NATIONAL NEWS: New North Carolina Anti-Gay Law Faces Court Challenge

(sebra/Shutterstock)

(sebra/Shutterstock)

New North Carolina gay discrimination law is headed to court.

A new anti-LGBTQ law that prevents North Carolina municipalities and counties from extending protections to LGBTQ citizens in restaurants, hotels, and stores is now being challenged by The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and Equality North Carolina. The controversial law was signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last week after GOP lawmakers wanted to overturn an impending Charlotte ordinance that allowed transpeople to have a restroom preference that matched their selected gender identity. The lawsuit argues that “by singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution. H.B. 2 imposes a different and more burdensome political process on LGBT people than on non-LGBT people who have state protection against identity-based discrimination.” Read more »

Philly Is Winning at Enrolling People for Obamacare

HealthCare.gov

HealthCare.gov

Philly is among the nation’s leaders in enrolling residents for health insurance, the White House announced this week. Signup for Obamacare coverage during the 2016 year ends today.

The city joined Milwaukee and Detroit in signing the most new residents for health insurance, White House officials said, though they told Philly Mag today they don’t yet have an exact number. The communities were among 20 big cities challenged by the White House in November to raise their health insurance enrollment rates during the signup period. Read more »

American Government? What a Waste.

I understand that Republican leaders in Congress are working to repeal Obamacare. What a splendid idea that is: to try to rid the country of a law that, while it has its flaws (mostly, it doesn’t go far enough), by all credible accounts is working remarkably well. This is their 61st attempt to jettison the health-care legislation. Way back in July of 2012, Nancy Pelosi tweeted that House Republicans had thus far devoted 88 hours and 53 minutes to trying to kill Obamacare. Can you imagine what that total is now, three and a quarter years later? Read more »

BizFeed: Health Insurers Want Big Rate Increases

Ben Franklin surgical mask

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1. Health Insurers Seek Big Rate Increases

The News: Health insurance companies say the new patients they attained due to health care reform are much sicker — and expensive — than expected. And now, insurers around the country are hoping to raise rates 20 percent to 40 percent, according to the New York Times. That includes Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in five states (not including Pennsylvania.) Read more »

Obamacare Survives Supreme Court Ruling

zimmytws/Shutterstock

zimmytws/Shutterstock

In a 6-3 decision on Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allows the federal government to provide subsidies for health insurance in states — like Pennsylvania — without their own health insurance exchanges.

The case saves essential subsidies for 6 million people in 34 states who rely on them to get care. Approximately 500,000 are in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. (States with their own exchanges would have continued operating normally.)

In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

He also wrote that the “credits are necessary for the federal exchanges to function like their state exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.”

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Obama Adviser Apologizes for Penn Comments

The presidential adviser who told a Penn audience that Obamacare passed, in part, due to “the stupidity of the America voter” has apologized for his comments.

Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor, made the comment at a Penn conference on health care more than a year ago. Video of the comment had emerged in recent months, fueling a new round of GOP criticism of the law.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber said in the video. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the America voter, or whatever.”
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Penn’s Ezekiel Emanuel Wants to Die at 75

Ezekiel J. Emanuel

Penn’s Ezekiel Emanuel — known for being Rahm‘s brother and a key figure in the development of Obamacare — has a provocative piece in The Atlantic: “Why I Hope to Die at 75.

It’s causing quite a stir.

Emanuel goes to great pains to say that he’s not trying to create a policy enforced on anybody else — but he does say he figures, essentially, that the fun and creative and useful part of his life will be more or less done when he’s 75. When he hits that age, he says, he’ll stop going to the doctor for checkups and let his body take its natural course — no life-extending medicine for him.
Read more »

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