Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 Big Year for the ACA (Obama-care) as GOP Sharpens Their Bayonets

I wonder: Who is bullying whom?
(GOP-controlled Congress vs. President Obama)

Click here for story and larger view

This post is long, but I think timely and sorely needed. I hope you enjoy it and your own further personal research on the issue.

SUBJECT: ACA Update on Upcoming USSC Case (WSJ) re: Healthcare Subsidies:

The Supreme Court will it will determine whether the law allows health insurance subsidies to millions of Americans – most already enrolled (some say over 5 million – poor states and with low or no-income). The Court will hear arguments in March 2015 with a decision in June.
This latest challenge was brought by conservatives who argue that only states, not the federal government, can pay such subsidies. (Note: I always thought conservatives were “compassionate” like George W. Bush once proclaimed)!
Background: The Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obama-care), established health insurance exchanges run by the federal government and by 16 states that provide subsidies to help Americans purchase insurance premiums. As of 2014, more than 10 million people are enrolled for coverage on the exchanges more are expected as we now enter 2015.
The law's conservative opponents argue a close reading of the statute only allows subsidies to be paid by states that have their own healthcare exchanges, not by the federal government, which serves residents of states that have not established their own.  Currently, 36 states do not have exchanges of their own, and thus those enrolled rely on the Federal government for their ACA payments. (The GOP hates that part in addition to most of the bill).
Should the Supreme Court find in favor of the conservative plaintiffs, more than five million people could find their insurance costs rise dramatically or they will have to drop their plan, go back to the using the ERs as primary care and reversing any progress to this point – which was to solve the problem in the first place.
In July 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for DC ruled in favor of the law's opponents, but later threw the ruling out so it could rehear the case.
The White House has dismissed the lawsuit as a partisan attempt to undermine the law and further erode it as the GOP still tries to repeal, not fund, or greatly weaken the program. They also say they are confident that the financial help afforded millions of Americans was and remains the original intent of the law and it is working as Congress designed and a simple meaning of “state” provides is badly misunderstood.
Why does the GOP so badly want to get in the way of the Affordable Care Act that provides millions of Americans with health care that in many cases persons and families who never had care and now do?
Other Notes:
  1. The ACA passed in 2010 with not one single Republican vote of support.
  2. It has been a focus of GOP-Conservative outrage ever since with over 50 votes in the House alone to repeal it – all have failed.
  3. In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the central provision of the law requiring Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty, in a 5-4 decision.
GOP Myths Disputed here (Media, or click items below):

  1. MYTH: ACA Will Eliminate Millions of Jobs
  2. MYTH: Obama-care Won't Reduce Number of Uninsured Americans
  3. MYTH: The Affordable Care Act is “Failing the Public”
  4. MYTH: “Millions Will Lose Insurance” as Companies Drop Health Benefits
  5. MYTH: The Affordable Care Act Creates “Death Panels” to Ration Care
  6. MYTH: Health Care Premiums Will Rise Dramatically Thanks to Obama-care
More on the program below – click them and see whether or not the ACA is working or not. I say it is working and yes, it will need fixes along the way, big programs always do, but it deserves a chance to be fully implemented, and then fixed accordingly. The purpose however, remains an honorable one it was long overdue.

  1. The Healthcare Law
  2. What Does the Act Mean to Me
  3. The ACA's Obama-care Problem
  4. Economist's View: The Affordable Care Act is Working
  5. More Solid Proof that Obama-care is Working - Forbes
  6. Bill Defines Full Time as 40 Hours for ACA
  7. GOP Hates Obama-care Except for Employer Freebies
  8. Einstein: “If you can't explain it to a 6-year-old, you probably don't understand it yourself.”
  9. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): Ässhølë Out of Control Without a Doubt
  10. Average Americans are Smarter than Average GOP Weasels
For the second year in a row, Obama-care premiums are lower than anticipated and millions of Americans can expect to find affordable health insurance options during the second open enrollment period.

Story and key points from here (Think

  1. Analysis of 2015 premium rates for the individual market in states with Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces shows that premiums will increase by an average of only 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, and that average is for individual coverage for the 27-to-40 year olds across all plans in each metal level in each state and weighted by each state’s enrollment by metal level in 2014.
  2. Silver plans for example, which is the most popular type of plan in 2014, will increase even less only about 3.45 percent on average. While there is wide variation around the average growth in different geographic areas, the low national average is a testament to the popularity and affordability of the health insurance plans on the exchanges. That is where more than 7 million Americans purchased health insurance in 2014.
  3. Increased competition in the exchanges (Note: about 25 percent more issuers will offer plans via the state exchanges in 2015 than in 2014), and that has helped keep premiums low. Some of the nation’s biggest insurers will now be participating in the exchanges for the first time as the market place expands and they see opportunities.
  4. To put this small premium increase into perspective an average increase of 3.9 percent is much less than historical premium growth (one of the main reasons for the ACA in the first place: reduce rising costs). For example, from 2008 to 2010, the national average rate of premium increase was 10.9 percent, which is 179 percent greater than the increase between 2014 and 2015.
NOTE: Health care costs WOULD HAVE gone up considerably WITHOUT Obama-care regardless, however now in fact, THE COSTS ARE SMALLER AND IN MANY CASES VERY MUCH SMALLER. Thus, to say that Obama-care is causing health care insurance costs to rise is EASILY DISPUTABLE.

All this clearly is proof positive that the ACA is working as predicted. Now it moves forward even better to convince more people that it is a good deal for the insured and the country.

Naturally, as I said, this ticks off the GOP – big time. Yeah, big time which reminded me of the phrase Dick Cheney confirmed and used when he responded to George W. Bush who had spotted a New York Times reporter (Adam Clymer, reporter from 1977-2003) in the crowd at their rally in Illinois. Bush pointed and said: “There's Adam Clymer, major-league asshole from The New York Times.” Cheney, also unaware their microphones were still turned on agreed with Bush, adding, “Oh yeah, he is, big time.”

Little did both men know at the time that they were labeling themselves and possibly the entire GOP the same way regarding helping Americans with health care and other important and critical life-saving/sustaining programs that we see right now, including of course, going to war (twice) on false pretenses (i.e., Iraq invasion in 2003). 

Added Note: The newly-elected GOP majority (both houses) just voted on H.R. 30 to repeal Obama-care (again) and change the definition for full-time (from current 30 hours in the law to 40). That vote as well as others can be seen here at the page. Both face a presidential veto (but the GOP doesn't care - political points are more important).

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