The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers

“Today is the day when the Obamacare mandate forcing employer-provided health insurance plans to provide ‘free’ abortion pills, contraception, and sterilizations kicks in. Most religious charities, hospitals, and universities have been granted a one-year reprieve from the mandate. ‘In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,’ as Cardinal Timothy Dolan put it in January when the administration decided there would be no exception for religious institutions that employ or minister to people other than coreligionists.”

“Opponents can level plenty of legitimate arguments against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as the $2 trillion it will add to the federal deficit in its first two decades or the $1.8 trillion in tax increases over the same period. But perhaps the most compelling case for repeal is a moral one. The health care law crosses ethical lines in the way it was sold and in its ultimate effects.”

“Another prominent religious college has filed suit against the Obama administration over a policy meant to ease women’s access to free birth control. The suit from Ill.-based Wheaton College — dubbed the ‘Notre Dame’ of Protestant higher education — states that the controversial policy violates the religious freedom of people who object to birth control or consider forms of it equal to abortion.”

“More than a dozen Catholic bishops — including Washington’s — sued the Obama administration on Monday, ratcheting up the standoff between church officials and the White House over a government mandate requiring employers to provide contraception coverage. Catholic bishops were already leading the fight against the mandate, which requires most religious organizations to provide the coverage, although houses of worship are exempt.”

“Franciscan University appears to be the first casualty of the new Obama HHS mandate that requires Catholic colleges, groups and businesses to pay for drugs that may cause abortions and birth control for their employees. Although President Barack Obama declared ‘If you like your health care coverage you can keep it,’ when it came to passing Obamacare, a Catholic college in Ohio has determined it will no longer offer a student health insurance plan.”

“The rebates that will go to four-star and higher plans are to be used to provide additional benefits, such as lowering beneficiary premiums or reducing co-pays for doctor visits. Lower-income seniors are, arguably, more in need of those benefits. But not all plans are available in all counties. The report notes that four-star plans are offered in less than 14% of the counties where at least 25% of residents are below the federal poverty level. Thus, poorer Medicare beneficiaries are less likely to have access to the plans that receive the rebates and have better benefits.”

“The federal website released the first round of public comments on the administration’s proposed anti-conscience mandate on Wednesday. The comments were overwhelmingly opposed to the measure: out of 211 comments submitted, only six, less than 3%, offered support for the mandate… The vast majority of the comments submitted focus on the mandate’s violation of Americans’ right of conscience, while a few discuss the health hazards of the medical procedures the mandate covers, and some call for full Obamacare repeal.”

“Could gay conservatives have the answer to ObamaCare? Gay Americans understandably chafe at the way the tax code discriminates against them with regard to health insurance. If you are heterosexual, the insurance provided your spouse by your company is treated as a benefit—which means it is untaxed. If, by contrast, you are gay, the insurance provided your spouse or partner by your company can be treated as income—which means taxed.”

“Young healthy men earning $28,000 a year can expect to pay nearly 100 percent more for health insurance, even after counting the new tax credits for which most will be eligible. Young healthy males at higher income levels earning about $45,000 a year can expect to pay two-and-a-half times more for health insurance in 2014, according to studies produced by independent actuaries who are helping the Hoosier state calculate the impact of Obamacare. The premium-cost increases are caused primarily by two key provisions in Obamacare — ‘essential health benefits,’ in which the government determines what must be covered by health-insurance policies, and the community rating provisions, which require health insurers to level out premiums so younger people pay more and older people pay less.”

“About 16 million people — half of the 32 million who are expected to get health coverage under the new health law — will be enrolled in Medicaid in January of 2014, with almost no changes to improve or modernize the cumbersome, complex, and wasteful program. This large Medicaid expansion could have catastrophic effects on those who provide society’s health care safety net.”