A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Federal Budget/Deficit"

Why Obamacare still matters in this election

Jason Millman
Washington Post
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Although the politics of Obamacare have cooled down this year — and even with declining interest in this year's midterms — the upcoming election will have a bigger influence on the direction of health care than you may think. That's the major takeaway from a new Harvard University analysis of 27 public opinion polls from 14 organizations on President Obama's signature law. The analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a pretty comprehensive view of how the Affordable Care Act — less than a year into its major coverage expansion — will shape the agenda for the next Congress and potentially the 2016 presidential race."

Obamacare Faces New Threat as Supreme Court Weighs Appeal

Greg Stohr, Bloomberg
Thu, 2014-10-30
"The fate of President Barack Obama’s health-care law is again in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. Two years after upholding the law by a single vote, the justices are weighing whether to hear a Republican-backed appeal that would block people in 36 states from getting tax subsidies to buy insurance. The justices are scheduled to discuss the matter tomorrow, with an announcement coming as soon as Nov. 3. The tax credits have implications well beyond the 4.6 million people who receive them in those states. A high court decision against the administration would have ripple effects, undercutting other parts of the Affordable Care Act and potentially destabilizing insurance markets across the nation."

Obamacare’s Success Has Small Business Dropping Coverage

Kelly Gilblom and Caroline Chen, Bloomberg
Thu, 2014-10-30
"U.S. small businesses are dropping health insurance for their workers, as Obamacare lets them send employees to new marketplaces where they can often get subsidies from the government to buy coverage. WellPoint Inc. (WLP)’s small business insurance products lost 300,000 people this year, the company said today. Business owners are dropping coverage they previously bought through WellPoint and other insurers, and instead sending employees to shop for it on the government exchanges created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare."

This Democratic 'reform' would make Obamacare more expensive. Bad idea.

Michael Hiltzik
Los Angeles Times
Thu, 2014-10-30
"A caucus of seven nervous Democratic senators, led by Mark Begich of Alaska, has been pushing a plan to "reform" the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurers to offer an even skimpier insurance plan than the skimpiest permitted now. . The idea of their "Expanded Consumer Choice Act" is to create a new "copper" tier of health plan permitted in the individual and small-business markets under the ACA. The copper tier would undercut the current tiers of health plans by covering only 50% of expected health costs. Under the current law, the stingiest "bronze" tier covers 60% of costs."

The Un-Affordable Care Act

Ashley Pratte
Townhall
Wed, 2014-10-29
"Remember Obama’s now “infamous” line, “If you like your healthcare, you can keep it?” If it only had been true, because many Americans—especially our nation’s young people are suffering as a result of the President’s signature legislation. President Obama told us that the average American would see their health insurance premiums lowered; yet the opposite is true. A recent study shows that health insurance premiums have drastically skyrocketed among 23-year-olds, especially males who have seen a 78 percent price increase. Women have seen close to a 45 percent increase."

This Infographic Shows How Obamacare Might Be Just One Big Expansion of Medicaid

Kelsey Harkness
The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-10-29
"Spoiler alert! When it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare has proven itself to be one giant expansion of Medicaid. A new report released Wednesday reveals the total coverage increase for the first half of 2014. While total coverage increased by 8,538,327 individuals, enrollment in Medicaid accounted for 71 percent of that growth. Check out the infographic below for the full breakdown of the numbers."

US sues NYC over Medicaid claims worth millions

The Associated Press
Wed, 2014-10-29
"NEW YORK — The federal government has sued New York City, saying it ripped off Medicaid for millions of dollars by submitting tens of thousands of false claims. A civil lawsuit seeking unspecified damages was filed Monday in Manhattan federal court. The lawsuit says the city and a computer company used computer programs to dodge a requirement that Medicaid be billed only after private insurance coverage is exhausted. The lawsuit says false diagnosis codes were submitted to Medicaid."

Figures Don't Lie But Liars Figure––Will There Be Some Obamacare Rate Shock in 2015?

Bob Laszewski
Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review
Mon, 2014-10-27
"Hanging around actuaries as long as I have one of the old sayings I picked up was, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure." I have read one story after another this summer and fall about the modest Obamacare rates increases––or decreases––for 2015. On this blog you have also seen me write about the complex way the 2015 Obamacare rates will hit people particularly because of the impact the changes in the so called second lowest cost Silver plan will have on so many people's final subsidy. You have also seen me write about the fact that we really won't know what Obamacare costs people until the now unlimited Obamacare reinsurance program stops subsidizing insurance rates in 2017."

Obamacare's Bay State Bailout

Josh Archambault
Forbes
Mon, 2014-10-27
"After the worst transition to Obamacare in the country, Massachusetts is still without a functional exchange website and just 769 people have enrolled in Obamacare-subsidized plans. To avoid accountability and political repercussions, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is about to cut two special deals with the federal government: the “Commonwealth Kickback” which grants Massachusetts the most generous taxpayer-funded premium subsidies in the entire country, while the “Bay State Bailout” gives 300,000+ MA residents “temporary” Medicaid coverage in 2014, without any verification of their eligibility. These deals are reminiscent of the controversial ACA-related “Cornhusker Kickback” and “Louisiana Purchase,” but they also can be added to the growing list of special deals cut for Massachusetts as the state struggles to transition to the ACA."

Double Trouble for the Health Care Overhaul?

Naomi Lopez-Bauman, Illinois Policy Institute
The Blaze
Mon, 2014-10-27
"As President Barack Obama’s administration gears up for its second open enrollment period next month, the president’s health care overhaul is now facing two new threats. Either piece of news, on its own, should warrant concern from the law’s most ardent supporters for the program’s long-term prospects. The first threat is a group of legal challenges to the law that are making their way through the courts. At issue is what the plain text of Section 1401 of the Affordable Care Act means. Even though the text of the law states that the subsidies are available “through an Exchange established by the State under 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), without congressional authorization, allowed federal subsidies to flow into states participating in the federal exchange when it implemented the law."

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