“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. …”
“LOS ANGELES On the heels of an advertising blitz funded by health insurance companies, California voters on Tuesday tanked a proposal to give the state’s insurance commissioner veto authority over health insurance premiums.
About 60 percent of voters cast ballots against the plan to give the elected commissioner expanded authority over small group and individual health plans.”
“While the GOP came out on top in today’s national vote, there was good news and bad news for both parties, relatively speaking, in today’s election according to CBS News exit polls. Overall, the Republicans’ advantages abounded. Concerns about terrorism, health care and the economy all provided them with a national vote edge. Among the nearly half of voters who said the health care law went too far, 83 percent supported Republican candidates. Those who were worried about terrorism–71 percent of voters–also gave GOP candidates a boost of 58 percent to 40 percent for Democrats.”
“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.”
“Tuesday’s re-election of Republican governors in closely contested races in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine and Kansas dims the chances of Medicaid expansion in those states.
Advocates hoping for Democratic victories in those states were disappointed by the outcomes, but Alaska, which also has a Republican incumbent, remains in play as an independent challenger holds a narrow lead going into a count of absentee ballots.
“No one would say it was a good night for the prospects of Medicaid expansion,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University.”
“The Obama administration plans to close a loophole in the Affordable Care Act that allows large companies to refuse to cover in-patient hospital stays in any of their health insurance plans, according to an official involved in the internal discussions.
The official requested anonymity until the announcement is made because “the guidance that will be issued is not finalized.””
“Monthly premiums for health insurance soared in 2014, the first year of Obamacare’s full implementation, according to a new study.
The report by HealthPocket.com — a site that allows consumers to compare health plans — compared rates from 2013 and 2014. “The analysis of pre- and post-Obamacare health insurance in the individually purchased health insurance market demonstrates a clear increase of average premiums across age groups and both sexes,” researchers found. “While the degree of increase varied by age and sex, the occurrence of an increase did not.””
“Right now, the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear a case that could have devastating implications for Obamacare and hundreds of thousands of people currently receiving health insurance through its exchanges.
The case, King v. Burwell, is one of several challenges based on language in the Affordable Care Act that authorizes the government to offer subsidies to people who enroll in policies sold on the health exchanges. The subsidies were introduced to make health care coverage more affordable, but the lawsuits charge that the wording of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t allow for federal subsidies.”
“Health insurers increasingly are building and staffing bricks-and-mortar retail centers to potentially expand their membership base and, most importantly for now, enhance their brand image with the public.
The retail approach represents a major pivot in insurer tactics to grow their books of business brought on by changes in how consumers get insurance thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”