“Americans’ personal information is safe on HealthCare.gov, says a senior Obamacare official, seeking to allay public concerns as the days count down to the start of the second open enrollment season on Nov. 15.
“There’s no higher priority than protecting consumer information and maintaining trust for the consumers,” said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who has been in charge of the health exchanges since late June.”
“Newly empowered Republicans say they can’t repeal Obamacare and plan to chip away at the law piece by piece, starting with redefining full-time work in a way that could affect health coverage for 1 million people.
House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday said they want to rewrite the Affordable Care Act so employers could avoid providing health coverage to workers who put in less than 40 hours a week — up from the law’s current 30-hour threshold.”
“The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear the most serious challenge to the Affordable Care Act since the justices found it constitutional more than two years ago: a lawsuit targeting the federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance.
More than 4 million people receive the subsidies, which the Obama administration contends are essential to the act by making insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income families.”
“This hasn’t exactly been a banner week for Democrats, but especially so for Barack Obama. The Washington Post corrected him twice this week on claims made by the President’s denial of reality in his post-election press conference, the first time in a formal fact-check from Glenn Kessler. Obama tried arguing that the election results didn’t really reflect on ObamaCare despite the success of Republicans in defeating Democrats who supported it — or even those who refused to answer the question — because ObamaCare has reduced the costs of health care in every year since its passage. That assumes facts not in evidence in terms of causal relationship, Kessler notes, and isn’t true on the facts anyway:
In fact, despite the president’s claim of a decrease of every year, the White House’s own chart shows that the 2013 estimate represents a slight uptick from 2012, when adjusted for inflation and population. As the White House report puts it, “the three years since 2010 will have recorded the three slowest health-care spending growth rates since record keeping began in 1960.” That is impressive, but it is not the same as health costs going down “every single year” since the law was passed in 2010. …”
“Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to make ObamaCare a priority in his first weeks as leader of the Senate, vowing a sustained effort to dismantle the law piece-by-piece.
McConnell said the GOP will tackle unpopular aspects of the law such as the individual mandate, the medical device tax and the 30-hour workweek requiring employers to provide insurance.”
“Republicans’ strong showing in this week’s mid-term elections opens the door to more calls to repeal President Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act.
And while that is all but impossible given the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, victories in Washington and at the state level could usher in other healthcare changes.”
“President Reagan gauged the success of a welfare program by how quickly people were able to move off government assistance and into remunerative work. Yet President Obama, the White House, and their allies are measuring the success of Obamacare by how many people can be enrolled in their new government entitlement programs.
The president celebrated the law’s “success” in getting seven million people enrolled in Medicaid and eight million (or so) people enrolled in exchange coverage, 87 percent of whom are receiving government subsidies for their insurance. And he hopes to lure another five million people onto Obamacare programs starting with the November 15 enrollment period. There is no expectation that participation in these government programs will be a temporary boost but rather that they will become a permanent fixture in people’s lives.”
“Republicans have retaken the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections. As of this writing, Republicans will gain somewhere between 7 and 9 seats—depending on what happens in Louisiana and Alaska—for a total of 52 to 54. The new Republican majority will doubtless hold a symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare. But more importantly, Republicans will now be able make smaller changes to the health law that President Obama might actually sign into law. Here are some of the possibilities that have been talked about in the press, but also many that have not.”
“When the Affordable Care Act marketplace opens on Nov. 15, consumers can expect healthcare.gov to have robust technology, amped-up functions, and a shorter application form for individual plans.
What they won’t see – and likely won’t know about – are the ongoing communication problems that many on the insurance industry say continue to plague the “back-end” transfer of consumer files between the website and insurance companies.”
“If Republicans take control of the Senate on Tuesday, the new Congress will need a three-part strategy on ObamaCare – the one they follow after they take the repeal “show” vote.
President Obama still retains veto power, and no one believes that there will be two-thirds majorities in both houses to override his certain veto of any full repeal bill.”