On Obamacare’s Last Sign Up Day, Fate of Health Care Law Remains Uncertain

It’s the last open enrollment day for Obamacare, and the six-year-old health care reform law has never been more popular.

And it’s never been more doomed, although Republicans are still arguing over how and when to replace it — and whether to just tweak the Affordable Care Act and rename it, or completely repeal it and start over again from scratch.

This time last year, there was a huge last-ditch effort from the Obama administration to get people signed up in time to be covered for 2016 without paying an extra tax. This year, the Trump administration is virtually silent, with only the occasional post on social media and a broad cutback in pre-paid advertising.

Read more at NBC News

Last Call for 2017 Obamacare Insurance Coverage

If you haven’t signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, you are running out of time.

You have until Tuesday, Jan. 31, to apply for 2017 coverage through state and federal marketplaces. More than 11.5 million people have signed up for insurance through the exchanges as of Jan. 10.

President Donald Trump has been vocal about his plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Congress also has taken steps to undo the landmark health-care law.

What will unfold in 2018 is still a mystery; for now, the best decision is to lock in coverage while you still can.

Read more at CNBC

 

Koch-Backed Group Details Hopes for Obamacare Replacement

A conservative group funded by the Koch brothers is pushing for high-risk pools and a freeze on Medicaid expansions as lawmakers try to coalesce around a replacement for ObamaCare.

Freedom Partners began circulating a memo on Capitol Hill Monday with specific reforms it thinks should be included in the healthcare law’s replacement, including: the creation of high-risk pools at the state level to cover people with pre-existing conditions; the elimination of the ObamaCare mandate, which required everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty; and the expansion of access to health savings accounts, so people can save and pay for healthcare with pre-tax dollars.

The recommendations fall in line with what top Republicans in Congress have indicated they support.

Read more at The Hill

Health Insurers Quietly Shape Obamacare Replacement With Fewer Risks

U.S. health insurers are making their case to Republican lawmakers over how Americans sign up for individual insurance and pushing for other changes to shape the replacement of former President Barack Obama’s national healthcare law.

The health insurers, including Independence Blue Cross and Molina Healthcare Inc, are also recommending ways to put more control over insurance in the hands of states as the federal oversight of Obamacare is dismantled. They emphasize that it is crucial to keep government subsidies for low income people.

Read more at Reuters

Judge: Aetna Lied About Quitting Obamacare

A federal judge has ruled that Aetna wasn’t being truthful when the health insurer said last summer that its decision to pull out of most Obamacare exchanges was strictly a business decision triggered by mounting losses.

U.S. District Judge John Bates concluded this week that Aetna’s real motivation for dropping Obamacare coverage in several states was “specifically to evade judicial scrutiny” over its merger with Humana.

Aetna pulled out of Obamacare exchanges in 11 states last August, including 17 counties in Florida, Georgia and Missouri where the Department of Justice argued the merger would wipe out competition.

Read more at CNN

What’s in a Name? Obamacare May Not Have Been Such a Hot One

‘Obamacare’ was such a catchy nickname for the 2010 healthcare reform law. Headline writers love it and President Barack Obama decided to embrace it when his Republican enemies coined the term.

But the memorable handle may have done more harm than good for Obama’s signature policy, now in the process of being repealed before he even leaves office.

Read more at NBC News

Obamacare Repeal Would Leave 18 Million Uninsured, Send Premiums Soaring: Report

About 18 million people would lose or drop their health insurance in the first year after Obamacare is repealed, the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday.

The nonpartisan federal agency also found that health insurance premiums would spike another 20 to 25 percent, according to the new report. Within 10 years, 32 million more people would be without health insurance, the CBO projects.

Without a replacement, health care costs overall would continue to rise every year, as would the number of people going without health insurance. Premiums would continue to go up, as well.

Read more at NBC

Not Even Insurance Companies Want Obamacare Repealed

This week, Republicans took the first step toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act: the Senate passed a budget resolution that says the best way to take a chunk out of the federal budget deficit is to defund Obamacare. The measure is set to come to a vote in the House today, and chances are it will pass there, too—even though the GOP has no clear replacement plan lined up. Which is not an ideal situation for health insurance recipients, or insurers themselves.

Here’s why. Obamacare has plenty of critics, but scrapping it in its entirety is rash and will benefit few—particularly not the over 20 million people who didn’t have healthcare coverage before it was enacted. But what seems to be in the process of happening now—-cutting off the programs’ money without changing the underlying regulations—is kind of even worse.

Read more at Wired

Repealing Obamacare: Just What the Doctor Ordered for Wealthy Investors

The race to repeal Obamacare by President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress will have one immediate side effect beyond any doctor’s office: a large tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.

Urged on by Trump, the Senate overnight adopted a budget resolution that clears a path for eliminating the tax-and-spending provisions of the Affordable Care Act by simple majority vote — no Democratic cooperation required. That means repeal of two provisions targeted at high-income households: a 0.9 percent hospital insurance tax on earnings above $250,000 for couples and a 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends and other nonlabor income above that same threshold.

Read more at CNBC

6 Lesser-Known Obamacare Provisions That Could Evaporate

The outcome of the repeal-and-replace Obamacare debate could affect more than you might think, depending on just how the GOP congressional majority pursues its goal.

Beyond the Affordable Care Act’s marquee achievements like guaranteeing health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on parents’ plans until age 26, the roughly 2,000-page law created a host of other provisions that affect the health of nearly every American.

Some of these measures are evident every day. Some enjoy broad support, even though people often don’t always realize they spring from the statute.

Read more at NPR