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September 18, 2014

Posts in "Affordable Care Act"

July 22, 2014

Obamacare Ruling a Balm to Boehner, Headache for Obama

Just when the president and his allies on Capitol Hill were starting to feel like the Obamacare troubles were mostly behind them, an appeals court decision brought another political and legal headache and new uncertainty about the law’s future Tuesday.

While White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed confidence that the 2-1 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Halbig v. Burwell voiding tax subsidies for people in states using Healthcare.gov would be reversed, the outcome of the case at least has the potential to gut subsidies at the core of the law for millions.

The ruling came gift-wrapped for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who plans a parallel lawsuit by the House seeking to undo Obama’s delays of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate — even though the House has voted to delay that mandate.

“For the second time in a month, the courts have ruled against the president’s unilateral actions regarding ObamaCare,” Boehner said in a statement. “The president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.”

It had Democrats on Capitol Hill fuming, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., calling it “absurd” and a case of “activist Republican judges.”

And Democrats and Republicans alike pointed to Reid’s decision last year to employ the “nuclear option” to end a GOP blockade of Obama nominees for the D.C. Circuit — as well as other posts — as potentially key to overturning the ruling. Full story

White House ‘Confident’ in Case to Overturn Obamacare Ruling (Video)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed confidence that the courts would ultimately uphold Obamacare’s subsidies, despite an appeals court ruling Tuesday.

“This ruling does not have any practical impact” for now, Earnest said.

The 2-1 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Halbig vs. Burwell adhered to the text of the law — that subsidies are allowed on state-based exchanges — potentially causing costs to skyrocket for millions in the 34 states that have relied on the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov. Full story

June 30, 2014

After Hobby Lobby Win, Obama Wants Congress to Pass New Contraception Law (Video)

court003 032514 445x296 After Hobby Lobby Win, Obama Wants Congress to Pass New Contraception Law (Video)

D.C. resident Leslie Ford attends a Hobby Lobby rally outside the Supreme Court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress should act to restore insurance coverage of contraception benefits after Hobby Lobby’s big win in the Supreme Court, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday.

Earnest said the decision jeopardizes the health of women by depriving them of federally mandated benefits for contraceptive services, and said the president doesn’t believe that bosses at for-profit companies should be able to impose their beliefs on the benefits provided to their employees.

“Congress needs to take action to solve this problem that’s been created,” Earnest said.

Full story

June 6, 2014

The Shrinking Obamacare Individual Mandate

cbo005 030414 445x297 The Shrinking Obamacare Individual Mandate

CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s the tax at the heart of Obamacare, but just more than 1 percent of Americans will end up paying it, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) slashed their estimates for how many people will pay the individual mandate tax penalty in 2016 by a third — to 4 million from 6 million — citing exemptions granted by the Obama administration, including exemptions for people whose plans were cancelled because they did not meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements.

That’ll lead to $4 billion in revenue in 2016 and $5 billion a year after that — a drop of about $3 billion a year. It will still generate $46 billion over a decade, the CBO said Thursday. Full story

May 8, 2014

Obama’s 2014 Stump Speech — Victory Lap but Wages Flat

parks012 022713 246x335 Obamas 2014 Stump Speech — Victory Lap but Wages Flat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s stump speech at a Los Angeles fundraiser Wednesday night was one part self-celebratory victory lap, one part a nod to the anxiety of families whose wages have remained flat and one part pure partisan red meat.

Perhaps most striking was the president’s acknowledgement that family incomes have remained stagnant on his watch, as he talked at length about “disquiet around the country” and frustration with a dysfunctional Washington.

“And for families, in particular, even with the recovery, they still have not seen an increase in wages, an increase in incomes. They’re still worried that they’re not going to be able to retire when they plan to retire. They worry about the prospects for their kids, whether they’re going to be able to live out their American Dream the same way that they did.” Full story

May 5, 2014

Gallup Poll Finds Big Drop in Uninsured in Boost to Obamacare

Reporters have been inundated in recent months with spin from the White House and Capitol Hill over all of those sign-ups for health insurance under Obamacare, but a new Gallup poll is hard to dispute.

The White House has proven amazingly speedy at delivering happy news, and mind-numbingly opaque when cataloguing the caveats.

Seven millions sign-ups! No, it’s 8 million! Wait (the GOP screams in a press release blizzard) — those “sign-ups” aren’t all people who have paid (true) and many of them weren’t uninsured to begin with (also true). Full story

April 10, 2014

Sebelius Resigning; Burwell to Take Place

Updated 8:37 p.m. | Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning and President Barack Obama will replace her with OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell.

Sebelius’s resignation comes on a relatively high note, with the White House trumpeting a late surge in initial signups for the Affordable Care Act exchanges — topping 7.5 million just today. But she was deeply damaged by the disastrous initial rollout of the Healthcare.gov website last year, and there had been speculation on how long she would last as a result. Full story

April 7, 2014

White House, on Obamacare High, Ranks POTUS With LBJ

The White House’s self-congratulations on Obamacare don’t appear to be slowing down any after last-week’s victory lap, judging by a background briefing with a senior administration official Monday.

Republicans bet big that the Affordable Care Act was going to be a failure, and they were wrong, said the official, who spoke to reporters on the condition that no direct quotes would be used. The GOP may think the health care law is going to sink Democrats, but that is not going to happen, the official said.

Instead, the Affordable Care Act would go down as one of the greatest achievements by any president in history, the official predicted, comparing President Barack Obama’s legislative achievements in his first two years in office favorably to President Lyndon Johnson’s accomplishments. (For those keeping track, LBJ’s achievements include civil rights, voting rights, Medicare and Medicaid, to name a few). The president will speak at an event later this week at the LBJ Presidential Library in Texas. Full story

April 1, 2014

Obama, Democrats Have 7 Million Reasons for a Victory Lap

For a president and congressional Democrats under siege for months last year during the disastrous HealthCare.gov rollout, Tuesday’s news of 7 million exchange sign-ups came as vindication four years in the making.

The White House rolled out the full victory lap regalia — capped by a sunny Rose Garden statement by President Barack Obama on the resuscitation of his signature legislative achievement.

It has been a rocky period for the White House, with few opportunities for celebration. The administration has faced near-daily challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act, with Obama’s poll ratings underwater, his legislative agenda stalled, the Democratic Senate potentially in play in November and members of his own party scrambling for cover.

But this time, the president wasn’t talking about a distant foreign crisis or a government shutdown. Nor was he apologizing for a broken website or a broken promise.

“This law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working,” the president declared to cheers from assembled supporters, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois.

“The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said. Full story

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