A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Legal Challenges"

Transcending King v. Burwell: With The Supreme Court's Blessing, The GOP Can Replace Obamacare's Exchanges

Forbes
Thu, 2015-01-15
By Avik Roy On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the case that many pundits claim will “blow up Obamacare.” That’s an exaggeration; whatever the High Court decides, Obamacare will remain entrenched in federal law. But if the Supremes do end up ruling against the Obama administration—a distinct possibility—they will be giving Congress a uniquely important opportunity to reshape the Affordable Care Act in far-reaching ways. Here’s how that could work. Background on the Supreme Court case First, some background on the issue, one we’ve been writing about since 2011, before it reached the courts. Obamacare expands coverage to the uninsured using two mechanisms. The law was designed to achieve about half of its coverage expansion by expanding Medicaid, the 1965-vintage single-payer health care system for the poor.

More CBO transparency could have prevented Obamacare's CLASS debacle

Washington Examiner
Tue, 2015-01-13
Mere days into a Republican Congress, Democrats are making charges of ideological bias when it comes to the majority’s handling of the Congressional Budget Office. A group of leading Senate Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner specifically noting that “a CBO director should not be required to revise the score of the Affordable Care Act in order to please partisan interests.” It’s an ironic charge, given that it’s far from partisan to question why the CBO failed to perform analyses that could have predicted the collapse of an $86 billion Obamacare program — exactly what happened under its current director, Doug Elmendorf. The program in question, Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS, was designed to provide cash benefits for those needing long-term services and support. CLASS made it into Obamacare at the behest of then-Sen.

Health-Law Suit Hints at G.O.P. Divide

New York Times
Mon, 2015-01-12
New York Times correspondent Abby Goodnough asks if the latest legal challenges to ObamaCare are signaling a divide within the party or are Republicans still recovering from getting burned when the ACA went to the Supreme Court last time?” About 5 million middle-income people in 36 states currently are receiving subsidies for health insurance through the federal exchanges. Since 87 percent of them are receiving subsidies to purchase coverage, many likely would no longer be able to afford coverage. Ms. Goodenough reports that after the health overhaul law was passed in 2010, Republicans on both the state and federal level spoke with one voice flatly rejecting ObamaCare. However, in the years following ObamaCare’s passage while the majority of governor’s still remain critical of the law, nine governors have expanded their Medicaid programs and four more governors are considering Medicaid expansion this year at the urging of hospitals and business groups.

Eligible Americans Turn Down Obamacare Tax Credits

US News
Mon, 2015-01-12
By Kimberly Leonard Grace Brewer says she never thought she would be without health insurance at this stage of her life. "I'm a casualty of Obamacare," says Brewer, 60, a self-employed chiropractor in the Kansas City, Kansas, area. She wanted to keep the catastrophic health insurance plan she once had, which she says fit her needs. But under the Affordable Care Act, the government's health care reform law, the plan was discontinued because it did not comply with the law's requirements, and her bills doubled to more than $400 a month. "I wanted a minimal plan and I’m not allowed to have it," she says. "That seems like an encroachment on my freedom." The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Government subsidies can reduce costs for low- and middle-income Americans and without them, many say they could not afford insurance.

What Will Be the Biggest Challenges Facing the ACA in 2015?

American Health Line
Wed, 2015-01-07
The Affordable Care Act faces several challenges in 2015.Which of those will just be bumps in the road, and which ones will become major issues this year? The Potential Headache: Owing the IRS This year will be the first that individuals could potentially need to repay IRS if they incorrectly calculated their projected 2014 income and received subsidies to help purchase exchange coverage that were larger than for which they were eligible. As many as half of the about 6.8 million U.S. residents who received subsidies might have to repay at least a portion of them, according to an estimate by H&R Block.

How The New Congress Can Thoughtfully Repeal Obamacare's Expansion

Forbes
Tue, 2015-01-06
By Jonathan Ingram, Josh Archambault, and Nic Horton — Mr. Ingram is Research Director, Mr. Archambault a Senior Fellow, and Mr. Horton is a Policy Impact Specialist at the Foundation for Government Accountability. Tomorrow, a new Congress convenes, with the largest Republican majorities in nearly a century. These Republicans, elected on the promise of rolling back Obamacare, are ready to start chipping away at the law. One of their first targets? Obamacare’s immoral funding scheme that prioritizes able-bodied adults over the truly needy. Obamacare Values The Able-Bodied Over The Truly Needy The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rates determine how the cost of Medicaid will be divvied up between the federal government and the states. FMAP rates vary by state, depending on states’ per capita personal income.

2015: The ObamaCare Crucible

Commentary Magizine
Mon, 2015-01-05
By Tevi Troy The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, has had a tough run of it since being signed into law nearly five years ago. It has faced constitutional challenges, voters ousting congressional Democrats who supported it, and the disastrous rollout of its federal website in October 2013. This past fall, supporters launched a public-relations campaign dedicated to the proposition that things were finally going well for ObamaCare’s 7 million sign-ups, but their campaign was derailed when the Obama administration admitted that it had added 400,000 dental patients to the roster of health-insurance enrollees to falsely claim it had reached the 7 million number. It is likely that ObamaCare’s low point hasn’t been reached. The year 2015 is shaping up to be the ACA’s worst yet.

The IRS violated the law and state sovereignty

Forbes
Mon, 2015-01-05
By Grace-Marie Turner The Internal Revenue Service usurped its authority and overturned longstanding norms of federalism in ruling that health insurance subsidies could be available through federally-created exchanges, the Galen Institute and state legislators argued in an Amicus brief submitted Monday in the pending King v. Burwell lawsuit. The U.S.

What Should the new Congress do about ObamaCare?

American Enterprise Institute
Fri, 2014-12-26
The new Republican Congress may not be able to repeal and replace Obamacare entirely, but it could make substantial progress by targeting the health law’s key structural components. This November’s electoral wave reopened and widened the strategic playing field for critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republican control of both houses of Congress, plus larger majorities of state governors and state legislatures present both opportunities and challenges to move beyond rhetorical opposition and advance changes in national health policy. Initial speculation tends to focus more on tactical considerations on Capitol Hill: which items are easiest to pass in the Senate, how to use budget reconciliation, and which votes will “look good” politically even if vetoed by President Obama. Those are not inconsequential matters in the near term, but they can obscure more important ones. What are the most important policy and political priorities for the new Republican majorities?

A Post-ObamaCare Strategy

The Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-12-15
With the Supreme Court due to rule on a major ObamaCare legal challenge by next summer, thoughts in Washington are turning to the practical and political response. If the Court does strike down insurance subsidies, the question for Republicans running Congress is whether they will try to fix the problems Democrats created, or merely allow ObamaCare’s damage to grow. The time to define a strategy is soon, as King v. Burwell will be heard in March with a ruling likely in June. As a matter of ordinary statutory construction, the Court should find that when the law limited subsidies to insurance exchanges established by states, that does not include the 36 states where the feds run exchanges. But in that event one result would be an immediate refugee crisis. Of the 5.4 million consumers on federal exchanges, some 87% drew subsidies in 2014, according to a Rand Corporation analysis. Continued... http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-post-obamacare-strategy-1418601071

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