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Canary in the Obamacare Coal Mine

114 posts in this topic

Covered California premiums projected to rise 11 percent in 2019

Catherine Ho

May 17, 2018

The elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to buy health insurance, which takes effect in 2019, is expected to lead to a 12 percent drop in enrollment and an 11 percent rise in insurance premiums for Californians buying health plans on the individual market, according to estimates in a proposed annual budget released by Covered California, the state health insurance marketplace, on Thursday.

In California, about 2.4 million people buy health plans in the individual market. That includes 1.3 million people who receive Affordable Care Act federal subsidies to buy insurance through Covered California, and roughly 1.2 million who buy plans without subsidies.

The Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” requires people to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The requirement, known as the individual mandate, is considered one of the most important and controversial components of the health law. Congress repealed the mandate as part of a tax bill passed in December, but the repeal does not take effect until 2019.

(Snip)

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NFIB v. Sebelius Comes Back to Bite Obamacare

David Catron

June 11 2019

Unless you have been vacationing in a far away galaxy, you will have heard the ululations of Obamacare apologists enraged by the Trump administration’s refusal to defend the health care law against a 20-state lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.Obamacare advocates claim that the failure to defend the ACA in Texas v. United States is an unprecedented dereliction of duty by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This is hysterical nonsense. It is indeed unusual, but the DOJ is by no means obligated to defend a law deemed unconstitutional by the President, as Attorney General Sessions explains in his notification letter to Congress:

Quote

The Department in the past has declined to defend a statute in cases in which the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional and made manifest that it should not be defended, as is the case here.See Seth P. Waxman, Defending Congress, 79 N.C. L.Rev. 1073, 1083 (2001).

Not coincidentally, this is the very language that erstwhile Attorney General Eric Holder used in his letter advising Congress, in February of 2011, that the Obama DOJ would not defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That decision was cheered by the very people who now accuse the Trump administration of “lawlessness” for not defending Obamacare. Ironically, the very real threat posed by Texas v. United States has its roots in another legal travesty that these people also celebrated — the 2012 Supreme Court ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius. That decision contained the seeds of Obamacare’s destruction.

Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius, rejected the Obama administration’s claim that Congress could impose the individual mandate pursuant to the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. However, Roberts held that the mandate was nonetheless constitutional because its penalty was in effecta tax. He ostensibly reached this conclusion because it was designed to raise revenue and would be enforced by the IRS. The plaintiffs in Texas v. United States argue that this rationale, such as it was, no longer applies because Congress reduced the tax-penalty to zero last year. Their complaint puts it thus:

(Snip)

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Trump Administration Action Could Lower Health Care Costs, Expand Coverage for Small Business Employees

Fred Lucas

June 19 2018

A new Labor Department regulation finalized Tuesday—which will make it easier for small businesses to pool resources to negotiate with large employers—will expand health care coverage for 4 million Americans by 2023, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Out of that 4 million—who were previously required to buy on the individual market through Obamacare exchanges—400,000 do not have insurance, according to a May 23 CBO report.

Further, under “association health plans,” premiums are estimated to decrease between $1,900 and $4,100 per year, a senior Department of Labor official told The Daily Signal during a background briefing with two reporters Monday.

(Snip)

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The Federalist Capers: The Twilight of Obamacare

By David Kamioner| July 30th, 2018

The absurd debacle known as Obamacare is not something about which I normally write. However, like a secret vice, I maintain a fascination with federalism and with the nature of the relationship between the feds and the states. Having done professional research into the subject for quite some time, including geeky 10th Amendment matters and all that. OK, it’s kind of dry. But if we don’t pay attention, some of us may have less money for vital necessities like cigars and bourbon. And those I know about. So, listen up.

Also, national economic well-being is a factor in national security. No cash—because it is being spent on awkwardly implemented health care “reform”—no guns.

That’s why it’s interesting that the Trump Administration is proposing a plan that would allow states to expand the use of short-term, limited duration health insurance. Currently, the plans last for up to three months before you can sign up for a longer-term plan through existing Obamacare exchanges.   :snip: 

https://amgreatness.com/2018/07/30/the-federalist-capers-the-twilight-of-obamacare/

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Trump is reforming healthcare with his push for online hospital pricing

Erin Dunne

August 07, 2018

Last Thursday, the Trump administration came out with a new rule that requires hospitals to post online the prices they charge for medical procedures. This is good for Americans and moves the country closer to the administration’s vow to work towards “value-based care” or reduced costs and improved outcomes.

Previously, hospitals were only required to make the information about prices available to those who asked for it. Even with this requirement, some insurers had agreements that prevented their charges from being shared with patients sometimes resulting in higher co-pays for treatment “covered” by insurance than patients would have paid out of pocket if they had had no insurance.

With the new rule, information about prices must be available online and must be updated every year. The charges posted on the Internet will reflect the “charge master” price or the charge at that hospital. Although it won’t reflect what patients see on their bills because of private agreements between insurance companies and hospitals, and it won’t solve the issue of prices varying wildly within cities and within a single hospital, the new rule is a step in the right direction of improving healthcare transparency.

