What is “Trumpcare?”
After the first Super Tuesday, presidential candidate Donald Trump finally published an outline of his plans for health care. It reportedly didn’t differ much from what other high-profile Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and some of Trump’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination have proposed before.
Then on Monday, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) released an assessment of the impact of Trump’s plan – which includes repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). What kind of impact would “Trumpcare” have?
The study claims that In total, Mr. Trump’s “repeal and replace” plan for Obamacare would cost nearly $500 billion over ten years under conventional scoring and about $270 billion with dynamic scoring, which takes into account economic growth.
The study states that the number of people without health insurance would rise by something like 21 million people under Trumpcare.
According to The Fiscal Times, previous estimates by the Congressional Budget Office claim that repealing Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured Americans in 2018 by 22 million.
The CRFB report states that Trump’s replacement plan would only cover about 1 million of those people, leaving 21 million more Americans without insurance.
That would mean more financial hardship, less access to health care, and – according to studies – a higher mortality rate. Trump’s plan could also increase the deficit by somewhere between $270 billion and $490 billion over 10 years – depending in part on how the repeal affected the rest of the economy, writes The Huffington Post.
Last year CNBC estimated that Obamacare will add $273.6 billion in additional insurance overhead costs during the 10 years from 2012 through 2022.
Some of that money has already been spent, so Trump’s plan would add $270 to $500 billion on top of the money that has already been spent on Obamacare.
(Video by Secular Talk)
Yahoo News writes that on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeals case brought by Christian groups demanding full exemption from the requirement to provide insurance covering contraception under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
It is not immediately clear why they would do this. Perhaps they don’t want to provide their workers with health insurance?
The nine Supreme Court justices will hear several related cases on whether nonprofit groups that oppose the contraception requirement on religious grounds can object to a compromise measure by the Obama administration under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The justices will again wade into the controversial subject of how to deal with religious objections to the contraceptive requirement.
In 2014, the court ruled 5-4 that family-owned companies run on religious principles, including craft retailer Hobby Lobby Stores Inc, could object to the provision on religious grounds.
A compromise on the topic of contraception was offered by the federal government in 2013. That compromise allows groups which oppose the requirement (for religious reasons) to comply without actually paying for the coverage required by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Groups can opt out, which then forces insurers to pay for it, writes Yahoo News.
If a group refuses to comply with that law, they can face financial penalties, including a $100 charge per day for every affected employee who is refused contraception coverage.
The groups that sued have argued that the process of getting certified for an exemption infringes on their religious rights because it essentially forces them to authorize coverage for their employees, even if they are not paying for it.
Probably not much.
On Thursday, for the second time in three years, the Supreme Court rejected a major lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), thereby preserving the largest expansion in health coverage since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid half a century ago, writes the Huffington Post.
The stakes of the case, King v. Burwell, were enormous. Had the plaintiffs prevailed, millions of people who depend upon the Affordable Care Act for insurance would have lost financial assistance from the federal government. Without that money, most of them would have had to give up coverage altogether.
In an interesting twist, Forbes reported that the Supreme Court decision has helped investment in health care Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) – in other words, investing in health care real estate.
Forbes: “As a result, health systems and doctors will now be able to move forward with the certainty they need to make major decisions such as leasing, capital expenditures and other investments.
“The ACA is projected to add an additional 35 to 45 million insured patients into the marketplace. These individuals are expected to increase their utilization of health services, which should bode well for hospitals and physicians volumes – a net positive for hospitals and the owners of on-campus medical office buildings.”
Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks breaks it down.
Chief Justice John Roberts cited Massachusetts’ own Romneycare law extensively throughout his opinion explaining the court’s 6-3 decision to uphold Obamacare’s subsidies. The Affordable Care Act (the ACA, aka Obamacare) relied on a similar framework to Romneycare, writes MSNBC.
Legal scholars say the 2006 Massachusetts law, which Romney supported and signed as governor, played a key role in bolstering the White House’s case that the ACA always intended to provide subsidies to federal and state exchanges, despite a clause that referred only to “an exchange established by the state.”
Democrats have Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law to thank as inspiration for the Affordable Care Act, which relied on a similar framework. Now they can credit the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with helping to save it from an existential legal threat in King v. Burwell, writes MSNBC.
Read the Supreme Court decision here:
President Obama’s signature health care law survived a second challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, and the Justices ruled by a margin of 6 to 3 that the intent of Congress was clear enough to override contradictory language in law itself.
Time writes that the decision was a major win for Democrats and the President, who would have faced the difficult task of negotiating a fix to the law with Republicans if they didn’t win the court case. The court decided that a specific clause in the law validated tax subsidies for millions of Americans.
That negotiation could have resulted in either a collapse of the health insurance reforms in a majority of states, or a significant paring back of their reach, according to Time.
At issue was a clause in the law that stated that federal tax subsidies for health insurance purchases were only available in insurance marketplaces that had been set up by states as opposed to the federal government.
The White House
On Tuesday, U.S. President Obama spoke about America’s healthcare in a speech to the Catholic Health Association’s annual assembly, in Washington, DC. He attempted to make the case that The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an integral part of the country’s social safety net, much like Social Security or Medicare.
He condemned opponents of his signature health care law as “cynical” partisans seeking to deprive Americans of an important benefit, writes The New York Times. He built a tough political case against Republicans as the Supreme Court weighs whether to strike down a key element of the Affordable Care Act in the case of King v. Burwell.
“This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another — this is health care in America,” the president said in a speech to the Catholic Health Association, an organization that championed the law and has written a brief asking the high court to uphold it. “It seems so cynical to want to take health care away from millions of people.”
By the end of June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in King v. Burwell, the case that centers on whether the Internal Revenue Service can allow payment of Affordable Care Act subsidies to individuals enrolled in the federal exchange.
The lawsuit is widely considered to be based on a technicality. The actual law reads “state exchanges” as opposed to “federal exchange.”
Should the Court rule against the Obama administration, subsidies no longer would be available to individuals who purchased coverage through HealthCare.gov, the federal website, in the 34 states that chose not to establish their own state-based exchanges, writes The Daily Signal.
It also would mean the Obamacare employer mandate would be effectively unenforceable, according to The Daily Signal.
Things would probably get ugly if that happens. Democrats would probably go on the offensive, blaming Republicans for “every case of a person who lost coverage just before giving birth, or having another round of chemo,” according to nhpr.org.
Some people – such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin – have said, however, that King v. Burwell may not destroy Obamacare, because Congress would feel compelled to legislate a fix with a bill.