Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) signed a bill into law Thursday that will allow more people to sign up for health care coverage paid for by the Medicaid program. This is projected to move 400,000 low-income residents onto the program. Lawmakers arrived at a compromise on Medicaid and on other parts of spending in part by setting a tax on hospitals. Under Obamacare, the federal government paid for all of the cost of Medicaid expansion in states beginning in 2014, but this support will fall to 90 percent of costs by 2020. In some states, that will mean billions of dollars in additional spending.
In a court case filed by Texas and 19 other states, the Justice Department said in a brief on Thursday that the requirement for people to have insurance — the individual mandate — was unconstitutional.
If that argument is accepted by the federal court, it could eviscerate major parts of the Affordable Care Act that remain in place.
A definitive court ruling could be months away and appeals of any decision could take many more months, during which the law is likely to stay in effect.
The downward spirals have begun. The combined Social Security trust funds—one for disability, one for retirement—as well as Medicare’s hospital-insurance trust fund, will begin eating into their reserves this year, according to reports released this week by the programs’ trustees. The trust funds for these safety-net programs are now projected to diminish until they are depleted. The Medicare hospital-insurance fund is projected to run dry in 2026. The bipartisan trustees have for several years been warning that Social Security and Medicare finances need fundamental repairs or people are going to get hurt.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to scrap most of the chamber’s August recess promises to rob politically imperiled Democratic incumbents of campaigning time, but Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is embracing the change with a pitch for how to spend it: health care.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to send McConnell (R-Ky.) a letter on Wednesday asking him to set aside August time for votes on five Democratic-backed proposals aimed at expanding and lowering the cost of health care, which he previewed Tuesday after the Kentucky Republican announced plans to ax three of the Senate’s four planned recess weeks during that month.
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Even health insurers that don’t expect many of their plan members to drop insurance coverage after the individual mandate penalty is zeroed out still may have to raise individual market premiums in 2019 as their payments from the ACA’s risk adjustment program change thanks to the mandate loss.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based insurer Independent Health doesn’t expect a large number of its 5,000 ACA exchange members to drop their coverage when the individual mandate penalty is effectively repealed starting in 2019. Its population skews older and sicker, and most members need their insurance coverage. Its average member is about 49 years old, and about half receive federal premium subsidies.
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Remember Obamacare? The fight is far from over on the future of the Obama-era health insurance overhaul. Republicans are making a list-ditch effort this year to turn the program and the money over to the state. This isn’t full Obamacare repeal, but would make a world of sense because states would be free to experiment and find ways to reduce costs and provide better services.
Democrats are adopting a new political spin, which is that everything is fine with Obamacare. They claim that the only reason premium and deductible costs keep exploding is because President Trump repealed the individual mandate tax — which was nothing more than an unfair penalty on low-income families that can’t afford the high cost of the health law’s mandates. But if Mr. Trump is to blame, why were the costs skyrocketing two years before Mr. Trump even entered the Oval Office?
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Health insurers are asking Washington state regulators to allow them to raise the price of Obamacare premiums in 2019 by an average of 19 percent.
Under the latest proposals made public Monday, no county in the state will be left without an Obamacare insurer, a type of medical coverage offered to customers who do not get health insurance through a job or government program. Still, 14 counties would have only one insurer to choose from, which will limit their options and the doctors and hospitals that will be in their network.
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler blamed the Trump administration’s changes to Obamacare for the increases.
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Two self-employed Texans, John Nantz and Neill Hurley, have leading roles in the latest legal effort to kill Obamacare.
The men are the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit by 20 states that argues Congress fatally undercut the law when it repealed the individual mandate penalty in tax cut legislation. Nantz and Hurley say the mandate compels them to buy costly insurance that doesn’t fit their needs — even though the financial penalty for not complying is disappearing next year.
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The Obama administration sold the Affordable Care Act as a boon to small businesses and the 59 million Americans they employ. It hasn’t worked out that way.
The ACA outlawed basic insurance plans and required businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide gold-plated coverage most didn’t need. Almost immediately, companies began restructuring payrolls, converting full-time employees to part-time. Some took away insurance from workers who were previously covered. Walmart , for example, discontinued health care for 30,000 employees because of ObamaCare.
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