Healthcare

Obamacare, the Chaos Continues

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The perpetual chaos surrounding the Affordable Care Act law might be entertaining if so many Americans weren’t personally trapped in the middle of it.

  • This month the Supreme Court will finally issue its verdict on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s decision to arbitrarily offer subsidies to lower premium costs for people in the 36 states that don’t have ACA state exchanges.  The wait on the decision has elevated tensions on both sides, and a Wall Street Journal editorial wonders if “President Obama’s increasing show of pique when he talks about the law” means he thinks he’s going to lose this case.
  • The 16 states that have Obamacare exchanges are in trouble. Hawaii just dumped its exchange.  According to a watchdog group, “Of the 16 states that have health insurance exchanges, at least three — Vermont, Minnesota and Colorado — are debating a permanent shutdown. Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico have already shut down or relaunched using new technology vendors. In Vermont, a decision to call it quits could come by the end of the month.”
  • Looming ahead in 2018 is the Obamacare “Cadillac Tax” – a 40% employer excise tax on high-cost/high-benefit/low-deductible health care plans enjoyed predominately by city and state government workers. The tax hikes will force New York City to either (a) raise billions of dollars more from taxpayers to cover the tax, or (b) downsize the coverage and cost of health care plans it offers workers. Now multiply that by 50 states and countless other localities.
  • Conservatives haven’t given up on repealing and replacing government-directed Obamacare entirely with a free-market solution. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The official plan from the group of 170 House conservatives would repeal the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act starting Jan. 1, 2016.  …Under the RSC plan, individuals would get a standard tax deduction of $7,500 a year, rising to $20,500 for families, for buying health insurance. That would apply to everyone with private insurance, including the majority of Americans under the age of 65 who get coverage through a job.

The plan wouldn’t revive the ACA’s requirements that insurers let everyone buy coverage equally, sick or healthy. Instead, it brings back state high-risk pools, widely used before the health law — and still in operation in some parts of the country — to deal with insurers’ refusals to sell coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The pools would get $25 billion in federal funds over 10 years and would be required to cap premiums at twice the amount of the average premium in the state.

Sources:
ObamaCare Omen, Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 6/9/2105
Hawaii’s Health Care Collapse A Bad Omen for State Obamacare Exchanges, Bruce Parker, Watchdog.org, 5/19/2015
Obamacare’s Revenge: New York City Taxpayers are Headed for a collision with the ACA’s Cadillac Tax on high-cost health plans, Yevgenty Feyman, City Journal, 6/4/2015
House GOP Group Unveils Plan For Replacing Obamacare, Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2015