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Obamacare: Five Things You May Not Know About the Health Care Law

Will Obamacare survive 2017? NBC NEWS MAGGIE FOX DEC 30 2016, 10:11 AM ET As Republicans prepare to take over the White House and both houses of Congress next month, they've got President Barack Obama's signature legislation squarely in their sights. Some GOP leaders say they want to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act as soon as possible and figure out how to replace it later. Others say they may want to move more cautiously, changing certain aspects while keeping others. What's clear is that big changes are in the works — even as the majority of Americans say they'd like to keep most of what the law offers. Here are five important things to know about Obamacare: It isn't just health insurance Most of the news about the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, focuses on the health insurance exchanges, which are a major part of the law's goal — to help get health insurance to people who don't already have it.  But the law also has provisions aimed at making sure health care is better overall. One big objective is to encourage doctors to not only treat people when they are sick, but to take an active role in keeping them well. Some of the tools the law employs include changes in the way doctors are paid and the establishment of Accountable Care Organizations — groups that help hospitals and doctors work together in ways that cut down on mistakes and keep patients healthy. The overall aim of the legislation was to bring down costs and improve the health of Americans. It's not government insurance Many people believe Obamacare is government insurance. But there is no new government health insurance [...]

Obamacare 2017 enrollment hits record, despite Trump’s threat to repeal

Will Obamacare survive?   CNN Money by Tami Luhby @Luhby December 21, 2016: 5:19 PM ET Although President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal Obamacare next month, a record number of people have signed up for coverage for 2017. Nearly 6.4 million Americans have selected Obamacare policies through the federal exchange for coverage starting Jan. 1, federal officials announced Wednesday. That's 400,000 more than had selected policies a year ago. The number of people opting for Obamacare is under more scrutiny than usual this year, since Congressional Republicans have pledged to dismantle it soon after Trump takes office on Jan. 20. Even before the election, there were concerns that customers would be deterred by price hikes -- the average premium for the benchmark silver plan soared 22% for 2017 -- and the fact that some insurers pulled out of the exchanges. However, administration officials sought to portray Obamacare as strong and crucial. Even if Trump and Republican lawmakers repeal the health reform law, they are likely to keep it in place for at least two to three years while they formulate an alternative. "Today's enrollment numbers confirm that some of the doomsday predictions about the marketplace are not bearing out," said Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell. "American people don't want to go backwards. They don't want to gamble with their healthcare during a repeal and delay." The pace of enrollments picked up closer to the deadline for coverage starting January 1, which was extended four days to Dec. 19 to accommodate demand. President Obama called attention to the fact that a record 670,000 people selected policies last Thursday. One worrisome sign is that fewer new consumers rushed to the exchanges than a year ago, when 2.4 [...]

42 States Extend Deadline to Sign Up For Obamacare

Will Obamacare survive in 2017? GIZMODO- Eve Peyser- 12.16.16- 11:27pm On Thursday night, federal regulators announced that they were extending the midnight deadline to sign up for health insurance starting January 1, 2017 through the Affordable Care Act on The deadline has been extended four days to December 19. 39 states use as their health insurance marketplace. (The states that do not use are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state, and Washington D.C.) Officials attributed the deadline extension to the “extraordinary volume of consumers” trying to sign up for health insurance. CEO Kevin Counihan said that many consumers were asked to wait before signing up for health insurance both online and over the phone. “Nearly a million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line,” he said in a statement late Thursday night. “Our goal is to provide affordable coverage to everyone seeking it before the deadline, and these two additional business days will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage.” Connecticut and New York also extended their healthcare sign-up deadlines today, and California did so yesterday. The updated deadlines for health insurance sign-up, by state: Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Vermont: Thursday December 15 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming):Monday December 19 California, Connecticut, New York: Saturday December 17 Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington State: [...]

