What Are The Chances Of Getting Rid Of Obamacare?


TYT Network

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.

(Updated post)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bradthomas/2015/06/29/affordable-care-act-serves-as-strong-tailwind-for-healthcare-reits/

Did Romneycare Save Obamacare In The Recent Supreme Court Decision?

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

(Updated posting)

Read the Supreme Court decision here:

Click to access 14-114_qol1.pdf

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/how-mitt-romney-saved-obamacare

King v. Burwell Sides With The Affordable Care Act

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.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/25/what-king-vs-burwell-means-for-2016.html

http://time.com/3935707/supreme-court-obamacare-affordable-care/

President’s Speech To Catholic Health Association

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.”

Is The U.S. Media Accurately Portraying Obamacare And The King v. Burwell Lawsuit Against It?


TYT Network

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.

http://dailysignal.com/2015/06/02/theres-broad-public-support-for-congress-to-reduce-insurance-costs-in-response-to-king-v-burwell/

http://nhpr.org/post/4-reasons-both-parties-should-be-sweating-bullets-over-king-v-burwell

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/244369-gop-fears-it-will-win-obamacare-court-battle

More Than 10 Million Signed Up For Health Insurance This Year Under Affordable Care Act

According to The Associated Press, more than 10 million people have signed up for private health insurance this year under The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the White House said Tuesday.

The 10.2 million consumers enrolled in a plan and followed through by paying their first month’s premiums, states The Associated Press.

The report comes from the Department of Health and Human Services as insurers are reportedly proposing premium hikes for next year, raising concerns about affordability.  Also, the Supreme Court is weighing the legality of subsidized premiums for millions of consumers in more than 30 states.  That decision is A decision is due around the end of the month.

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.

Currently, the 10 million sign-ups exceed the target of 9.1 million set last year by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

However, “(e)nrollment has been lower and slower than what most people projected,” said Caroline Pearson of the data analysis firm Avalere Health.

Still, the combination of subsidized private coverage sold through online insurance exchanges in every state, along with Medicaid expansion in most states, has resulted in large coverage gains.

Nearly 9 out of 10 adults now have health insurance, writes The Associated Press.  It is about the same proportion of Americans who buckle their seatbelts.

http://dailysignal.com/2015/06/02/theres-broad-public-support-for-congress-to-reduce-insurance-costs-in-response-to-king-v-burwell/

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-10m-enrolled-under-obamas-183140101.html

http://nhpr.org/post/4-reasons-both-parties-should-be-sweating-bullets-over-king-v-burwell

Senator Ted Cruz Threatens To Subpoena Treasury Officials To Testify About Obamacare

Roll Call states that Senator Ted Cruz is warning he might seek to compel testimony from the Treasury Department about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The Texas Republican senator – who is also a presidential candidate – is in control of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts.

He said his staff had been informed by the Obama administration that witnesses would not be available to testify about the rule-making process for providing subsidies under Obamacare because of ongoing litigation.

“For two main reasons, this excuse is entirely invalid,” Cruz wrote in a new letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

“First, Congress retains its right to conduct oversight of the executive branch at all times, regardless of any perceptions of poor timing by, or inconvenience to, the executive branch. The Senate Judiciary Committee has obligations to ensure the proper functioning of the federal government at all times, and not just during windows of convenience for political officials. Second, your Department’s pending litigation justification is without basis, particularly given how you have provided at least one Department witness for the exact same topic during the pendency of other litigation over the last few years.”

http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/cruz-threatens-to-subpoena-treasury-officials-to-testify-about-obamacare-rules/

LA Times: Is The Republican Campaign To Repeal Obamacare Over?

After five years and more than 50 votes in Congress, the Republican campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or “Obamacare”) is essentially over, states the LA Times.

According to the LA Times, GOP congressional leaders, unable to roll back the law while President Obama remains in office and unwilling to again threaten a government shutdown to pressure him, are focused on other issues like trade and tax reform.

