“Within days of the Republican Party regaining control of the Senate, a host of policy issues has quickly risen to the top of Washington’s priorities list: trade, corporate tax reform, the Keystone pipeline. And then there’s the medical device tax.
The tax, passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, plays a marginal role in the health-care overhaul, but the push to repeal it has attracted millions of dollars of lobbying, as well as high-profile supporters on the Hill, from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“House Speaker John Boehner said approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline and the repeal of key parts of Obamacare are among Republicans’ top priorities now that the GOP has won control of both houses of Congress.
“Obamacare is hurting our economy, it’s hurting middle-class workers, and it’s hurting the ability to create more jobs,” Boehner said, adding that Republicans want to replace it with “common-sense reforms.””
“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. …”
“Tuesday’s Republican victories in the U.S. Senate are inspiring strong optimism among medical device companies in Minnesota and nationwide for a repeal of the 2.3 percent tax on their products.
But repealing the unpopular medical-device tax will not be easy, even with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Any stand-alone device-tax bill would face a likely veto threat by President Barack Obama, which means repeal is more likely to be a part of a broader bill reforming business taxes or the Affordable Care Act.”
“Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to make ObamaCare a priority in his first weeks as leader of the Senate, vowing a sustained effort to dismantle the law piece-by-piece.
McConnell said the GOP will tackle unpopular aspects of the law such as the individual mandate, the medical device tax and the 30-hour workweek requiring employers to provide insurance.”