“Since the outcome of Tuesday’s elections became clear, a lot has been said, and threatened, about repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican control of the next Congress is likely to bring ACA challenges in two flavors. There will be early “statement legislation” to repeal the law and possibly to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate, a linchpin of the law that spreads risk and makes its insurance market changes work. These bills, intended to honor election promises to the Republican base, would be vetoed by President Barack Obama if they pass.”
“Big Republican election gains in Congress will position the GOP to aggressively challenge Obamacare in 2015. Now the questions are how sweeping Republican efforts will be to roll back the law, and whether the party will pursue its longstanding goal of restructuring Medicare and Medicaid. Everyone will be watching where President Barack Obama draws the line with his veto pen.
Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a key campaign issue propelling Republicans to gain control of the Senate and their largest majority in the House since the Great Depression. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is expected to be the new Senate majority leader, has vowed to dismantle Obamacare “root and branch.””
“Beginning on November 15, a new period of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will begin, putting the notorious federal insurance exchange portal, Healthcare.gov, to a new test. Outwardly, officials insist that the many issues that the website experienced in late 2013 and early 2014 are only a memory. The Washington Post’s reporting indicates, however, that administration officials may be less confident in the Obamacare website than they appear.
“[F]ederal health officials and government contractors are scrambling, according to confidential documents and federal and outside experts familiar with this work,” The Post reported on Monday. “They have been making contingency plans in case the information technology or other aspects prove less sturdy than the administration predicts. And some preparations are coming down to the wire.”
“The need for health care reform has never been questioned by health care policy analysts on either side of the political spectrum. Furthermore, the broad goals of controlling costs, improving quality, and expanding access are widely shared. Yet, while both sides agree that reform is necessary, the policy solutions differ dramatically, most importantly on the question of who controls the key decisions in health care. During the public campaign in support of President Obama’s health plan, the President made numerous promises to the American people about the law’s effect on everyday Americans. Four years into its implementation, it is growing ever apparent that these promises have all but vanished. Four Heritage Foundation health policy experts detail the five main promises that President Obama broke, and present a fresh way for sustainable and patient-centered, market-based health care reform.”
“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.”
“For businesses across Michigan and the country, the Obama administration’s one-year reprieve from financial penalties under the national health care law is nearing an end, forcing some employers to chose between buying coverage for employees or paying fines.
At the same time, some small businesses that already offer health insurance are facing big price hikes next year as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — the largest carrier in the state — has stopped allowing businesses to renew policies that aren’t compliant with the Affordable Care Act. In their place it is offering more comprehensive, but pricier, insurance policies.”
“Meet Jonathan Gruber, a professor at MIT and an architect of Obamacare. During a panel event last year about how the legislation passed, turning over a sixth of the U.S. economy to the government, Gruber admitted that the Obama administration went through “tortuous” measures to keep the facts about the legislation from the American people, including covering up the redistribution of wealth from the healthy to the sick in the legislation that Obamacare is in fact a tax. The video of his comments just recently surfaced ahead of the second open enrollment period for Obamacare at Healthcare.gov.”
“The Obama administration predicted Monday that the number of people with health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces will be significantly lower by the end of next year than previous government estimates.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced that, by the end of 2015, 9 million to 9.9 million Americans probably will be in health plans sold through the federal and state insurance exchanges created under the health-care law. The administration’s expectations are as much as roughly 30 percent beneath the most recent prediction of the Congressional Budget Office that 13 million people will have health coverage through these exchanges next year.”
“The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers.”
“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.”