A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Business Impact"

ObamaCare Fuels Historic Part-Time Work Surge

Investors' Business Daily
Tue, 2014-12-16
Over the past year, the ranks of people working part-time jobs by choice — as opposed to business-driven factors — has grown by more than one million, the fastest pace in at least two decades. The timing with ObamaCare's first year of subsidies to buy health insurance is likely more than coincidental. While analysts on the left and right have sparred over whether businesses have shifted to part-time jobs to limit liability under ObamaCare, no one disputes that the law will lead more people to choose to work part-time. Any disagreement is over whether the law should get credit for making less work possible or blame for making work less financially rewarding. The number of people working part-time for noneconomic reasons in November was up 1.15 million, or 6.1%, from a year earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Health Law Hurts Some Free Clinics

The Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-12-15
By Stephanie Armour: Some free health clinics serving the uninsured are shutting their doors because of funding shortfalls and low demand they attribute to the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion. Nearly a dozen clinics that have closed in the past two years cited the federal health law as a major reason. The closings have occurred largely in 28 states and Washington, D.C., which all expanded Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income people, and are being heralded by some clinic officials as a sign the health law is reducing the number of uninsured. Continued at... http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-law-hurts-some-free-clinics-1418429551

A Misleading Debate on Health-Care Costs

National Review
Fri, 2014-12-12
David Leonhardt of the New York Times has offered up a misleading defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — i.e., Obamacare. Like several others, he celebrates the slowdown in health-care-cost escalation and suggests that the ACA is one reason for the deceleration. Specifically, he suggests that key ACA provisions — which he describes as nudging “the health care system away from paying for the quantity of medical care rather than the quality” — have already played a role in making the health system better and more efficient. It would be an effective argument for the ACA if it were true. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Leonhardt is responding to the recent government announcement that national health spending rose 3.6 percent in 2013. That’s certainly a low growth rate — well below the long-term trend over the past several decades. But it isn’t a trend that began with passage of the ACA. In 2001, national health spending rose 8.5 percent. The following year it rose 9.6 percent.

Economics professor brilliantly explains how Obamacare is a tax on full-time work

College Fix Staff
Mon, 2014-12-08
Casey Mulligan, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and author of “Side Effects: The Economic Consequences of the Health Reform,” recently gave a speech in which he essentially explains in easily understood terms how the Affordable Care Act is a tax on full-time work, and a huge downer on our economy. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Obamacare is dragging down our American workforce. Portions of his speech are reprinted below with permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College: So what are the tax distortions that emanate from the ACA? Here let me simply focus on two aspects of the law: the employer mandate or employer penalty—the requirement that employers of a certain size either provide health insurance for full-time employees or pay a penalty for not doing so; and the exchanges—sometimes they’re called marketplaces—where people can purchase health insurance separate from their employer.

ObamaCare’s Threat to Private Practice

The Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-12-08
By Scott Gottlieb Dec. 7, 2014 5:12 p.m. ET Here’s a dirty little secret about recent attempts to fix ObamaCare. The “reforms,” approved by Senate and House leaders this summer and set to advance in the next Congress, adopt many of the Medicare payment reforms already in the Affordable Care Act. Both favor the consolidation of previously independent doctors into salaried roles inside larger institutions, usually tied to a central hospital, in effect ending independent medical practices. Republicans must embrace a different vision to this forced reorganization of how medicine is practiced in America if they want to offer an alternative to ObamaCare. The law’s defenders view this consolidation as a necessary step to enable payment provisions that shift the financial risk of delivering medical care onto providers and away from government programs like Medicare.

Randy Barnett: How to finally kill Obamacare

USA Today
Fri, 2014-12-05
The Supreme Court is more likely to act if Republicans have an alternative bill ready. Thanks to four justices of the Supreme Court, there is now a clear path to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act next year, finally bringing Obamacare to an end. But Republicans won't accomplish this by waiting for the court or just voting to repeal the law one more time. The only way they can succeed is by crafting their own replacement — and they need to start right away. Until the Supreme Court agreed to hear King v. Burwell, which challenges the legality of the IRS rule allowing Obamacare subsidies in states that have not built their own insurance exchanges, the conventional wisdom was that Congress would pass a symbolic bill to repeal Obamacare that everyone knows would be vetoed by the president. Then they'd move on. Obamacare would survive at least until 2017. But the decision to hear King changes everything.

Grace-Marie Turner: Obamacare Is No Friend of Small Businesses

Newsmax
Wed, 2014-12-03
Small businesses have turned their backs on the Affordable Care Act, says healthcare expert Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization. "They call it the shop exchange [and] the coverage that's offered through these shop exchanges is really substandard.

How to Replace Obamacare

James C. Capretta
National Review
Tue, 2014-12-02
In the 2014 midterm elections, opposition to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare — was a clear political winner. That’s obvious from the election results themselves but also from polling that consistently finds that far more of the electorate disapproves of the law than approves of it. It is therefore to be expected that the incoming Congress, fully under the control of the GOP, will vote on a straight repeal bill, probably very early in next session. In the House, such a bill will pass easily. But in the Senate, Democrats will control at least 46 seats in the new Congress, giving them plenty of votes to filibuster most legislation they oppose. Consequently, the most likely scenario is that the repeal legislation will die in the Senate and therefore never get sent to the president for a certain veto. Perhaps that’s just as well, because repeal without a replacement plan is not the best long-term position for ACA opponents anyway.

Latest Official Figures Show The Obamacare Exchange Performance Was Worse Than We Thought

Chris Conover
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"The Obama administration has admitted to erroneously inflating the count of Exchange enrollees by incorrectly including 380,000 dental subscribers. Instead of 7.1 paid enrollments in the Exchanges as of mid-October, the correct figure should have been only 6.7 million. For the same reason, the reported number of paid enrollments in August should have been only 6.9 million rather than the 7.3 million figure originally reported. It’s a bit disappointing that this goof might never have been discovered but for the investigative efforts of Republican staffers for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data that took weeks of negotiations to secure from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That said, it’s encouraging to see DHHS Secretary Burwell take the position “The mistake we made is unacceptable. I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.”"

ObamaCare architect Gruber set to testify at December House hearing

Fox News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Jonathan Gruber, the controversial MIT professor and ObamaCare architect caught on video calling the American people stupid multiple times, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month on the lack of transparency surrounding the Affordable Care Act. In a letter to Gruber, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House committee, asked him and Marilyn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service administrator, to appear and answer questions on repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions involving the Affordable Care Act. The hearing will be held Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m."

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