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 »
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 »
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.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) December 9, 2014
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.”
Read more »
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 »
Pennsylvania will expand Medicaid to more than 300,000 people under the auspices of Obamacare, the state announced Thursday.
You know what’s harder than signing up for health insurance for the first time? Understanding the policy you bought.
The New York Times reports from Philadelphia on efforts to educate newly covered residents about how to use their health care now that the’ve received coverage for the first time. It’s not always easy:
Speaking to reporters Saturday at a conference of the National Governors Association in Nashville, Tennessee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continued to talk like a man with plans for a 2016 presidential run while finding new ways to be coy about actually committing to said presidential run.
By now, you’ve probably heard that Hobby Lobby won its case challenging the ObamaCare mandate that private employers provide birth control to female employees who were already receiving employer-provided health insurance. Hobby Lobby argued that providing birth control violated the religious beliefs of the company’s owners.
Less-publicized: A Pennsylvania company was also one of the challengers to the mandate, and is claiming victory today: