In recent elections, Democrats have faced attacks related to health-care costs, with the party being blamed for premium increases on Affordable Care Act exchanges during the Obama years.
Now, as many health insurers are seeking to impose double-digit rate increases on those marketplaces, a number of recent surveys suggest Republicans may take the lion’s share of the blame, with Democrats viewed more favorably on the issue ahead of November’s midterm elections.
For example, 61% of voters said President Donald Trump and Republicans would be responsible for problems with the ACA going forward, according to a late 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
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Utah voters will decide on ballot measures to expand Medicaid and to legalize medical marijuana this fall.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox released Tuesday what measures will be on the ballot in the 2018 elections this November.
A measure to expand Medicaid under Obamacare got enough signatures to make it onto the ballot.
Activists behind the measure are hoping to have the same success as Maine, which approved the Medicaid expansion in a ballot measure last year. However, Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage has vowed to not abide by the ballot measure, prompting a lawsuit.
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The Obama administration said Tuesday that 11.7 million Americans now have private health insurance through federal and state marketplaces, with 86 percent of them receiving financial assistance from the federal government to help pay premiums.
About three-fourths of people with marketplace coverage — 8.8 million consumers — live in the 37 states served by HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal insurance exchange. The other 2.9 million people are in states that created and operate their own exchanges.
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Virginia is on the cusp of expanding Medicaid after the Senate on Wednesday narrowly approved a budget that would allow the state to cover as many as 400,000 low-income people.
The House, which already voted in favor of expansion earlier this year, will have to vote again before the bill can go to Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Northam has made expansion one of the top priorities of his administration.
When it passes, Virginia will become the 33rd state, along with Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.
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People with ACA plans drop their plans at a much higher rate than in the pre-Obamacare era. The average monthly attrition rate under Obamacare in 2015 (3.6%) was nearly two-thirds higher than the average monthly attrition rate in the non-group market in 2006 (2.2%). This occurred even though 86% of Obamacare enrollees were receiving subsidized coverage. We can only imagine what would have happened had enrollees borne the full cost of their premiums (as was the case in 2006). The reality is that while the non-group market was never perfect, it performed much more smoothly before the ACA than most critics ever gave it credit.
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Alex Azar will soon make his most consequential decision as health and human services secretary. President Trump has asked HHS to expand health-insurance protections in a way that could make coverage more affordable and improve the outlook for Obama Care’s risk pools. Whether Mr. Azar will oblige is uncertain. Some officials don’t understand that Mr. Trump’s request would expand consumer protections, or mistakenly believe HHS lacks the authority to grant it.
The need for action is clear, as ObamaCare premiums keep skyrocketing. Rate hikes as high as 91% will hit many consumers just before Election Day. Maryland insurance commissioner Al Redmer warns ObamaCare is in “a death spiral.”
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The latest plan is being forged by leaders at the conservative think tanks Heritage Foundation and the Galen Institute, along with former senator Rick Santorum and Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. They’ve been meeting regularly over the past eight months to craft a recommendation for Congress to repeal much of the ACA’s coverage requirements and taxes, turn over some of its spending to states through block grants and expand the use of tax-free health savings accounts.
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A group of outside conservative groups developing a plan to repeal Obamacare said they would ensure the final product does not allow taxpayer funding to go toward covering abortions.
“When our plan is released, it will include strong pro-life priorities as well as recommendations that focus on providing Americans relief from Obamacare’s high costs and lack of choice while helping to heal the broken private small-group and individual insurance markets,” said Marie Fishpaw, Heritage’s director of domestic policy studies, in a statement.
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Thursday moved to delay the health insurance tax for another year, triggering the next round of work to curb the Affordable Care Act’s taxes on the industry.
While the lawmakers aren’t proposing an all-out repeal of the tax, the measure would be the third delay of the assessment. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) co-sponsored the bill along with Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.).
Insurers have to pay the tax for 2018, though it was suspended in 2017 and Congress passed another moratorium for 2019. Insurers estimate it will cost them $14.3 billion this year.
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A Maine state judge said Thursday that Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has a “duty to enforce” a voter-passed law to expand Medicaid to low-income adults.
Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy’s comment came during oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by advocacy groups to force the LePage administration to implement the Medicaid expansion overwhelmingly passed by Maine voters last November.
The judge did not indicate when she would issue a ruling, though it’s expected she will rule within a week or so. The losing side is almost certain to appeal.
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