Study: ‘Obamacare’ Repeal-Only Would Make 30M Uninsured

Will Obamacare survive? By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Dec 7, 2016, 2:03 PM ET Repealing President Barack Obama's health care law without a replacement risks making nearly 30 million people uninsured, according to a study released Wednesday. Separately, a professional group representing benefit advisers warned congressional leaders of the risk of "significant market disruption" that could cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. Republicans dismiss such dire scenarios, saying that they are working on replacement legislation for a President Donald Trump to sign. Nonetheless, the complex two-stage strategy the GOP Congress is contemplating has raised concerns not only among supporters of the law, but also industries like hospitals and insurers. The plan is for Congress to first use a special budget-related procedure to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, next year. The effective date of that repeal would be delayed by months or even years to give lawmakers time to write replacement legislation. The replacement law would presumably do many of the same things that "Obamacare" does, such as subsidizing coverage and protecting people with health problems. But it would not involve as much federal regulation, and it would eliminate a highly unpopular requirement that most Americans get health insurance or face fines. The new study from the nonpartisan Urban Institute looks at a scenario where "repeal" goes through, but "replace" stalls. It predicts heavy collateral damage for people buying individual health insurance policies independent of government markets like Though nonpartisan, the Urban Institute generally supports the goal of extending coverage to all Americans. Previously it has criticized some of the subsidies provided under Obama's law as insufficient. The new analysis warns that repealing [...]

Why Obamacare Might Not Die So Quickly

The law was enormously difficult for Democrats to pass, and Republicans are discovering it might be just as hard to repeal. The Atlantic- RUSSELL BERMAN 4:50 AM ET 12.2.16 Don’t be so quick to kiss Obamacare goodbye. Yes, the election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in Congress will in all likelihood signal the death knell for the Affordable Care Act—eventually. But as Republicans confront the complexity in policy and politics of replacing the law, they are leaning toward a strategy that would actually leave it on the books for as many as three more years. Conservatives in the House have been touting the plan since the first days after the election, and it was confirmed by Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican, in an interview with Politico. It goes like this: The House and Senate would repeal most, though not all, of Obamacare with simple majority votes in January as soon as Trump takes office, but they would set the date of enactment starting in 2019 or even 2020. The delay would allow for a semi-orderly transition for the health insurance market, and it would buy time for Republicans to coalesce around a replacement package and—they hope—persuade at least eight Senate Democrats to cross party lines, break a filibuster, and pass it into law. This is a potentially perilous strategy for several reasons, each of which illustrate why overhauling an industry that comprises one-fifth of the American economy is an enormously difficult task. The Politics of Repeal Itself The Affordable Care Act has been unpopular for most of its brief existence, but the idea of repealing it has always been even less popular. That continues to be the case even after the [...]

Planned Medicaid Overhaul Could Put GOP Governors in an Awkward Spot

Confused about Medicare / Medicaid issues? Ask the experts at The Firm Services Wall Street Journal -By STEPHANIE ARMOUR Nov. 24, 2016 8:00 a.m. ET WASHINGTON—Republicans set on rapidly dismantling the Affordable Care Act are also pushing an overhaul of Medicaid, whose expansion under the 2010 law has covered millions of low-income Americans—many in states run by GOP governors. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed converting the federal-state program into block grants to the states in an effort to give them more latitude over how the program is run. This would jibe with many leading Republicans in Congress, who for years have wanted a Medicaid overhaul that hands more control over to the states. But such a move is likely to expose divisions among Republicans over how significantly to peel back coverage protections for the more than 12 million people who gained Medicaid in the 31 states, as well as Washington, D.C., that expanded the program. “Right now a lot of Republican governors expanded Medicaid and they have said they will fight to keep it,” said Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president at Avalere Health, a consulting firm. “You have to assume there will be some need for a solution for the 20 million who are better off under ACA, and most are in Medicaid.” Republicans are still in conversations about the shape and timing of any possible changes to the program. Any revisions would likely include a sunset or transition period, which would help people now covered through the expansion. It would also give states time to meet and plan for any changes, health policy analysts said. Meanwhile, the talk of an overhaul has left governors in a state of flux. South Dakota [...]

Repealing Obamacare Is Going to Take Forever, Admits Very Important Republican

Will Obamacare survive? Slate- By Jordan Weissmann- Nov.17, 2016 Republicans may control the White House and Capitol Hill, but repealing and replacing Obamacare is going to be a long and probably torturous process. How do we know? Because the GOP is already saying so. On Thursday, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee admitted to reporters that the entire journey could take “several years.” Alexander's comments are worth special attention because, as chair of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, he is going to play an absolutely crucial role in any kind of health reform effort next year. And as of now, he's signaling that any legislation will need to contain some sort of bipartisan compromise. "Eventually, we'll need 60 votes to complete the process of replacing Obamacare and repealing it because Obamacare was not passed by reconciliation it was passed by 60 votes. And it was cleaned up by reconciliation because Scott Brown won his election," Alexander told reporters, according to Talking Points Memo. "Before the process is over, we'll need a consensus to complete it, and I imagine this will take several years to completely make that sort of transition to make sure we do no harm, create a good health care system that everyone has access to and that we repeal the parts of Obamacare that need to be repealed." There's lots to unpack in that paragraph. First, it's further confirmation that the Senate filibuster is going to survive during the Trump administration, a fact that should cheer Democrats who were worried they might spend the next two to four years getting steamrolled on every major piece of legislation. Second, Alexander for now seems to be rejecting the theory, pushed by [...]


