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Issue: "Liberty & Limited Government"

Richard Pollock: Health Industry Paid Acting CMS Chief Millions When He Joined Gov’t

The Daily Caller
Mon, 2015-03-30
When Andy Slavitt reported for work as deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last June 10, he pocketed at least $4.8 million in tax-free income from major health-care companies. That’s according to financial disclosure forms obtained by The Daily Caller, now published for the first time. On June 27, he sold additional stock he personally held, raising his total windfall from the health industry to $7.2 million. United Health Group was Slavitt’s most recent private sector employer. The financial disclosure documents permit the public to examine for the first time Slavitt’s financial relationship with United Health Group, which is the largest health insurance company in the nation.

Michael Cannon: Why the Supreme Court will overrule the IRS

The Richmond Times Dispatch
Mon, 2015-03-30
Kevin Pace is a jazz musician who teaches music appreciation in Northern Virginia. When the IRS announced it would impose the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate here in the Old Dominion, Pace’s employer cut hours for part-time professors in order to avoid steep penalties. Pace lost $8,000 in income. That would be bad enough if the penalties the IRS is now imposing on Virginia employers were legal. Yet two federal courts have held they are not. In King v.

Joseph Antos and James C. Capretta: Unpacking The Burr-Hatch-Upton Plan

Health Affairs Blog
Tue, 2015-03-24
Anticipating the upcoming Supreme Court decision on King v. Burwell, which could halt health insurance subsidies available through the federal exchange, Republican Senators Richard Burr and Orrin Hatch joined with Representative Fred Upton to propose a comprehensive replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, or Patient CARE Act, is modeled on a proposal of the same name offered last year by Senators Burr, Hatch, and Tom Coburn, who has retired from the Senate. The Burr-Hatch-Upton plan, like its predecessor, adopts consumer-based reforms of the insurance market, modernizes the Medicaid program, and makes other changes intended to lower cost and increase choices. In an earlier post, we described in detail the provisions of the Burr-Coburn-Hatch bill. In this post, we discuss how the Burr-Hatch-Upton plan differs from the earlier proposal.

Sean Higgins: Dem senators warn Obamacare rule 'particularly harmful and disruptive'

The Washington Examiner
Tue, 2015-03-24
Six Democratic senators and one independent have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to a delay a new rule that would likely force small businesses to pay more for employee health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The senators warn that if the administration goes ahead with the change it would be "particularly harmful and disruptive" to small businesses. Starting in 2016, the Obamacare change will require businesses that employ between 51-100 people to purchase insurance in what the government defines as the "small group market," rather than the market for large group plans. The senators warn that the change will inflate health care costs for those businesses. "[T]hey could experience higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage.

Edmund Haislmaier: Did 14.1 Million People Gain Health Coverage? Fact Checking the Obama Administration’s Claim

The Daily Signal
Tue, 2015-03-24
Looking closer, the 6.3 million-person enrollment drop in fully insured employee plans represents a sudden 10 percent decline in a market that previously had been eroding by about 1 percent to 3 percent a year. In contrast, the 1.4 million more individuals in self-insured plans equates to enrollment growth of about 1.5 percent in a market that, prior to Obamacare, was growing at about 1 to 3 percent a year—putting that uptick solidly within the pre-Affordable Care Act trend range. Thus, the data indicates Obamacare likely was responsible for a significant additional decline in fully insured employer group coverage. But, with respect to another anticipated effect—the expectation that more employers will shift to self-insured plans to escape Obamacare’s costly benefit mandates—the data does not indicate that is yet occurring to any noticeable extent.

Did Anthony Kennedy Just Show His Hand On The Obamacare Subsidies Case?

The Daily Caller
Tue, 2015-03-24
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s comments in a run-of-the-mill budget meeting Monday may have signaled how he intends to vote in this year’s biggest Obamacare lawsuit over the legality of federal premium subsidies. In a Monday budget request before the House Appropriations Committee, Justice Anthony Kennedy, typically the swing vote on the Court, made comments that could suggest he’s leaning in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell. The question in the pivotal case is whether the text of Obamacare restricts the law’s popular premium subsidies to state-run exchanges, of which there are only 14, and bans them from the vast majority of states that use the federally-run exchange, HealthCare.gov. The battle over the lawsuit about Obamacare subsidies currently before the Supreme Court has focused on whether anyone’s got a solution if the Court’s decision ends up skyrocketing HealthCare.gov premiums.

Stuart M. Butler: Let the states fix Obamacare

The Brookings Institute
Tue, 2015-03-24
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), like President Clinton’s health plan in the 1990s, made the mistake of trying to achieve coast-to-coast health care coverage with a system that essentially looks the same everywhere. That approach was always going to be a challenge. US health care is an enormous and complex economy in its own right. If the US health system were a separate national economy, for instance, it would be the fifth largest economy in the world – larger than the entire economy of France or of Britain. The idea that a single piece of legislation could successfully reorganize the world’s fifth largest economy was a fantasy, especially when the bill had to go through the congressional sausage-making machine. It’s true that the ACA gave Americans a choice of plan on federal or state-run exchanges. But the ACA still sought a template for insurance rules, benefits and other structural features that would be the same from Vermont to Texas and Florida to Alaska. That was unwise.

Independent Women’s Forum Statement on ObamaCare Fifth Anniversary

Independent Women's Forum
Mon, 2015-03-23
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today marks the 5-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare. The last five years have proven that a one-size-fits-all, top-down government healthcare system doesn't work. Coinciding with the date President Obama signed ObamaCare into law, Independent Women’s Forum released a series of memes highlighting the devastating consequences of this failed law. Hadley Heath, Director of Health Policy at the Independent Women's Forum, issued the following statement: "ObamaCare has proven in its first five years that central planning does not work, especially not for health care. Americans are fed up with the continuously rising costs and diminished choice they face in health care and insurance as a result of too much government interference. Maybe millions have gained coverage, but millions have lost coverage too.

Grace-Marie Turner: King v. Burwell: Finding A Path Forward After An Executive Overreach

Health Affairs
Thu, 2015-03-05
The Supreme Court justices had a lively discussion yesterday during arguments in King v. Burwell about who Congress intended to get health insurance subsidies and under what conditions. The central question is whether the Internal Revenue Service had the authority to write a rule authorizing subsidies to go to millions of people in the 37 states now operating under federal exchanges. The plaintiffs say the language of the law is clear: Subsidies are allowed in “an Exchange established by the State under [section] 1311of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” It doesn’t just say this once, but nine times in various linguistic forms. The government argues that it is just a typo in legislative drafting: Congress clearly wanted subsidies to be available to citizens of all of the states, and the IRS therefore had the authority to write its rule authorizing subsidies in both federal and state exchanges.

Avik Roy: 7 Reasons Why Obamacare 'Federalism' Won't Lead Anthony Kennedy To Join The Supreme Court's Left In King v. Burwell

Forbes
Thu, 2015-03-05
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case with significant implications for the future of Obamacare. Most of the justices’ questions proceeded along expected lines. Most notable was a series of questions by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who questioned whether it would be constitutional for Obamacare to induce states to set up exchanges. If Kennedy’s fears are right—that federal subsidies for state-based exchanges are “coercive”—then he might side with the Obama administration in the case. But if you understand how Obamacare’s insurance markets work, it’s clear that Kennedy should side with Obama’s challengers.

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