Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law

The following article by Robert Pear was posted on the New York Times website December 27, 2017:

Volunteers in the Maine People’s Alliance office before going door to door to urge voters to back Medicaid expansion in Bangor, Me., in October. Credit Sarah Rice for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Affordable Care Act was conceived as a mix of publicly funded health care and privately purchased insurance, but Republican attacks, culminating this month in the death of a mandate that most Americans have insurance, are shifting the balance, giving the government a larger role than Democrats ever anticipated.

And while President Trump insisted again on Tuesday that the health law was “essentially” being repealed, what remains of it appears relatively stable and increasingly government-funded.

In short, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement is becoming more like what conservatives despise — government-run health care — thanks in part to Republican efforts that are raising premiums for people without government assistance and allowing them to skirt coverage. Read More

ObamaCare proves surprisingly resilient

The following article by Peter Sullivan was posted on the Hill website December 25, 2017:

ObamaCare is showing its resilience after a year where in which it took a beating but survived.

A surprisingly high number of people signed up under the law in the enrollment period that ended last week: 8.8 million, just short of the 9.2 million from last year.

And that was despite the Trump administration’s attacks on the health-care law, cutbacks on outreach and an enrollment period that was half as long as previous ones. Read More

Obamacare Sign-ups at High Levels Despite Trump Saying It’s ‘Imploding’

The following article by Robert Pear was posted on the New York Times website December 21, 2017:

Kelley Mui helped a client sign up last week in Chicago for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The number of people who signed up through the federal marketplace was only slightly lower than last year despite a shorter enrollment time. Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Thursday that 8.8 million people had signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace, a surprisingly large number only slightly lower than the total in the last open enrollment period, which was twice as long and heavily advertised.

The numbers essentially defied President Trump’s assertion that “Obamacare is imploding.” They suggested that consumers want and need the coverage and subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act, even though political battles over the law, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, are sure to continue in Congress and in next year’s midterm election campaigns. Read More

Trump Falsely Claims to Have ‘Repealed Obamacare’

The following article by Linda Qiu was posted on the New York Times website December 20, 2017:

WASHINGTON — President Trump celebrated the tax bill that Congress approved on Wednesday by characterizing it as a two-for-one victory, falsely claiming that it also made good on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed,” Mr. Trump said in a cabinet meeting. “We have essentially repealed Obamacare, and we will come up with something that will be much better.” Read More

The stealth repeal of Obamacare

The following article by Joanne Kenen was posted on the Politico website December 19, 2017:

The health law has been wounded in a year of Trump.

The manadate’s repeal is only one of several heavy blows to the health law since President Donald Trump and the GOP swept in nearly a year ago. | Evan Vucci/AP

Obamacare survived the first year of President Donald Trump, but it’s badly damaged.

The sweeping Republican tax bill on the verge of final passage would repeal the individual mandate in 2019, potentially taking millions of people out of the health insurance market. On top of that, the Trump administration has killed some subsidies, halved the insurance enrollment period, gutted the Obamacare marketing campaign, and rolled out a regulatory red carpet for skimpy new health plans that will change the insurance landscape in ways that are harmful to former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Read More

Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions

The following article by Lindsey McPherson was posted on the Roll Call website December 14, 2017:

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue. Read More

Trump vows to repeal and replace ObamaCare ‘disaster’

The following article by Jacqueline Thomsen was posted on the Hill website November 23, 2017:

Credit: Mark Weber

President Trump attacked ObamaCare on Thursday night, calling the health-care law a “disaster” and vowing to repeal and replace it after the GOP passes tax reform.

“ObamaCare premiums are going up, up, up, just as I have been predicting for two years. ObamaCare is OWNED by the Democrats, and it is a disaster,” Trump tweeted.

“But do not worry. Even though the Dems want to Obstruct, we will Repeal & Replace right after Tax Cuts!” Read More

Surge in ObamaCare signups surprises experts

The following article by Nathaniel Weixel was posted on the Hill website November 23, 2017:

The number of people signing up for ObamaCare has surged in the first few weeks of open enrollment this year, contrary to dire predictions.

The spike in sign-ups is good news for supporters of the health-care law, but experts warn the early numbers don’t necessarily signify a trend. Final enrollment numbers could still be much lower than in the past, they say.

The first ObamaCare open enrollment period of the Trump administration has been surprisingly robust, despite the uncertainty caused by nearly 10 months of repeal attempts in Congress, rising premiums and insurer exits. Read More

GOP will try to tack Obamacare repeal to tax reform, which would cause millions to lose health care

The following article by Emily C. Singer was posted on the website November 14, 2017:

Republicans just can’t quit their unpopular effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

After multiple failed efforts to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care bill, Republicans announced on Tuesday they will try to tack a repeal of the individual mandate — a key pillar of the health care law — onto the GOP tax reform bill.

Repealing the individual mandate — which was part of the “skinny repeal” effort that failed in the Senate over the summer — would free up funds that Republicans could use to pay for their tax cuts. Read More

Senate GOP changes tax bill to add Obamacare mandate repeal, make individual income cuts expire

The following article by Mike DeBonis and Damian Paletta was posted on the Washington Post website November 14, 2017:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said on Nov. 14, he was “optimistic” about adding the individual mandate repeal to the tax bill. (The Washington Post)

Senate Republican leaders moved Tuesday to include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in their tax bill, a major change of strategy as they try to accomplish two of their top domestic priorities in a single piece of legislation.

They also announced that the individual tax cuts in the plan would be made temporary, expiring at the end of 2025 to comply with Senate rules limiting the impact of legislation on the long-term deficit. A corporate tax cut, reducing the rate from 35 to 20 percent, would be left permanent. Read More