Will Obamacare survive?      Newsweek- BY CONOR GAFFEY ON 11/11/16 AT 5:25 AM More than 100,000 Americans signed up for health care plans under President Barack Obama’s “Obamacare” policy Wednesday after Donald Trump clinched victory in the presidential election. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell tweeted Thursday that a record number of signups had been recorded on November 9, when it became clear that Trump—who has promised to repeal the healthcare legislation—would become the 45th U.S. president. Wednesday’s figure is the highest since open enrollment—the annual three-month period during which Americans can apply for health insurance plans—began on November 1. Best day yet this Open Enrollment. Nov 9: Over 100K plan selections on . Consumers shopping & enrolling. #GetCovered Commenting on the large number of signups, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that it was “an indication of the intense demand” for affordable health care plans among Americans, USA Today reported. Congressional Republicans Plan to Target Obamacare The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and was the largest overhaul of the U.S. health care system in half a century. The act has extended health care coverage to a further 20 million people but has forced up insurance premiums for private health care customers. Trump has promised to begin the process of repealing Obamacare “on day one” of his administration. The Republican will be sworn into office on January 20, 2017. The Republican party, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, has expressed its commitment to getting rid of Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in Washington on Wednesday, following the news that Trump had been elected, that repealing Obamacare was “a pretty high item on our agenda” [...]

Platform Check: Trump And Clinton On Health Care

November 2, 2016 2:20 PM ET NPR-Heard on All Things Considered Alison Kodjak  When it comes to health care, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump comes down to whether to keep, or trash, the Affordable Care Act. Premium Hike Catapults Obamacare Into Election Spotlight Trump says he wants to repeal and replace the health care law that is responsible for insuring about 20 million people, while Clinton has vowed to retain it and even expand its reach. Here are the candidates' plans: HILLARY CLINTON Keep and build on Obamacare Offer a tax credit of up to $5,000 to offset out-of-pocket costs over 5 percent of income Create a "public option" for health insurance Increase funding for community health centers Establish federal oversight of drug price increases Allow people to "buy in" to Medicare starting at age 55 Clinton's plan maintains the basic structure of Obamacare, with its expansion of Medicaid to more people with higher incomes and the ability to buy insurance through government-run exchanges. But she acknowledges problems with the program in its current form and offers changes to cut consumer costs, rein in drug prices, and ensure more uninsured people get covered. The so-called public option would allow consumers to buy health insurance directly from the federal government. It's proposed in most cases to ensure there are choices for buyers in places where only one insurance company offers policies through the Obamacare exchanges. Hillary Clinton Hitches Her Health Care Wagon To Obamacare An analysis of Clinton's plan by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports independent health care research, concludes it would boost the number of people with health insurance by about 400,000. But the impact on the federal deficit [...]

Obamacare Hits a Pothole

Let the Experts at The Firm Services assist your practice. NY Times - Opinion Page- Paul Krugman OCT. 28, 2016 For advocates of health reform, the story of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been a wild roller-coaster ride. First there was the legislative drama, with reform seemingly on the edge of collapse right up to the moment of passage. Then there was the initial mess with the website — followed by incredibly good news on enrollment and costs. Now reform has hit a pothole: After several years of coming in far below predictions, premiums on covered plans have shot up by more than 20 percent. So how bad is the picture? The people who have been claiming all along that reform couldn’t work, and have been wrong every step of the way, are, of course, claiming vindication. But they’re wrong again. The bad news is real. But so are reform’s accomplishments, which won’t go away even if nothing is done to fix the problems now appearing. And technically, if not politically, those problems are quite easy to fix. Health reform had two big goals: to cover the uninsured and to rein in the overall growth of health care costs — to “bend the curve,” in the jargon of health policy wonks. Sure enough, the fraction of Americans without health insurance has declined to its lowest level in history, while health cost growth has plunged: Since Obamacare passed Congress, private insurance costs have risen less than half as fast as they did in the previous decade, and Medicare costs have risen less than a fifth as fast. But if health costs are looking good, what’s with the spike in premiums? It only applies [...]