A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Public Opposition"

BREAKING: Judge rules against Obamacare subsidies

Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare
Tue, 2014-09-30
"In a legal setback for the Obama administration, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that people in states that rely on the federal insurance exchange are not eligible for Obamacare premium subsidies to help them pay for coverage. Judge Ronald White, a George W. Bush appointee, invalidated an Internal Revenue Service rule interpreting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to allow the premium tax credits in states that have not established their own exchange. “The court holds that the IRS Rule is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law,” White wrote. In his ruling, White rejected the argument that striking down the subsidies would cripple the entire healthcare reform law. “Congress is free to amend the ACA to provide for tax credits in both state and federal exchanges, if that is the legislative will,” he wrote."

Runaway Obamacare Spending Will Cost Democrats

Lanhee Chen
Bloomberg
Tue, 2014-09-30
"As we start the final stretch before the midterm elections, many analysts are convinced that Obamacare isn't the hot political issue it once was. While the flood of negative publicity about the law has subsided of late, a majority of people still oppose it, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls taken from Sept. 2-15. And I’ve always believed the voters’ negative impressions of the law were “baked” into their assessments of Democratic incumbents. That’s partly why Democratic Senators such as Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska find themselves barely breaking 40 percent in recent public polls. But a new study out this week from Bloomberg Government threatens to bring the Affordable Care Act back to center stage -- and in a way that will likely hurt the electoral chances of incumbent Democrats, all of whom voted for the law."

Poll: The Affordable Care Act Will Impact Democratic Candidates in All Swing States this November

Independent Women's Voice
Tue, 2014-09-30
"New polling data released from Independent Women's Voice, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies among 1,000 likely voters in 43 congressional swing districts, is the most comprehensive survey yet on the likely electoral impact of the Affordable Care Act in swing states heading into the November elections. If the elections were held today, the survey shows that Republican congressional candidates have a built-in advantage (42% - 36%) on the ballot test. Most prevalent in districts that lean Republication (43% - 33%), the GOP lead extends into pure toss-up seats (42% - 35%), and nearly disappears in districts that lean Democrat (40% - 39%). Voters in key congressional districts are clear in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Disapproval of the law remains high with majority (54% - 43%) of voters in swing districts disapproving of the federal health care takeover. Strong opposition (45%) outnumbers strong support (25%) by nearly 2 to 1."

Poll: Confused by issues of the day? Join the club

Connie Cass
The Associated Press
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Confused by President Barack Obama's health care law? How about the debate over government surveillance? The way the Federal Reserve affects interest rates? You're far from alone. Most people in the United States say the issues facing the country are getting harder to fathom. It's not just those tuning out politics who feel perplexed. People who vote regularly, follow news about November's election or simply feel a civic duty to stay informed are most likely to say that issues have become "much more complicated" over the past decade, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows."

Voters Still Vote ‘No’ on Obamacare

Rasmussen Results
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Views of Obamacare hold steady again this week, with over half of voters continuing to express an unfavorable opinion of the national health care law and overwhelming majorities still calling for choices in health insurance that the law doesn’t allow. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters share a favorable view of the health care law, while 52% view it unfavorably. This includes 19% with a Very Favorable opinion and twice as many (37%) with a Very Unfavorable one."

Survey: Doctors don’t like Obamacare

Andrew Branch
World News
Fri, 2014-09-26
"A survey of American physicians released this week paints a restless picture of the nation’s doctors—especially when it comes to Obamacare. “The system is broken and I am out of here as soon as I can,” one doctor wrote. “I am tired of being used, abused, and lied to. Has anyone here woken up to the fact that we are always the last ones to be considered in the equation of change?” Roughly 20,000 of 650,000 doctors responded to the Physicians Foundation’s survey, and voluntary surveys are prone to finding those with strong opinions. But of those strong opinions, 46 percent of doctors gave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a “D” or “F,” while only 25 percent gave it an “A” or “B.”"

GAO: Where did ObamaCare’s $3.7B go?

Sarah Ferris
The Hill
Fri, 2014-09-26
"The Obama administration has spent at least $3.7 billion to build and promote online marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, but it can’t prove exactly where it all went, according to an audit released Monday. Federal investigators said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not properly track certain data that public officials need in order to determine whether the healthcare law is working. The government tracks its healthcare spending in an outdated records system that cannot easily respond to data requests such as salaries or public relations contracts in certain departments. Instead, officials rely on manually prepared spreadsheets that can take months to produce."

Should We Hope to Die at 75?

Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Normally, no one would care that in a recent Atlantic essay — “Why I Hope to Die at 75” — 57-year-old Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argued that living to be 75 years old was long enough for anyone. After 75, Emanuel suggests, “We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.” But Emanuel is no garden-variety crackpot. Nor is he a wannabe science-fiction writer dreaming of a centrally planned planet of robust youthful humanoids. Unfortunately, he was one of the chief architects of the troubled Affordable Care Act and a key medical advisor to the Obama administration."

Consumer Group Sues 2 More Calif. Plans Over Narrow Networks

Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Insurers Cigna and Blue Shield of California misled consumers about the size of their networks of doctors and hospitals, leaving enrollees frustrated and owing large bills, according to two lawsuits filed this week in Los Angeles. “As a result, many patients were left without coverage in the course of treatment,” said Laura Antonini, staff attorney for Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based advocacy group that filed the case. Both cases allege that the insurers offered inadequate networks of doctors and hospitals and that the companies advertised lists of participating providers that were incorrect. Consumers learned their doctors were not, in fact, participating in the plans too late to switch to other insurers, the suits allege, and patients had to spend hours on customer service lines trying to get answers. Both cases seek class action status."

Health Reform’s Cost: $73 Billion and Counting

Peter Gosselin, Bloomberg
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Nearly five years after passage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a companion electronic health records (EHR) program have run a startup tab of more than $73 billion, the Bloomberg Government analysis finds. Part of that total is the cost of healthcare.gov, the flawed website and related enrollment system intended to expand U.S. health insurance coverage. BGOV’s analysis shows that costs for both healthcare.gov and the broader reform effort are far greater than anything publicly discussed. They’re also substantially greater than what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) initially estimated health reform would cost by this point, although not what the agency’s more recent piecemeal estimates suggest."

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