Steven Lopez has gone without health insurance for 15 years, and the Affordable Care Act hasn’t changed his mind. Once again this year he will forgo coverage, he said, even though it means another tax penalty.
Last tax season, the 51-year-old information technology professional and his family paid a mandatory penalty of nearly $1,000, he said. That’s because they found it preferable to the $400 to $500 monthly cost of an Obamacare health plan.
“I’m paying $6,000 to have the privilege of then paying another $5,000 [in deductibles],” said Lopez, who lives in Downey, a suburb of Los Angeles. “It’s baloney — not worth it.”
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Virtually every Republican member of Congress who has been interviewed on TV has assured the national viewing audience that a top priority come January will be to repeal Obamacare. They make it sound easy. It is easy. At least defunding Obamacare is easy. And without any money to spend, what we call Obamacare would wither on the vine in short order.
Congress has already done this once. A procedure known as “reconciliation” deals with budget matters and it can’t be filibustered. That means if Republicans all vote in lock step the Democrats can’t stop them. Last year, Republicans in the House and the Senate voted to take all they money out of Obamacare through their reconciliation bill. The bill did not repeal the Obamacare mandates or Obamacare regulations because those are non-budget matters. But with no money to spend, all those mandates and regulations aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
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According to a recent statistical analysis, medical care determines only about 11 percent of health—far less than individual behavior (38 percent), social circumstances (23 percent), and genetics and biology (21 percent). The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that much of what we spend on health care does not translate into better health outcomes and that collectively we don’t receive nearly enough benefit to justify the costs in higher taxes, higher premiums and lower wages.
As Congress and the incoming Trump administration consider how to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they should focus on the drivers of excessive spending, the primary one of which is comprehensive health insurance. By doing so, President-elect Trump can best attempt to deliver on his promise of “great health care for much less money.”
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President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to preserve health insurance coverage even as he pursues repeal of the Obama-era overhaul that provided it to millions of uninsured people.
How his administration handles a pending lawsuit over billions of dollars in insurance subsidies will reveal whether Trump wants an orderly transition to a Republican-designed system or if he’d push “Obamacare” over a cliff. Stripping away the subsidies at issue in the case would put the program into a free-fall.
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Two top House Republicans on health policy reiterated promises Monday to replace the Affordable Care Act after repealing it.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who is vying to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee next year, said the House GOP’s “Better Way” health plan will be the starting point for reform efforts. He referenced high-risk pools as the best way to require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions without having a mandate to purchase plans. Tax credits would help people afford coverage, he said.
“We just want to bring more choices, more competition,” Shimkus said. “Competition drives higher quality, lower cost. Always does, always will.”
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President Obama will be leaving office with the Affordable Care Act, his signature policy initiative, in deep peril. An incoming Republican president and Congress, concerned with the cost of ACA exchange plans jumping by an average 25 percent next year and employee health care costs rising, have pledged to repeal the law. For his part, the President sought to shift the blame for rising out-of-pocket cost from the ACA’s flaws to employers and insurers. During a recent speech defending the law, he said the ACA has had no impact on the affordability of employer-provided health care benefits “except to make it a better value.” As the President put it, “if your premium is going up, it’s not because of Obamacare. It’s because of your employer or your insurer — even though sometimes they try to blame Obamacare for why the rates go up. It’s not because of any policy of the Affordable Care Act that the rates are going up.”
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Oscar Insurance Corp., the Silicon Valley-backed health-care startup, continued to lose tens of millions of dollars in the third quarter as the company exits some markets and works to diversify away from of its Obamacare business.
The New York-based company sells health insurance to individuals in new markets set up by the Affordable Care Act. Its attempt to reinvent the insurance business has been marked by large losses — in the third quarter, closely held Oscar lost $45 million in New York, Texas and California, according to filings with regulators. That follows losses of $83 million in those states during the first six months of this year.
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Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo got into a heated exchange with controversial Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber on Tuesday as the two disagreed over skyrocketing health insurance premiums.
Gruber claimed Obamacare has actually “saved people money,” despite recent damaging headlines indicating President Barack Obama’s signature health care law will cause a 25 percent increase in key premiums. He also claimed the industry is just not “prepared” yet for the “new and innovative insurance market.”
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When the new Congress and President-elect Trump take office in January, Republicans will have a real chance to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. If they succeed, it will be the result of their carefully executed strategy to repeal the law and repeated congressional votes to do so. This approach was the subject of much derision from Democrats, but sticking to it has now put the Republicans in a position where they can reach their goal.
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Throughout the campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump’s entire health message consisted of promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
That remains difficult with Democrats still commanding enough power in the Senate to block the 60 votes needed for a full repeal. Republicans could use fast-track budget authority to make some major changes to the law, although that could take some time. In the short term, however, Trump could use executive power to make some major changes on his own.
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