Health Law Critics Sharpen Fight Focus On Insurance Tax Credit
According to news reports, critics have pinpointed this part of the health law in their effort to undo the sweeping overhaul. Meanwhile, USA Today reports that very few middle-income taxpayers will pay more as a result of the measure's taxes, fees and penalties.
The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Opponents Challenge Tax Credit
Opponents of the health care overhaul are seizing on how tax credits to buy insurance are distributed as a new front in their fight against the law. Conservative critics have zeroed in on wording in the law that says state-run programs would be the vehicle for subsidizing the cost of mandatory health insurance for lower-income Americans starting in 2014 (Radnofsky, 7/16).
Politico Pro: Exchange Critics: Businesses Could Sue
The brains behind the next possible lawsuit over President Barack Obama's health law say business groups are already gearing up to challenge whether coverage subsidies could flow through exchanges set up by the feds. Case Western Reserve University’s Jonathan Adler and the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, who argue in a new paper that the health care law only enables subsidies through state-run exchanges, say interest in challenging this major piece of the law is high (Millman, 7/16).
USA Today: Few Will Pay More Under Health Care Law
Though the law is projected to raise more than $800 billion in taxes, fees and penalties over a decade, 40 percent comes from about 3.5 million households with adjusted gross incomes above $200,000. Employers, insurers and health care providers are slated to fork over much of the rest. That leaves only a few taxes that will fall partially on middle-income taxpayers (Kennedy and Wolf, 7/17).
Other news organizations report on the health law and charity care as well as insurers' latest wave of concerns about how its minimum health benefits standards could interfere with the ability to control costs:
St. Louis Beacon: Charity Care Remains Pressing Even If Federal Health Law Is Implemented
One question left unanswered by the health reform law is how much charity care nonprofit hospitals must provide in exchange for numerous tax breaks. These hospitals pay no federal income and capital gains taxes, no state and local property taxes and no taxes on purchases. The issue of whether communities get enough in return for this generosity used to be hotly debated, but it isn't given much ink in the 2,400-page Affordable Care Act. Even so, hospitals will still need relatively robust charity-care budgets because of the number who will remain uninsured in spite of the ACA (Joiner, 7/16).
CQ Healthbeat: Insurers Fear Feds' Minimum Benefits Standard Will Limit Their Ability to Control Costs
Insurers responding to a recent proposal governing the information they must provide to help federal officials set standards for minimum health benefits say they are worried the government will do it in a way that makes coverage unaffordable. Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, which operate in every zip code in the United States, said the proposal goes too far by asking insurers not only to say what benefits they cover, but also how they limit access to covered services (Reichard, 7/16).
Finally, one HHS official offers his take on the health law's future --
Kansas Health Institute News: Affordable Care Act Will Survive Elections, Regional HHS Official Predicts
Talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act is partisan bluster that won’t come to pass even if Republicans sweep the November elections, a top Obama administration health care official predicted at a forum here today. "Even those people who are talking about repealing, privately, they acknowledge that no, the law is here to stay," said Jay Angoff, director of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department region that includes Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Angoff said that even if Republicans control the White House and U.S. House following the election, they would not have a large enough majority in the Senate to push through legislation to overturn the law. Senate rules require 60 votes to advance most legislation (Sherry, 7/16).