be the first that individuals could potentially need to repay IRS if they incorrectly calculated their projected 2014 income and received subsidies to help purchase exchange coverage that were larger than for which they were eligible. As many as half of the about 6.8 million U.S. residents who received subsidies might have to repay at least a portion of them, according to an estimate by H&R Block.

OBAMACARE: the real pain starts this year

The American Spectator
Tue, 2015-01-06
Obamacare was designed such that its most harmful provisions would not be implemented until after the President had been returned to office for a second term and his Democrat accomplices had been reelected to their congressional seats. Fortunately for the nation, the latter part of that strategy was a spectacular failure. Nonetheless, it did provide the public with a temporary reprieve from the health care law’s most painful exactions. That brief respite is now at an end. This year, you will begin to experience the realities of “reform” first hand and you are not going to like how it feels. In fact, you are probably already feeling the first twinges without recognizing that their source is Obamacare. If you are among the 150 million Americans who get health insurance through their employers, for example, chances are that the coverage your company offered for 2015 has much higher premiums than did last year’s plan.

Is Obamacare Squeezing The Middle Class?

Forbes
Tue, 2015-01-06
Here is something few pundits predicted. Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally going to the doctor’s office for care. But middle-class patients are increasingly staying away. Take Praveen Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Kentucky. The Arlas’ patient load used to be 45% commercially insured and 25% Medicaid. Those percentages are now reversed, report Laura Ungar and Jayne O’Donnell in USA Today. What’s the difference? Medicaid patients generally face no deductible or copayment when they seek care. But people who get health insurance at work or buy it in the (Obamacare) exchanges can face high out-of-pocket costs. Nationwide, the size of the average deductible more than doubled in eight years, from $584 to $1,217 for individual coverage according to the Kaiser Foundation. Deductibles of $1,000 and up are now the workplace norm.

Health Care Fixes Backed by Harvard’s Experts Now Roil Its Faculty

New York Times
Mon, 2015-01-05
WASHINGTON — For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar. Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed. The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees?

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