The recent ruling by the D.C. Circuit that the implementation of Obamacare is illegal has uncovered the possibility that the Obama administration was aware of this all along.
A decision by a federal appeals courts put into doubt a key feature of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. It ruled that residents in the 36 states that have not set up their own insurance “exchanges” aren’t eligible for tax credits when they buy coverage. Those credits are crucial to making the law work because they make insurance plans affordable. (The ruling may not stand; another court the same day made the opposite call.)
In October 2013, a tech company now known as Optum Insight QSSI, was charged with rescuing Healthcare.gov – following its tech-flawed debut. According to a report in Wednesday’s Daily Signal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and UnitedHealth are now silent following some senators’ inquiries regarding an ethics waiver which has been granted to Andrew Slavitt.
The waiver, by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), allows the agency to begin working with Slavitt’s former company – Optum Insight QSSI. Slavitt currently has the second in command administrative position at CMS, as its principal deputy administrator. The waiver has been issued in spite of concerns about potential conflicts of interest by Republican senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Chuck Grassley, of Iowa. Hatch and Grassley have sent letters to both CMS and United Health, which acquired QSSI in September, 2012.
Aaron Albright, spokesman for CMS, told the Daily Signal: “Andy Slavitt has taken all appropriate steps, such as severing financial ties with his former employer, which allow him to execute his duties as principal deputy and participate in broad policy matters, including those affecting the health care industry. He will be recused, as appropriate, from participation in specific party matters, such as contracts or claims, involving his former employer.”
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.
According to a report in the Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Sign on July 16, the home healthcare industry in the United States is lagging. In February of this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that those businesses providing care to those patients requiring such care lost 3,800 jobs. This is following Medicare cuts which occurred between December of 2013 and this past January.
Some claim those cuts originated from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Daily Signal said such HHS reductions in home healthcare have wound up significantly impacting women. The Daily Signal cites findings by Avalere Health, which say “more than 5 million women are affected directly, since women make up the majority of home health care beneficiaries.”
Some people put off seeing the doctor, others don’t understand why they would still pay a premium while on vacation. Still, some don’t comprehend having to make a co-payment for a check-up. According to a Washington Post report of July 16, such confusion is common because Obamacare has its own language and complex fee structures. In one instance, a healthcare facility resorted to diagrams and charts as a way to try and explain Obamacare plans to new enrollees.
Also, according to the Washington Post report, some local community health centers are finding they’re having to make a mad dash of it ─ coming up with ad hoc, easy-to-read brochures to explain health insurance policies. According to Kathy May, director of Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare, some people “think they have to pay their full deductible up front, and they don’t have it.” Still, others often don’t understand why they would need to pay a monthly rate for services scarcely used, and later pay additional monies when they do.
The best way to fight Obamacare may be to give a human face to those adversely impacted by it. One place to start could be with the doctors, nurses, and other hospital care workers seeing first-hand the damaging effects the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare, some say, is adversely impacting the relationship between healthcare provider and patient.
According to political veteran Karl Rove, in the Washington Post on July 16, this means the highest level of patient care is not dispensed. Rove suggests politicians should put these and other Obamacare issues at the center of their campaigns. This would compel GOP candidates to lay out their options to Obamacare, while holding Democrats feet to the fire – at the polls.
Rove adds, “Many people who lost their existing policies because they didn’t comply with Obamacare’s mandates are finding their new premiums and deductible are much higher.” Rove also says this serves to “explode the myth of liberal competence and compassion.”
Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, congressional investigators said Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul suffered a potentially crippling blow as a U.S. appeals court ruled the government can’t give financial assistance to anyone buying coverage on the insurance marketplace run by federal authorities.
The decision, if it withstands appeals, may deprive more than half the people who signed up for Obamacare the tax credits they need to buy a health plan.
On no legal basis, all 4.5 million residents of the five U.S. territories were quietly released from Obamacare.
The original House and Senate bills that became the Affordable Care Act included funding for insurance exchanges in these territories, as President Obama promised when as a Senator he campaigned in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other 2008 Democratic primaries. But the $14.5 billion in subsidies for the territories were dumped in 2010 as ballast when Democrats needed to claim the law reduced the deficit.