Could Insurance Rules Survive If GOP Goes After Health Law Through Budget Reconciliation?
Politico explores what might become of this element of the health law if Republicans win control of Congress and the White House and attempt to unwind the law through the same budget reconciliation process that Democrats used to pass it. Other parts of the law under GOP attack include the online insurance markets where individuals and small businesses could buy coverage and the provision of federal subsidies to help some people buy coverage.
Politico: Insurance Rules Might Stay Even If ACA Repealed
GOP Hill aides are still working through the details of what they can rip out of the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation — the same complex process used more than two years ago to usher through final passage of the health law. There's broad agreement Republicans could use the legislative maneuver to go after the law's individual mandate. … Health policy analysts are split on what else can stay under reconciliation and what can go. There's uncertainty, in particular, on what would happen to the new insurance rules. … The Senate parliamentarian — Congress's rule maker — will be at the center of any decision (Millman and Dobias, 7/8).
The New York Times: Brawling Over Health Care Moves To Rules On Exchanges
Critics of the new health care law, having lost one battle in the Supreme Court, are mounting a challenge to President Obama's interpretation of another important provision, under which the federal government will subsidize health insurance for millions of low- and middle-income people. ... At issue is whether the subsidies will be available in exchanges set up and run by the federal government in states that fail or refuse to establish their own exchanges. Critics say the law allows subsidies only for people who obtain coverage through state-run exchanges. The White House says the law can be read to allow subsidies for people who get coverage in federal exchanges as well (Pear, 7/7).
Kansas City Star: Kinder Vows To Sue Over Missouri Health Care Exchanges
Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is once again taking his opposition to the federal health care law to court, this time promising a lawsuit challenging the language that will appear on Missouri’s Nov. 6 ballot. The language — crafted by Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan — attempts to summarize a measure passed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly that would allow voters to decide whether the governor should be allowed to set up an online marketplace for patients to shop for insurance policies (Hancock, 7/6).
The Associated Press: The Tax Man Cometh To Police You On Health Care
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2½ years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance. That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government (Ohlemacher, 7/8).
The Hill: Health Law Mandate Isn't 'Largest Tax' Despite GOP Claims
To hear Republicans tell it, the individual mandate to buy health insurance that the Supreme Court has now declared to be a tax is the "largest tax in America's history." Yet even when considered as a revenue-raising tax, the mandate at the center of President Obama's signature legislation is not even the largest tax increase in the 2010 healthcare law, much less in the history of the republic. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the penalty, or tax, for not buying health insurance will bring in just about $4 billion a year and a total of $17 billion by the end of the decade. Taken either as a whole or as a percentage of the overall economy, that pales in comparison to many tax increases in recent decades (Berman, 7/8).
The Fiscal Times: Employer-Based Health Care Plans On Slippery Slope
Will any of the 160 million Americans who receive health insurance from their employers lose that coverage because of the Affordable Care Act? Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republic nominee, has repeatedly challenged the President Obama's assertion that no one who likes their current plan will lose it. "Up to 20 million Americans . . . will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep," he said shortly after the Supreme Court decision upholding the law was announced. The claim is based on a 2011 McKinsey & Co. online survey of 1,329 corporate executives where 9 percent said they would "definitely" drop coverage (Goozner, 7/9).