The recent lawsuit filed by the Health Republic Insurance Company of Oregon regarding ObamaCare’s “risk corridor” program raises the question: Does the federal government have a duty to defend the lawsuit? Could they confess that the plaintiffs are right, or, better still, settle the case for the face value? Nicholas Bagley of the University Of Michigan School Of Law does not think the feds will do that while they can still argue that the claims are unripe. But if the case gets past the initial procedural hurdles, they’ll be sorely tempted to cut a deal.
Earlier this year a report from the University of Pennsylvania found all but the most heavily subsidized ObamaCare enrollees would generally be better off financially if they forgo coverage and pay for their own medical care out of pocket. The group whose incomes fall between 1.38 and 1.75 times the poverty level will spend about three times the amount on premiums for a Silver plan as their out of pocket health care spending had they remained uninsured. For those earning more than 250 percent of poverty, most will be worse off financially compared to having remained uninsured. By design Obamacare is a bad deal for most people! Basically, except for the unlucky few who experience catastrophic health complaints, the vast majority of ObamaCare enrollees would be better off uninsured.
Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 2010, the Obama administration has changed the law 43 times without Congressional approval. The Galen Institute has been keeping track of these administrative changes, which you can find here.
Apparently another illegal administrative action, which will cost the U.S. Treasury $3.5 billion, can be added to the list. Late last Friday, and conveniently before a long weekend, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in a guidance document it would have $7.7 billion in reinsurance payments to cover the losses Exchange plan insurers incurred in 2015. But CMS is not entitled to $3.5 of the $7.7 billion it is giving away.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), average premiums in the workplace were up 24 percent for individual plans and 27 percent for family plans. The vast majority of privately insured Americans – 9 out of 10 – purchase coverage through their employers.
Cost-sharing grew even faster. KFF reports that the average deductible for all workers was $1,077 in 2015, up from $646 in 2010—a 67 percent increase.
Over the past 5 years, a typical family of four faced 43 percent higher health costs, including both premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. The Milliman Medical Index also shows that employer costs increased by 32 percent, from $10,744 in 2010 to $14,198 in 2015. That’s nearly $3,500 that could have gone into paychecks if health costs had not soared.
Scalia exposed that in King v Burwell, the Court elevated politics over both the rule of law and the separation of powers.
In King, a six-justice majority of the Supreme Court acknowledged the operative statutory text authorizes those taxes and subsidies only in states that establish an Exchange. But because the majority determined ObamaCare would collapse without them, it ruled the IRS could continue to implement those taxes and subsidies. Scalia’s dissent exposed that, rather than give effect to Congress’ intent, the majority simply substituted its own policy preferences for those of the legislature.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wasn’t a fan of the Affordable Care Act and opposed it when it came before the nation’s high court every time.
Known for his blunt writings, here are some highlights from a dissenting opinion he wrote, published June 15, 2015, in what was the high court’s second major decision upholding President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Scalia wrote the following passages in the famous King vs. Burwell case on behalf of a three-vote minority that included Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The entire dissent can be read here.
Click through to read five of the best quotes from Scalia’s dissent.
So, to sum up: Trump has offered scant details about how he would replace ObamaCare. But what little he has said is philisophically consistent with the arguments in favor of single-payer, a policy approach that he has praised in the past.
The whole irony of this is that right now, Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in the midst of a heated debate in which Sanders is arguing in favor of single-payer and Clinton is saying it would go too far to be politically feasible.
Should Clinton and Trump be the nominees, it will have meant that Democratic voters will have rejected the candidate pushing single-payer health care and Republicans will have embraced him.
Criticism of the Obama administration’s implementation of ObamaCare from the administration’s critics is not particularly surprising. There’s not much newsworthy about an administration taking fire from across the aisle. It is more notable when a prominent defender of the Obama administration acknowledges that the administration has colored outside the lines, and not always with good justification. So those interested in the Affordable Care Act and the administrative law should give Nicholas Bagley’s new paper on“Legal Limits and the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act” a careful read.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC is expecting to lose more than $400 million on its first two years of Obamacare business. According to this morning’s News and Observer, “The dramatic deterioration in Blue Cross’ ACA business is causing increasing alarm among agents and public health officials.” In response to its bleak experience with the ObamaCare exchange, the company has decided to eliminate sales commissions for agents, terminate advertising of ObamaCare policies, and stop accepting applications on-line through a web link that provides insurance price quotes–all moves calculated to limited ObamaCare enrollment.
Chris Conover of Duke University’s Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research explains what we can learn from North Carolina’s experience.
Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce has analyzed all publicly available information for health-insurance premiums from healthcare.gov and state insurance departments. It then calculated the weighted averages for all health-insurance plans available on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. The weighted average gives a more accurate view of overall premium increases, because it takes into account each insurance plan’s market share.
Findings reveal that nationally, premiums for individual health plans increased on average between 2015 and 2016 by 14.9%. Consumers in every state except Mississippi faced increased premiums, and in no fewer than 29 states the average increases were in the double digits. For a third of states, the average premiums rose 20% or more.