ObamaCare Watch Newsletter 3/16/18

  • Breaking Promises: GOP Resuscitate Obamacare with Massive Bailout –
  • More Taxpayer Bailouts Will Only Paper Over Obamacare’s Many Failures –
  • Sens. Cruz, Lee, Reps. Meadows, Jordan: We Must End the ObamaCare Bailout Now –
  • Alexander’s ACA Market Stabilization Proposal –
  • Poll: Americans Oppose Obamacare Insurer Bailouts Even If They Would Reduce Premiums –
  • How to Complete the Escape from ObamaCare –
  • How Trump Is Bringing More Affordable Insurance for Small Businesses –
  • How A Bill Keeps Becoming A Law(suit) –
  • Idaho’s Health Care Plan Dispute Comes Down to 1 Word –
  • California Healthcare Proposal Unveiled at Capitol Aims to Build on Obamacare Gains –

Omnibus Spending Package

Breaking Promises: GOP Resuscitate Obamacare with Massive Bailout
By Doug Badger and Whitney Jones
The Washington Times, March 12, 2018

Congressional Republicans who repeatedly pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare instead are racing to rescue the law with truckloads of federal cash. Their plan: A multi-billion-dollar bailout of health insurers that sell Obamacare policies. In return, the insurers promise to reduce premiums just in time for November’s elections. Congress shouldn’t jump at this politically tantalizing proposition. A temporary reinsurance program won’t address the root causes of rising premiums and cost-sharing. Nor will it be temporary. As its expiration date approaches, insurers will simply renew threats to raise premiums—or withdraw from the Obamacare exchanges—unless Congress extends the payments.

More Taxpayer Bailouts Will Only Paper Over Obamacare’s Many Failures
By Robert E. Moffit, PhD
The Heritage Foundation, March 8, 2018

It appears that Congress is preparing to, once again, bail out Obamacare’s a failing program. However, taxpayers will still end up paying more over the next several years for a failing health insurance scheme. We are witnessing the evolution of a classic government failure, and Congress is getting ready to reward that failure with another round of corporate bailouts. Instead, Congress should go back to the drawing board, allow the states to take control of their own health insurance markets, and at least give their constituents a fighting chance to secure the better, more affordable coverage that they want.

Sens. Cruz, Lee, Reps. Meadows, Jordan: We Must End the ObamaCare Bailout Now
By Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Mark Meadows, Rep. Jim Jordan
Fox News, March 15, 2018

Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington are considering policies that would not only retain ObamaCare for the indefinite future but also expand our current health care disaster. These proposals would shovel billions of additional dollars in deficit spending into the pockets of insurance companies, which have been losing money on ObamaCare’s exchanges because of the law’s misguided one-size-fits-all approach. We can listen to the American people – who delivered historic Republican majorities that promised to move our nation past broken government intrusions into the health insurance market – or we can double down on this failed system by bailing out ObamaCare. We know which one we choose.

Alexander’s ACA Market Stabilization Proposal
By Caitlin Owens
Axios, March 14, 2018

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) proposed a market stabilization package this week that would include funding for the Obamacare cost-sharing reduction subsidies for three years, three years of federal reinsurance at $10 billion a year, additional ACA waiver flexibility for states, and expanded eligibility for “copper” plans.

Poll: Americans Oppose Obamacare Insurer Bailouts Even If They Would Reduce Premiums
The Heritage Foundation, March 2018

According to new polling, 83% agree if private insurance companies are losing money selling health insurance under the Obamacare program, taxpayers should not have to bail them out to cover their losses, while 67% agree subsidies to insurance companies are not only a bailout for the companies but also hide the fact that Obamacare is failing.


Repealing Onerous Obamacare Requirements

How to Complete the Escape from ObamaCare
By Phil Gramm
The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2018

The tax-reform provision that repeals the penalty [in 2019] on those who refuse to participate in ObamaCare has freed millions of Americans to escape a system that exploits them. But while Americans can escape ObamaCare, they still can’t buy insurance in the individual market independent of ObamaCare because private insurers are prohibited from selling it. If this prohibition can be removed through the granting of state waivers by HHS, or by the passage of a new federal statute, ObamaCare will collapse into a high-risk insurance pool for the seriously ill rather than become a stepping stone to socialized medicine.

How Trump Is Bringing More Affordable Insurance for Small Businesses
By Josh Archambault
Forbes, March 8, 2018

Late last year, President Trump issued an executive order with the goal to help more Americans access additional affordable health care options. The executive order prioritizes three areas for improvement: association health plans (AHPs), short-term insurance, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Enhancing additional affordable options are important given emerging news stories about non-subsidized families and individuals facing crushing insurance premiums and out of pocket costs and increases under the ACA.


Legal Challenges

How A Bill Keeps Becoming A Law(suit)
By Tom Miller
Economics21, March 12, 2018

Last month 20 state attorneys general and two governors launched the latest lawsuit in federal district court in Texas, arguing that the upcoming repeal of tax penalties for the ACA’s individual mandate, as of January 2019, means that the entire law has become unconstitutional (or at least a number of its related insurance regulation provisions). The core contention is that if the only remaining feature sustaining the ACA’s constitutionality was that the individual mandate was a “tax,” then eliminating any of its revenue collection after this year reverts its characteristics back to that of a regulatory provision, albeit one with no remaining penalty either.

Idaho’s Health Care Plan Dispute Comes Down to 1 Word
By Audrey Dutton
MagicValley.com, March 10, 2018

What does “substantially” mean? That could be the pivotal question for Idaho, whose chief executives now must justify the state’s plan to let Idahoans buy health insurance in defiance of the ACA. Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron said earlier this year that insurers would be allowed to sell plans that don’t comply with the ACA. They called the plans “state-based” insurance. Those state officials—relying on legal opinions including those written by lawyers for Blue Cross of Idaho—believe they are “substantially enforcing” the law.


States

California Healthcare Proposal Unveiled at Capitol Aims to Build on Obamacare Gains
By Melanie Mason
Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2018

Promising to build on Obamacare, a coalition of influential interest groups announced a new legislative push Thursday for a patchwork of measures that they say will make health care in California cheaper and more accessible. Advocates touted a slate of proposals, including expanding Medi-Cal access to adults without legal status and increasing subsidies to those buying insurance on the Covered California exchange, as priorities for this legislative session.

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