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

The House on Thursday voted to repeal a medical device tax that Minnesota’s medical technology sector lobbied extensively to kill.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., the bill’s lead sponsor, expressed delight at the lopsided 280-140 vote. “I knew support was broad and deep” to get rid of the 2.3 percent tax on device sales, Paulsen told the Star Tribune.

Minnesota’s other Republican representatives, John Kline and Tom Emmer, voted to kill the tax, as did three of the state’s five Democratic congressmen — Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz. Concerns about the tax’s impact on jobs and innovation drove their votes.

The House defied a White House veto threat and voted Thursday to abolish a tax on medical device makers as a group of Democrats uncharacteristically joined Republicans in moving to kill part of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Thursday’s 280-140 House vote was exactly the two-thirds margin that supporters would need to override a presidential veto. The real suspense will come in the Senate, which voted overwhelmingly to repeal the levy in 2013, but in a nonbinding roll call lacking the political pressures of a veto showdown.

The recently announced proposed rate increases for many insurers offering health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges have brought renewed attention to instability in health insurance markets and the long-term sustainability of the exchanges – apart from disruptions that would ensue if the Supreme Court rules in King v. Burwell that the ACA does not allow premium subsidies in states with federal exchanges.

Big U.S. insurers are courting one another for possible multibillion-dollar deals. How they pair off could have significant implications for the managed-care industry, its individual and corporate customers, and U.S. medical providers.

Coinsurance? Premium tax credit? HMO and PPO?

Swimming through the health insurance word soup can be frustrating for anyone. Even though I cover health, I couldn’t define “cost-sharing reduction plan” until I Googled it just now.

And it seems I’m not the only clueless 20-something here. Young adults, who generally have little experience managing their own health care expenses, are finding it especially hard signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

More small businesses will have to adopt Obamacare’s insurance changes next year, which business groups say could result in higher premiums.

Obamacare required small-group healthcare markets to cover essential benefits similar to those in the individual market. Those include capping enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs and not excluding people due to pre-existing conditions.

Insurers also have to set rates using a single risk pool that includes all enrollees across their small group plans in the state.

If a “death panel” never rationed health care, did it really earn the name?

That’s the question for Congress this week: The House soon will vote to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board established by the Affordable Care Act, dubbed at various times a “death panel” and rationing board by its opponents.

The irony, though, is that the board, which was created to come up with Medicare savings if the program’s spending grew too quickly, hasn’t had any work to do and might not for years to come—which now paradoxically might make it easier for the new GOP Congress to end it.

House Republicans have launched another assault on Obamacare. This time, they have some support from their foes on the other side of the aisle.

Two bipartisan bills that would repeal parts of Obamacare are scheduled to reach the House floor this week. One would get rid of a job-killing tax on medical device manufacturers. The other would do away with a powerful and unaccountable board of 15 members charged with cutting Medicare spending.

Hillary Clinton says she will propose fixes for ObamaCare over the course of her presidential campaign, while strongly defending the law as a whole.

In an interview with The Des Moines Register published on Sunday, she cited the “family glitch,” which prevents some low-income families from qualifying for subsidies under the law as one example of something she should seek to fix.

The White House on Monday threatened to veto a bill to repeal ObamaCare’s unpopular medical device tax.

The bill is headed for a vote in the House later this week, and the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices has drawn criticism from some members of both parties who say it stifles innovation.

But the White House on Monday called the bill “a large tax break to profitable corporations.”

It argues that healthcare industries gain from new customers under ObamaCare and therefore should pay some of the cost of the coverage expansion.