A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Taxes"

ObamaCare — Why, sure, it's 'paid for'

Bob Moffit, The Heritage Foundation
The Hill
Mon, 2014-10-20
"Republican Senate Budget Committee analysts reported last week that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a.k.a. ObamaCare — would increase the federal deficit by $131 billion over the period from 2015 to 2024. Drew Hammill, a senior aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), dismissed the report as "complete garbage." Name-calling is no substitute for analysis. The Senate budget analysts' work is fully transparent. Based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data on medical spending and labor market effects, it is quite easy to check out. In fact, the Senate Budget analysts do not question any of the CBO's assumptions concerning ObamaCare's biggest fiscal problem: massive government spending. The CBO now says that the Medicaid expansion and the new exchange subsidies will cost taxpayers $1.9 trillion by 2024. It will account for more than half the cost-growth in federal health programs by 2023."

Why doctors give Obamacare a failing grade

Jeffrey Singer
The Hill
Sun, 2014-10-19
"The Physicians Foundation made shockwaves last month when it released its 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians. The survey’s top-line finding: Of the 20,000 doctors surveyed, almost 50 percent stated that Obamacare deserves either a “D” or an “F.” Only a quarter of physicians graded it as either an “A” or a “B.” Count me among the discontented. Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients. It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients’ care. This is the heart and soul of medicine, as I have learned in in my 33 years as a practicing physician. The doctor-patient relationship is critical for positive health outcomes because it allows both parties to work together to identify and ultimately treat medical problems. Simply put, a relationship of trust and continuity is essential to our professional mission."

Big jump for PreferredOne premiums

Christopher Snowbeck, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Sticker shock awaits thousands of people with health coverage through PreferredOne, the top seller on the MNsure exchange during its first year. The Golden Valley-based insurer said Wednesday that its individual market subscribers will see an average premium increase next year of 63 percent due to high claims costs. “Given the volatility of the individual marketplace due to the first year of the [federal health law], this increase is a significant step at stabilizing our rates and plans for the years to come,” the company said in a statement."

Fact Checker: Obama’s claim that Obamacare has helped produce a ‘$1,800 tax cut’

Glenn Kessler
Washington Post
Fri, 2014-10-17
"“If we hadn’t taken this on, and [health insurance] premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are. Now, most people don’t notice it, but that’s $1,800 you don’t have to pay out of your pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That’s like a $1,800 tax cut.” –President Obama, remarks on the economy, Northwestern University, Oct. 2, 2014 Remember that 2008 campaign promise touted by then-candidate Obama — that his health care law would reduce the cost of premiums by $2,500 by 2014? As we have noted, he was quickly called out by fact checkers for making a dubious claim based on shaky assumptions."

Cost, confusion stall hunt for insurance

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, Health News Colorado
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Cost and confusion prevented many uninsured people from signing up for health coverage this year in Colorado, according to two new reports. A Rand study, Barriers to Enrollment in Health Coverage in Colorado, found that some consumers didn’t want to sign up because they opposed the individual mandate. Others were frustrated that they first had to apply for Medicaid in a cumbersome process. Still others found Colorado’s exchange website confusing. And many people said costs for insurance and co-pays seemed too high."

More than 12,000 Oregonians could owe at tax time under Cover Oregon subsidy errors

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian
Fri, 2014-10-17
"More than 12,000 people who purchased policies through Cover Oregon could owe a combined $1.12 million at tax time because of errors in subsidized premiums issued by the health insurance exchange. The vast majority of people affected are expected to owe no more than $10 per month that their policy was in effect. That figure is not final, however, because a $10,000 consultant's study intended to settle the question did not succeed. The exchange is planning to commission a second, more in-depth study."

Now There Can Be No Doubt: Obamacare Will Increase The Deficit

Chris Conover
Forbes
Fri, 2014-10-17
"Remember this categorical assurance from President Obama? “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits.” This was no casual, throw-away campaign promise. The pledge was made on September 9, 2009 in his health speech before a joint session of Congress. In reality, we have known for years that Obamacare would violate this promise. But champions of Obamacare have repeatedly pointed to the CBO score that purported to show that the law would reduce federal deficits by $143 billion in its first 10 years.[1] They conveniently ignored the fact that less than four weeks before the law even passed, Paul Ryan had deftly exposed all the “gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors” underlying that calculation."

Obamacare Headed to the High Court Again?

Todd Gaziano
National Review
Thu, 2014-10-16
"Developments in the last ten days make it more likely that the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will agree to hear the leading challenge of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to the Obamacare individual-mandate penalty — and whoever does not prevail at this level will have a compelling case to take to the Supreme Court. An order from the D.C. Circuit last week, instructing the Obama administration to respond to PLF’s petition for rehearing, and an impressive set of amicus briefs supporting PLF’s petition filed yesterday confirm that this is no ordinary litigation. Readers will recall that Chief Justice John Roberts joined four justices in 2012 to hold that the individual mandate was not authorized by the Commerce Clause or other congressional power, but he sided with four other justices in holding that the penalty for not buying insurance could be read as a tax, pursuant to Congress’s taxing power.

Administration Signals Doubts About Calculator Permitting Plans Without Hospital Benefits

Jay Hancock
Kaiser Health News
Thu, 2014-10-16
"Insurance consultants were shocked recently to learn that Obama administration rules allow large companies to offer 2015 worker health plans that don’t include hospital benefits. Now the administration is concerned too. Treasury Department officials are preparing to reverse course on an official calculator that permits plans without hospital coverage to pass the health law’s strictest standard for large employers, said industry lawyers who have spoken to them. These sources expect the administration to disallow such coverage by the end of the year."

A maze to opt out of Obamacare individual mandate

Thu, 2014-10-16
"There are dozens of ways to escape Obamacare’s individual mandate tax — but good luck figuring that out come tax season. Tens of millions of Americans can avoid the fee if they qualify for exemptions like hardship or living in poverty, but the convoluted process has some experts worried individuals will be tripped up by lost paperwork, the need to verify information with multiple sources and long delays that extend beyond tax season. “It’s not going to be pretty,” said George Brandes, vice president of health care programs at Jackson Hewitt, a tax prep firm. “Just because you theoretically qualify for hardship, or another exemption, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.”"

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