Obama administration health policy veterans launched a political advocacy campaign Wednesday dedicated to increasing Obamacare enrollment in the wake of steep cuts to to the program’s federal marketing budget.
The campaign, “Get America Covered,” is led by Lori Lodes and Joshua Peck, both of whom oversaw enrollment for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama administration. The Obamacare advocates embarked on the campaign in an effort to revitalize enrollment marketing efforts in the wake of steep cuts to the advertising budget under the current HHS.
Insurers are making final decisions about their Obamacare rates for next year. So far, it looks as if many of them will be building in an uncertainty tax.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has compiled proposed insurance prices for coverage in 21 large American cities next year. The rates remain subject to change as insurers and regulators continue to negotiate. But the Kaiser researchers have done similar analyses over the last few years and found the proposed rates to be roughly predictive of the national trend.
Two themes stick out: One is that, while insurance premiums will rise substantially in many cities, the increases are generally not bigger than they were last year. The other is that insurers are being quite explicit about citing the Trump administration’s hostile policy messages as a substantial reason for the higher prices.
President Donald Trump’s bold threat to push “Obamacare” into collapse may get harder to carry out after a new court ruling.
The procedural decision late Tuesday by a federal appeals panel in Washington has implications for millions of consumers. The judges said that a group of states can defend the legality of government “cost-sharing” subsidies for copays and deductibles under the Affordable Care Act if the Trump administration decides to stop paying the money.
The Obamacare marketplaces can be thought of as a government-run store. The government gives many customers subsidies, like gift cards, that they can use to buy insurance. But what happens if no companies want to sell their products in the store?
That is the problem that could face Obamacare customers if no insurance carriers show up in a given area, a risk policy makers call the bare-market problem. That risk is growing as the administration sends negative signals about the future of the market. If all the insurers start leaving some stores, consumers there will find their options dwindling, and then their subsidies will become worthless. Most would end up uninsured. The problem could affect as few as dozens of customers — or spread more broadly to affect a substantial fraction of the approximately 11 million people currently enrolled in Obamacare coverage.
The Affordable Care Act’s worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage the law created. They’re also discussing changes that could affect a wider net of employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for seniors.
Although Republicans failed last month in their first attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Donald Trump vows the effort will continue. And even if Congress does nothing, Trump has suggested he might sit by and “let Obamacare explode.”
Health insurance for the 20 million who benefited from the ACA’s expanded coverage is especially at risk. But they’re not the only ones potentially affected. Here’s how what’s going on in Washington might touch you.
Donald Trump may cast Obamacare as a job killer. But some entrepreneurs say they couldn’t have started their businesses without it.
Obamacare has freed them from depending on employers for health insurance. Instead, they told CNNMoney they can pursue their own American Dreams and work for themselves while getting coverage through the exchanges.
The President-elect’s promise to repeal Obamacare next year has left these small business owners fearful that they will have to dismantle everything they’ve worked for and return to the corporate sector just to remain insured.
Lawmakers draft, then pass laws which can adversely impact business. Rarely do those legislators feel the impacts of their created legislation themselves. Those impacts are usually in the form of financial losses, which can wind up being covered by the U.S. taxpayer, according to a report by Rick Manning in the Net Right Daily of Aug. 13 (online). The account also elaborates on the increasing cost of health insurance, specifically, as being the reason behind those opting to pay the ACA tax or fine – meaning they have opted to go without health insurance coverage altogether.
If the actual number of individuals paying for their health insurance via Obamacare lessens – this will have an adverse effect on the earnings of health insurance companies. Under the Affordable Care Act, these losses will in part be covered by U.S. taxpayers.
Frequent and noted Affordable Care Act critic, Arvik Roy, who is also a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has a plan to replace Obamacare – one that does not actually mandate full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
According to a report in Human Events (online, 8/14) Roy’s proposal would:
● Reform the healthcare exchanges (or marketplaces).
● Call for a repeal of the employer mandate.
● Reform both Medicaid and Medicare.
Other reforms proposed by Roy would address hospital groups employing their collective power to charge high rates; also, medical malpractice litigation reforms are proposed Roy.
The Hill reports Tuesday that though supporters of the plaintiffs in the federal case of Halbig v. Burwell say they only want to ensure Obamacare is adhered to as written, the net effect is that an appeals court decision on Tuesday ruled subsidies for millions of enrollees may be in jeopardy. While that may not be an immediate scenario, speculation now ensues that consumers may at some point have to pay back the subsidies they received from the government; an outcome which could be potentially politically disastrous for the Obama administration.
At the same time, another federal court decision at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, reflected a completely different opinion that the IRS can grant such subsidies on the federal healthcare exchanges. The court cited the lack of clarity in the language of the Affordable Care Act. Though, if things eventually go the Halbig way, 5 million individuals could lose their health coverage subsidy.