A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Liberty & Limited Government"

What will Obama do on employer mandate?

Elise Viebeck and Benjamin Goad, The Hill
Fri, 2014-07-18
"The White House needs to make a decision soon on whether ObamaCare's controversial employer mandate will take effect in 2015. With the mandate set to take effect in January, businesses are awaiting final word from the administration on whether they will be required to track and report how many of their employees are receiving coverage. Federal officials are late in delivering the final forms and technical guidance necessary for firms to comply, raising suspicions the mandate could once again be delayed. The mandate has been pushed back twice before, the first time in late summer. The delays to the mandate have angered House Republicans, who are now taking President Obama to court for what they say is his refusal to follow the letter of the law."

Partisanship Infuses Hearings on Health Law and Executive Power

Jeremy Peters, NY Times
Thu, 2014-07-17
"WASHINGTON — Efforts by congressional Republicans to rein in what they say are the legislative and political excesses of the Obama administration played out in simultaneous hearings on Wednesday, further highlighting how election-year politics are overtaking business on Capitol Hill. The first hearing, by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was quickly adjourned after the administration refused to allow testimony from David Simas, the White House political director, who had been called under a Republican subpoena to answer questions about Democratic campaign activities. The second, a debate in the House Rules Committee on the merits of a lawsuit that Speaker John A.

Senate Democrats Launch Fight To Reverse Supreme Court, State Abortion Restrictions

Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-07-16
"Most of the momentum in fights over birth control and abortion has been in the direction of opponents of late. But you wouldn’t know that by watching the U.S. Senate. Democrats who control the chamber have scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a bill that would effectively reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling regarding contraceptive requirements in the Affordable Care Act. And on Tuesday the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a separate, sweeping measure that would invalidate many state abortion restrictions."

A Two-Page Form Spawns a Contraceptive Showdown

Robert Pear, NY Times
Mon, 2014-07-14
"WASHINGTON — A two-page federal form has provoked a titanic clash between the government and many religious organizations. The form allows some religious organizations to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, which many insurers and group health plans are required to provide under the Affordable Care Act and related rules. The opt-out sounds like a way to accommodate religious beliefs. But many religious employers like Wheaton College and the Little Sisters of the Poor are unwilling to sign the form. By signing it, they say, they would authorize their insurers or plan administrators to pay for contraceptives, including some that they believe may cause abortion."

Beyond the Courthouse Countdown for Federal Health Exchanges

Tom Miller, AEI
Mon, 2014-07-14
"The last round of oral argument in the most serious legal challenge to Obamacare’s insurance coverage subsidies ended over three months ago. Now the courthouse watch for a final ruling in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has neared a fever pitch. Diehard defenders of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are worried that a three-judge panel is about to overturn an Internal Revenue Service rule issued in May 2012 that authorized distribution of insurance premium assistance tax credits in health exchanges administered by the federal government. By the end of a March 25 hearing on motions for summary judgment in Halbig v. Burwell, it appeared that two of the judges (a majority) were leaning toward agreeing with a group of private individuals and employers (who were appealing a federal district court ruling against them) that only an exchange “established by a state” is eligible for federal tax credits under the ACA."

Suit Against Obama to Focus on Health Law, Boehner Says

Jonathan Weisman, NY Times
Fri, 2014-07-11
"WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama will focus on changes to the health care law that Mr. Boehner says should have been left to Congress, according to a statement issued Thursday by the speaker’s office. By narrowly focusing the legal action on the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Boehner will sidestep the more politically problematic issue involving Mr. Obama’s executive action offering work permits for some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Last month, Mr. Boehner announced his intention to seek legislation allowing the House to sue the president over his use of executive actions, a reflection of charges by congressional Republicans that the president has overreached his authority. On Thursday, Mr. Boehner said the lawsuit would specifically challenge the president’s decision to delay imposing penalties on employers who do not offer health insurance to employees in compliance with the Affordable Care Act."

Reform Conservatism

Ramsh Ponnuru, National Review
Wed, 2014-07-09
"It was an important step forward for Republicans. They could have continued to deploy their anti-spending fervor against the discretionary side of the budget rather than taking on the larger, faster-growing, and politically trickier entitlements. They could, that is, have adopted a posture rather than a policy. Medicare reform was a sign the party was interested in governing again. Control of entitlements is after all a fiscal precondition for reform conservatism, or any other serious agenda. Yet no larger agenda followed the Medicare initiative. Republicans’ advocacy of Medicare reform did not sink them, as Democrats had hoped, but neither did it supply an answer to voters’ concerns about the status of the American dream. And even as Ryan’s boldness got him a spot on the Republican ticket, it seems to have exhausted the appetite for innovation on the part of his colleagues.

Decision Pending On Suit That Could Strike New Blow to the ACA

Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
Tue, 2014-07-08
"Supporters of ObamaCare are nervously awaiting a decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals that could have even more dramatic consequences for the law’s ability to function than the Supreme Court’s religious liberty decisions issued last week. Judge Thomas B. Griffith presided in March over arguments in one of the four cases – Halbig v. Burwell – challenging the Obama administration’s decision that subsidies for health insurance can flow through federal as well as state exchanges. The Affordable Care Act says that health insurance subsidies are available only “through an exchange Established by the State.” The IRS, however, interpreted the statute to mean that the subsidies also could be distributed in the now 36 states where the federal government is operating exchanges. During oral arguments, Judge A.

Planned Parenthood sets up post-Hobby Lobby helpline

Ferdous Al-Faruque, The Hill
Tue, 2014-07-08
"Planned Parenthood unveiled a text helpline Monday for women who have lost or will lose contraception coverage in their healthcare plans after last week’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling. The pro-abortion rights group says women who have lost birth control coverage or have questions about their healthcare can text the helpline to learn about their options. The Supreme Court ruled last week some employers could deny workers access to free contraception coverage under their health insurance plans if it would infringe on the employer’s religious beliefs. The group says women can text “birth control” to 69866 to report an employer's refusal to pay for coverage. Those who use the text service get an email or phone follow-up from Planned Parenthood explaining what options the worker has and help on how to get free birth control."

Harry Reid: ‘We’re going to do something’ on Hobby Lobby

Seung Min Kim, Politico
Tue, 2014-07-08
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Democrats will take up legislation in the “coming weeks” to address last month’s Supreme Court decision that allowed some employers with religious objections to opt out of Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Democrats on Capitol Hill have overwhelmingly criticized the high court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case and are working to craft a response that would restore the coverage, though no specifics have yet been outlined."

ObamaCare Watch Weekly

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Check out Jim Capretta's new book.

ObamaCare Primer