A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Public Opposition"

Sharyl Attkisson Sues Federal Government to Obtain Obamacare Documents

Philip Wegmann, The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-08-20
"Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson is taking the federal government to court. Attkisson, a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal, filed the lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services to obtain information about the troubled Obamacare rollout last year. The former CBS News reporter and Emmy award-winning journalist won’t be going alone; the legal group Judicial Watch will represent her in court. The lawsuit follows four unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act requests. In October 2013 and again in June of this year, Attkisson requested information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning the efficiency and security of the HealthCare.gov website. All four requests went unanswered."

Indiana Man Thought He Was Covered Under Obamacare … Until He Needed to Visit Dentist

Philip Wegmann
The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-08-20
"An Indiana man who purchased health insurance through Obamacare’s federal exchange says he was assured he had dental coverage. When he needed care, though, he learned that his insurance provider wouldn’t cover the work. Now, he’s warning others they could also be getting misleading information. “You might be very surprised you’re not covered when you were told that you were,” he says."

Poll: Insurance Exchanges and Quality of Coverage

Michael Ramlet
Morning Consult
Wed, 2014-08-20
"A majority of people are worried about employers moving them on to insurance exchanges, with Republicans reporting the highest level of concern at 72 percent. But once they actually get insurance on the exchange, most Democrats and Independents, 43 percent and 39 percent respectively, think the shift would have “no impact” on their coverage. In contrast, most Republicans, 41 percent, think it would have a “very negative” impact. The majority of Republicans and Independents say they would consider looking for another job if they were shifted onto an exchange, at 62 percent and 52 percent respectively. Democrats reported that they would look for another job at a rate ten percentage points below Independents, at 42 percent. Republicans are the most worried that their employer will shift health coverage to the insurance exchanges, with 72 percent reporting some level of concern.

Conservative 'Alternative' to Obamacare Misses the Market

Ira Stoll
Reason
Wed, 2014-08-20
"Instead of shutting down Obamacare's insurance exchanges, the government should expand them so that they also include patients who now are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and veterans health programs. That's the gist of a big new health care policy proposal that's getting a lot of attention. It's newsworthy in part because it's so counter-intuitive. It comes from a think tank, the Manhattan Institute, that's generally known for conservative, free-market, center-right policy ideas. You'd expect them to be in favor of repealing Obamacare entirely, not expanding it. The proposal is attracting respectful praise from other conservative voices.

Law by other means — a response to Rob Weiner on Halbig

Jonathan Adler
The Washington Post
Tue, 2014-08-19
"Rob Weiner is at it again over at Balkinization. This time alleging he’s found some smoking gun to prove that the Halbig litigation is “anti-democratic” and rests on a flawed legal theory. As with his posts on the D.C. Circuit’s en banc procedures, Weiner’s diatribe is long on bluster, but short on meaningful claims. And, as before, he says some things that are false, irrelevant, or both. Weiner starts with the supposed discovery of a video that shows the theory underlying Halbig was illegitimate from the start. The video is of a December 2010 conference at the American Enterprise Institute at which Vanderbilt law professor James Blumstein and health law attorney Tom Christina discussed pending and potential legal challenges to the PPACA.

More Bad News for Obamacare

Megan McArdle
Bloomberg
Tue, 2014-08-19
"Last Monday, Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily reported that insurers say Affordable Care Act enrollment is shrinking, and it is expected to shrink further. Some of those who signed up for insurance on the exchanges never paid; others paid, then stopped paying. Insurers are undoubtedly picking up some new customers who lost jobs or had another “qualifying life event” since open enrollment closed. But on net, they expect enrollment to shrink from their March numbers by a substantial amount -- as much as 30 percent at Aetna Inc., for example. How much does this matter? As Charles Gaba notes, this was not unexpected: Back in January, industry expert Bob Laszewski predicted an attrition rate of 10 to 20 percent, which seems roughly in line with what IBD is reporting. However, Gaba seems to imply that this makes the IBD report old news, barely worth talking about, and I think that’s wrong, for multiple reasons."

Obamacare Losing Power as Campaign Weapon in Ad Battles

Heidi Pryzybla
Bloomberg
Tue, 2014-08-19
"Republicans seeking to unseat the U.S. Senate incumbent in North Carolina have cut in half the portion of their top issue ads citing Obamacare, a sign that the party’s favorite attack against Democrats is losing its punch. The shift -- also taking place in competitive states such as Arkansas and Louisiana -- shows Republicans are easing off their strategy of criticizing Democrats over the Affordable Care Act now that many Americans are benefiting from the law and the measure is unlikely to be repealed. “The Republican Party is realizing you can’t really hang your hat on it,” said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University. “It just isn’t the kind of issue it was.” The party had been counting on anti-Obamacare sentiment to spur Republican turnout in its quest for a U.S. Senate majority, just as the issue did when the party took the House in 2010. This election is the first since the law was fully implemented.

Obamacare Opponents Who Won On Subsidies Ask SCOTUS To Take The Case

Tue, 2014-08-19
"Obamacare challengers in the Halbig case have asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals not to review a three-judge panel's ruling against federal exchange subsidies, instead calling for "final resolution by the Supreme Court." The backstory: one month ago a divided three-judge panel prohibited Obamacare subsidies for residents buying from the federal exchange. The Obama administration asked the full D.C. Circuit bench to rehear the case, which is reserved for matters of exceptional importance. The challengers don't want that, because if they lose at the D.C. Circuit it would make the Supreme Court less likely to take the case. "There is no doubt that this case is of great national importance. Not due to the legal principles at stake—this is a straightforward statutory construction case under well-established principles—but rather due to its policy implications for ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act ('ACA').

Fox News poll: Slim majority continues to oppose ObamaCare

Dana Blanton, Fox News
Sat, 2014-08-16
"Opposition to the 2010 health care law has been above 50 percent for over a year. And that continues to be true, as the latest Fox News national poll finds voters oppose the law by a 52-41 percent margin. Support for Obamacare has been as high as 43 percent (May 2014) and gone as low as 36 percent (January 2014). The number opposing the law has ranged from 49 percent (June 2012) to a record-high 59 percent (January 2014). As in the past, the new poll shows that most Democrats favor Obamacare (74 percent), while most Republicans (84 percent) and independents (61 percent) are against it. Voters in every age group are more likely to oppose the law than favor it, with one exception: those ages 65 and over. And that group only favors it by two percentage points."

How Obamacare could make filing taxes a nightmare

Adrianna McIntyre, Vox
Sat, 2014-08-16
"This tax season will be a messy one for most of Obamacare's 8 million enrollees. Individuals and families who bought subsidized coverage have been receiving tax credits based on whatever amount they thought they would earn this year. Upon filing taxes, the IRS will reconcile the amount of subsidy received, based on expected income, with the person's actual income. That's where things can get ugly. If the person underestimated their income for the year — and got a higher subsidy than they actually deserved — they'll owe the government the difference. But if they overestimated their income, and received too small a subsidy, they'll see a bigger tax return."

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