A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Legal Challenges"

Former Administration Official Sues HHS For Not Releasing 2015 Insurance Rates

Rachana Dixit Pradhan, Inside Health Policy
Wed, 2014-10-01
"Former HHS insurance oversight chief Jay Angoff has filed a lawsuit against the department for not making 2015 rate filings public, arguing the administration is not abiding by its own regulations on disclosing the information. Responding to the lawsuit, an HHS official said the agency will publish the rate information prior to the beginning of open enrollment. HHS Spokesperson Ben Wakana told Inside Health Policy late Wednesday (Oct. 1): "We are readying the rate change information. The department is committed to providing consumers accurate information so they can make informed decisions, and therefore, before the beginning of Open Enrollment, the agency will publish final insurance rates for all 50 states.”"

Supreme Court Poised For A Do-Over On Obamacare

Chris Conover
Forbes magazine
Wed, 2014-10-01
"The majority of Americans who continue to oppose Obamacare should be greatly pleased to learn that the Supreme Court is likely to get a do-over on this misguided and too-often-lawlessly-implemented law. Ours is a nation of fresh starts and second chances: it is only fitting that SCOTUS be handed an opportunity to undo the convoluted, flagrantly political and highly controversial decision it made in June 2012. As eloquently detailed by fellow Forbes blogger Michael Cannon on September 30, “The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma handed the Obama administration another – and a much harsher — defeat in one of four lawsuits challenging the IRS’s attempt to implement ObamaCare’s major taxing and spending provisions where the law does not authorize them.”"

How Obamacare Funds the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider

Sarah Torre
Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-10-01
"Despite promises to the contrary by members of Congress and even the president, Americans now know that Obamacare is entangling tax dollars with coverage of elective abortion. Last week, the Government Accountability Office released a report confirming that more than 1,000 Obamacare exchange plans cover elective abortion but remain eligible for taxpayer subsidies. But that’s not the full story on how Obamacare funds the abortion industry."

As the courts turn: The continuing legal perils of Obamacare

Thomas P. Miller
AEI
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Legal challenges to various aspects of Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) keep traveling on a rollercoaster. Today’s episode of the law’s continuing courtroom soap opera involves a ruling by a federal district court in Oklahoma, which overturned a 2012 IRS rule authorizing premium assistance tax credits in federal exchanges (since rebranded as “federally facilitated marketplaces”). The decision improves the likelihood that the Supreme Court ultimately will consider this issue on appeal; either in the spring of 2015 or during its next 2015-2016 term. Judge Ronald White ruled in State of Oklahoma v. Burwell that the IRS rule is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion not in accordance with law, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. section 706(2)(A), in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right, pursuant to 5 U.S.C.

BREAKING: Judge rules against Obamacare subsidies

Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare
Tue, 2014-09-30
"In a legal setback for the Obama administration, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that people in states that rely on the federal insurance exchange are not eligible for Obamacare premium subsidies to help them pay for coverage. Judge Ronald White, a George W. Bush appointee, invalidated an Internal Revenue Service rule interpreting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to allow the premium tax credits in states that have not established their own exchange. “The court holds that the IRS Rule is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law,” White wrote. In his ruling, White rejected the argument that striking down the subsidies would cripple the entire healthcare reform law. “Congress is free to amend the ACA to provide for tax credits in both state and federal exchanges, if that is the legislative will,” he wrote."

Obamacare: New messaging hurdles ahead

Jennifer Haberkorn
Politico
Tue, 2014-09-30
"The second Obamacare enrollment season could go negative — but not because of the health care law’s critics. Obama administration allies are weighing a focus on the loathsome individual mandate and the penalties that millions of Americans could face if they don’t get covered. It would be a calculated approach to prompt sign-ups, a task that the law’s supporters expect to be more difficult, or at least more complex, than in its coverage’s inaugural year. There are several challenges: The 2015 enrollment period is shorter, the most motivated Americans are probably already enrolled and the law is still politically unpopular. That means that even if HealthCare.gov works well — and it couldn’t be worse than last October’s meltdown — proponents are confronting a tough messaging landscape."

Runaway Obamacare Spending Will Cost Democrats

Lanhee Chen
Bloomberg
Tue, 2014-09-30
"As we start the final stretch before the midterm elections, many analysts are convinced that Obamacare isn't the hot political issue it once was. While the flood of negative publicity about the law has subsided of late, a majority of people still oppose it, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls taken from Sept. 2-15. And I’ve always believed the voters’ negative impressions of the law were “baked” into their assessments of Democratic incumbents. That’s partly why Democratic Senators such as Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska find themselves barely breaking 40 percent in recent public polls. But a new study out this week from Bloomberg Government threatens to bring the Affordable Care Act back to center stage -- and in a way that will likely hurt the electoral chances of incumbent Democrats, all of whom voted for the law."

Consumer Group Sues 2 More Calif. Plans Over Narrow Networks

Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News
Thu, 2014-09-25
"Insurers Cigna and Blue Shield of California misled consumers about the size of their networks of doctors and hospitals, leaving enrollees frustrated and owing large bills, according to two lawsuits filed this week in Los Angeles. “As a result, many patients were left without coverage in the course of treatment,” said Laura Antonini, staff attorney for Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based advocacy group that filed the case. Both cases allege that the insurers offered inadequate networks of doctors and hospitals and that the companies advertised lists of participating providers that were incorrect. Consumers learned their doctors were not, in fact, participating in the plans too late to switch to other insurers, the suits allege, and patients had to spend hours on customer service lines trying to get answers. Both cases seek class action status."

Court nixes ObamaCare mandate delay lawsuit

Elise Viebeck, The Hill
Wed, 2014-09-24
"A federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit over the delay of ObamaCare's employer mandate, a sign that a similar challenge in the works by House Republicans might not fare well. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue, and only parties "seeking to advance the interests" of the mandate could mount a "plausible" case against its delay."

Number of ObamaCare enrollees appears to be dropping

Jim Angle, Fox News
Wed, 2014-09-24
"President Obama’s claim last spring that 8 million people had enrolled in ObamaCare recently got a significant downgrade from the head of the agency overseeing the plan. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a congressional committee that "as of August 15, this year, we have 7.3 million Americans enrolled in Health Insurance Marketplace coverage and these are individuals who paid their premiums.""

ObamaCare Watch Weekly

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Check out Jim Capretta's new book.

ObamaCare Primer