Another interesting development is that senior Republican lawmakers have quietly incorporated many of the law’s key protections into their own proposal bills, including guaranteeing coverage and providing government assistance to help consumers purchase insurance.

Oddly, facing the situation that the Supreme Court this year could strip away insurance subsidies provided through the law, several GOP lawmakers have even proposed extending the aid, perhaps even until a new president takes office.

Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush has shown little enthusiasm for a new healthcare fight. Last year, he even criticized the repeal effort, states the LA Times.

This doesn’t mean that efforts to repeal the law will completely stop.

“Only 18% of Americans want to go back to the system we had before because they do not want to go back to some of the problems we had,” Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster who works for presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who still demand a repeal, appear to be long shots for the presidential nomination, states the LA Times.

More realistic might be adjustments to Obamacare rather than outright repeal. For example, the Affordable Care Act allows states to enact policies that specifically ban abortion coverage in health plans offered through the health insurance exchange.

Right now, Republicans in the House State Affairs Committee in Texas are considering just such a bill that would ban coverage for abortion in health plans offered through the ACA’s health insurance exchange.

Opponents, however, argued that House Bill 3130 would create yet another hurdle for women.

More:

http://www.latimes.com/business/healthcare/la-na-obamacare-republicans-20150418-story.html#page=1

(Updated article)

Do More People Have Health Insurance Now That We Have Obamacare?

Sam Seder

A new survey finds that just 11.9 percent of people in the United States did not have health insurance in the first quarter of the year. It is a drop of 5.2 percentage points since Obamacare went into effect, states The Hill.

The Gallup-Healthways survey was released Monday and finds that since Obamacare’s coverage expansion went into effect at the beginning of 2014, the rate has fallen from 17.1 percent.

Majority Report looks at the statistics regarding the uninsured after the passage of Obamacare.

(Updated post)

GOP Budget Increases Military Spending, Cuts Domestic Funding

Secular Talk

The L.A. Times states, “House Republicans released a 2016 spending blueprint Tuesday that seeks to fulfill the GOP goal of balancing the budget in 10 years, but does so by slashing Medicare and other safety net programs while dramatically boosting military spending.”

The budget re-visits old right-wing proposals a “signature proposal for overhauling Medicare with a voucher-like private insurance option,” states the L.A. Times.

U.S. News and World Report wrote that there was a potential stalemate between conservatives who are “deficit hawks” vs. conservatives who are “defense hawks.” The vote in the House was 228 to 199.

“Leadership managed to convince enough members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to support a proposal that met dual goals of balancing the budget and increasing military spending, giving them enough support to pass a budget without the help of Democrats or Republicans insisting against any increase in spending,” states U.S. News and World Report.

Republicans see the budget rules as the best way to tackle a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, since only a simple majority of votes in the Senate are required under a special budget process called reconciliation.  So they see “de-funding” Obamacare as the best way to “repeal” it.

The budget “purports to cut $5.6 trillion off the deficit and balance the budget within a decade, repeals the Affordable Care Act and slashes nondefense discretionary spending,” states U.S. News and World Report.

In February, the House of Representatives voted to repeal The ACA (“Obamacare”) for the 56th time, states the New York Times.  It didn’t work out. The law is already up and running and insuring people.

The Senate passed a Republican-authored budget plan early on Friday that “is similar to one passed by House Republicans on Wednesday,” states Reuters. It seeks $5.1 trillion in domestic spending cuts over 10 years while boosting military funding.

Reuters:

“The 52-46 vote on the non-binding budget resolution put Congress on a path to complete its first full budget in six years. It came at the end of a marathon 18-hour session that saw approval of dozens of amendments ranging from Iran sanctions to carbon emissions and immigration policies.”

“…both documents seek to ease the path for a repeal or replacement of President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law.”

Does this sound like a budget that the President will sign into law?

(Updated post)