(Snip)

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Obamacare Is Unconstitutional, But The Texas Judge Was Wrong To Strike It Down

Obamacare is probably the worst piece of legislation in American history, but this judge’s decision was based on a weak legal argument and will almost certainly be overturned.

 

By Michael Autery

JANUARY 4, 2019

On December 14, District Court Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. Earlier this year, some 20 conservative state attorneys general sued in federal court arguing that since the tax law that passed last year reset the individual mandate penalty to zero, it’s no longer a tax.

When the Supreme Court weighed in on Obamacare for the first time in 2012, they ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional, but only as a tax. So if it’s no longer a tax now because it raises no revenue, it’s no longer constitutional.     :snip: 

Is the Mandate Still a Tax?

The key point in the question of whether the mandate is still a tax if the penalty is zero comes from Roberts’ definition of a tax. His most useful assertion for the current case is this: “the essential feature of any tax: it produces at least some revenue for the Government.”    :snip:    http://thefederalist.com/2019/01/04/obamacare-unconstitutional-texas-judge-wrong-strike/ 

 

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I disagree with the writers train of thought, mainly none

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One good thing, this is the last year for the fines.  I'm a tax professional, for now, and when I do people's taxes and they have to pay the fine, boy I get lots of complaints.  I had a guy yesterday cuss up a blue streak so much that it could make a freight train take a dirt road.

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Revealed: How The CBO Saved ObamaCare With Bogus Forecasts

 

How do you enact a massive new program, and then keep it from being repealed after it fails? It's simple. Just pull the numbers out of thin air. That's basically what happened with ObamaCare.

When centrist Democrats were deciding whether to support ObamaCare in 2010, the "nonpartisan" Congressional Budget Office told them not to worry. The law, it said, would cut the deficit. It would bring 24 million people into the new ObamaCare exchanges. Subsidy costs would be modest. And the number of uninsured would fall by more than half. Those Dems signed on.

ObamaCare Repeal Thwarted

Seven years later, as centrist Republicans contemplated an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan, the CBO warned that doing so would boost the number of uninsured by 22 million. That scared enough Republicans away to kill the bill.

Turns out, all those forecasts were way off.

ObamaCare boosted the deficit in its first 10 years. Only 8 million, not 24 million, people enrolled in the ObamaCare exchanges. The average cost of ObamaCare subsidies is 11% higher, and the number uninsured 36% higher, than the CBO projected.:snip:

 
 
 
 
 

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Justice Department will back judge's ruling ending Obamacare

The Justice Department announced that it would support an appeals court decision that the entire Obamacare law should be thrown out. The decision reverses previous policy that supported keeping some protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The federal judge's sweeping ruling last December was a blow to a group of Democratic-led states who had sued to stop several changes to the law from going into effect. That ruling is now being appealed and is likely to end up at the Supreme Court.

Politico:

"The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's judgment should be affirmed," three Justice Department lawyers wrote to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now considering the case. "[T]he United States is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed."

Regardless of the outcome, legal experts anticipate that the 5th Circuit's ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. If the courts ultimately strike down Obamacare — over the objections of a group of Democrat-led states, which have spent more than a year defending the health law in court — the consequences could be substantial for patients, health care organizations and other groups that have adapted to the nine-year-old law.:snip:

 

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Affordable Care Act threatened as Trump administration, GOP states fight US House, Democratic states in court

WASHINGTON – Pop quiz: The Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015, and has survived dozens of repeal efforts in Congress. So is it finally safe?

Answer: Not yet.

The latest threat looms in New Orleans, where a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear 90 minutes of oral argument Tuesday in a challenge that threatens the law's key features – and possibly the entire 974-page statute.

We have been here before: in 2012, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the law, known as Obamacare, was constitutional under Congress' power of taxation; and again in 2015, when it saved the law's critical tax credits in federal as well as state insurance exchanges.

But in December, federal District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that by repealing the tax on people who refuse to buy insurance, Congress in 2017 rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional and, by extension, the law itself. The repeal was included in the $1.5 trillion tax cut pushed through the Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.:snip:

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Federal appellate court hears arguments in case challenging Obamacare

Attorneys defending the Affordable Care Act faced sharp questions in New Orleans Tuesday about whether eliminating the act’s penalty for not buying health insurance renders the entire law unconstitutional.

Chief Justice John Roberts provided the pivotal swing vote when a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled the act, also known as “Obamacare,” constitutional in 2012. The 5-4 majority decision rested in large part on the idea that the monetary penalty for failing to buy insurance was included in the federal government’s power to tax.

In 2017, Congress reduced that penalty to zero. Plaintiffs challenging the law, including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, argue that since there’s no longer a tax penalty, the mandate is unconstitutional and should be thrown out along with the rest of the law. The original lawsuit was brought by the state of Texas.:snip:

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