Obamacare Won’t Affect Most 2012 Taxes, Despite Firm’s Claim

Author interviews expert who believes that an H&R Block ad saying that the Affordable Care Act means big changes in 2013 filing taxes is “fairly misleading.”  A recent poll shows that two-thirds of Americans don’t really understand the health care law.

Read more at NPR.com

Smoking Out a Major Flaw in Obamacare

The author claims that by smoking — or simply saying that you smoke — can put you beyond reach of the individual mandate to buy health insurance that is cornerstone of the entire plan. The mandate is backed up by a tax penalty, but in September 2009, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer introduced an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would exempt from the individual mandate anyone whose premiums exceed 8 percent of annual income. Democrats added mandates and the cost of a typical policy is now about 8 percent for those who don’t qualify for subsidies on those insurance exchanges that start up next year. The smoking surcharge would put most people over the limit. So simply by saying “I’m a smoker” will cause a higher premium to be charged and then one will not have to pay any penalty.

Read more at The (New Jersey) Star-Ledger

Do Obamacare’s Defenders Hate Seniors or Doctors (or Both)?

Author contends that Medicare will to slash physician fees by 25% by January 2014 (under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997), additional (Obamacare-required) cuts to physician fees so severe that by 2030; Medicare will be paying doctors 60 percent less than private health insurance plans (and nearly one-third less than Medicaid pays); Obamacare-mandated reductions in payments to hospitals so drastic that hospital prices for both Medicare and Medicaid will be around half those paid by private health insurers by the year 2040 and eventually hospitals will be paid 61 percent less by Medicare and Medicaid than by private health insurers; and physicians eventually will be paid 74 percent less under Medicare than private insurance.

Read more at Forbes

‘Obamacare’ to Drive up Health-Care Premiums? Report Sets off Firestorm.

Yet another article on the much-discussed report by the Society of Actuaries that says insurance companies will face an average increase of 32 percent for medical claims under reform. That could lead to higher premiums. But the White House disputes all of this.

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

6 Companies Cashing in on Obamacare

The author discusses six companies that will be economically successful as they work with hospitals, insurance providers and others attempting to meet Obamacare law deadlines: Health Recovery Solutions, Eligible, GoHealth, QuantiaMD, Connecture, hCentive.

Read more at CNNMoney

How Obamacare Will Impact Americans With Disabilities

The author, a rehabilitation specialist, explains what he believes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) means for people with brain injuries. Aside from some confusion of reimbursement changes, the author believes that our most vulnerable citizens will see their circumstances fundamentally improve. Come 2014, medical underwriting is dead. Insurance rates will vary only by geography, smoking status, and a maximum of a 1 to 3 ratio between the youngest and oldest policy holders. Insurance plans must accept all customers regardless of pre-existing conditions, etc.

Read more at Forbes

Study: Obamacare to Raise Claims Cost 32 Percent

Associated Press story about a report by the Society of Actuaries claims that whereas some states will see medical claims costs per person decline under Obamacare, the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers. The administration questions the design of the study, saying it ignored cost relief strategies in the law such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick. The study also doesn’t take into account the potential price-cutting effect of competition in new state insurance markets that will go live on Oct. 1, 2014, administration officials said.

Read more at The Washington Times

ObamaCare Reviews Mixed 3 Years Later: Opinionline

A sampling from around the country of what editorial writers and bloggers are saying about the Affordable Care Act on its anniversary. Opinions vary.

Read more at USA Today

State Officials Predict ‘Train Wreck’ Under Obamacare

Julie Hamos, director of the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services, told Illinois lawmakers that said Illinois saved $1.1 billion in healthcare costs in 2012, but lawmakers were expecting $1.6 billion in savings. The state has $2.3 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills.

Read more at The Alton (Illinois) Telegraph

Opponents Mark Obamacare’s Third Anniversary with Lobbying Surge

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, or NFIB, along with medical device makers, health insurers, retailers and restaurants are together lobbying to gain Senate Democratic support for overturning $130 billion in taxes that will be used to fund the Obamacare law, and repealing a mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for full-time workers or pay a fine.

Read more at Reuters