Another legal challenge to Obamacare

One of the key features of the highly complicated Affordable Care Act is the subsidy that is given to lower income people to enable them to afford to purchase health insurance. These subsidies are provided through both the state exchanges for those states that set them up and through the federal exchanges in those states that decided that they wanted to have no part of the ACA or decided to let the federal government set them up. So far, 16 states have set up their own exchanges and 34 exchanges are run by the Department of Health and Human Services. The subsidies come in the form of tax credits provided by the IRS.
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Obamacare enrollment seem to exceed expectations

Despite a major effort at deception that involved outright lying by opponents of the Affordable Care Act that actively sought to dissuade people from getting health insurance that would save them from some catastrophic expenses due to illness, and despite the disastrous rollout that seemed to confirm people’s worst fears, it looks like the enrollment figures will meet their original target of seven million. The final tallies will take some time to be sorted but initial signs are good.
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Oh, those long Canadian wait times

The favorite (if not only) talking point of boosters of the awful American health care system, when confronted with data showing that health outcomes are so much better in single-payer systems like those in Canada, is to point to the wait times for elective treatments in those countries. It is true that for elective procedures, you may have to wait for some time. As a result, those in Canada who can afford it sometimes cross the border to the US and pay for treatment that they could have had for free at home, a fact that is seized upon eagerly to argue that this shows how superior the US system must be.
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These people are swine

Kevin Drum recounts the case of a cancer patient Julie Boonstra who was featured in an anti-Obamacare ad “claiming that her new insurance plan under Obamacare was far more expensive than her old plan and didn’t cover all her medications.” When informed that this was not true and that if she had only bothered to go to the healthcare website and checked she would have found better coverage than what she had that was actually cheaper, she refused to believe it because it went against what she had been repeatedly told by Obamacare opponents, like the Koch brothers funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) that featured her in the ad.
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Same-sex marriage bans challenged in Ohio and Colorado

Given that courts everywhere are overturning bans on same-sex marriage I was wondering why it had not been challenged in Oho, which passed by referendum a constitutional amendment banning it in 2004 in the heyday of anti-gay fervor. But yesterday comes news that a family living in a nearby community to mine that is headed by a same-sex couple with an adopted child had challenged it because Ohio’s definition of marriage excludes them from obtaining cheaper health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
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Sense and nonsense about the CBO report

One of the worst aspects of the current US health insurance system is that it is employer-based, which means that people can get trapped into jobs just in order to get health insurance, a phenomenon that has been given the name of ‘job lock’. So any improvements in the system that would enable people to get affordable health care outside of employment was bound to result in people deciding to leave their jobs voluntarily, either to stay at home to look after children or others who need them, to start their own businesses, to freelance, and so on. [Read more...]

Health care costs and the ACA

Steven Brill has an article in Time describing how some of the very people who would benefit most from the Affordable Care Act have been misled by the virulent anti-Obamacare campaign to think that it is a terrible program and would do nothing for them. He also highlights the way that hospital monopolies and the reluctance of people to change providers prevent a truly competitive system from being created that would lower costs. [Read more...]