Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Tactical Decision To Link Medicaid Expansion To Cigarette Tax May Have Tanked Montana Ballot Initiative

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Supporters thought that strategy would boost their effort with voters, but it attracted Big Tobacco into the fight. As more people look to the success of the three states who were successful in expanding Medicaid through ballot initiatives, the strategy may offer lessons for 2020. Meanwhile, since work requirements were added to Arkansas’ Medicaid program earlier this year, more than 17,000 beneficiaries have lost coverage.

Republicans’ Muted Response To Judge’s Ruling Highlights Shifting Politics, Attitudes About Health Law

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In theory, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s declaration that the health law is unconstitutional without the individual mandate tax should be a victory for Republicans who have been waging a war against the ACA for years. In practice, experts say it may be putting the party in a “lose-lose scenario” with voters. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump maintains that the ruling presents an opportunity for lawmakers to create a better health care system.

‘In Light Of Ambiguity,’ States Want Judge To Clarify Whether Health Law Ruling Has Any Immediate Legal Effect

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In their filing to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other Democratic attorneys general also asked for permission to immediately appeal’s his decision that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. For its part, HHS says that since O’Connor had not issued a final judgment or an injunction, the department “will continue administering and enforcing all aspects of the ACA as it had before the court issued its decision.” Meanwhile, Democrats prepare to act to protect the law as soon as they take the majority in the House next month.

Even As More Red States Move Toward Medicaid Expansion With Caveats, Texas Hasn’t Budged

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For years, Texas Democrats have filed legislation to expand Medicaid, but those measures have gone nowhere in the Republican-dominated Legislature. State Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) said for members of his party, Medicaid expansion is a non-starter because of the threat it could pose to their political reputation. Medicaid news comes out of Kansas, as well.

With Shifting Public Attitudes About Health Law, Ruling Puts GOP In The Hot Seat: ‘Politically, I Don’t Think That It Helps Us At All’

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Republicans just spent months making campaign promises to retain popular provisions of the health law, such as protections of preexisting conditions coverage. The decision to invalidate those measures in a case pushed by Republican attorneys general ties the party, politically, to a decision undercutting those promises. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump touted the decision, calling it “a great ruling for our country.”

What’s Next?: ‘The Main Effect Right Now Is Just A Tremendous Amount Of Confusion’

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The judge’s ruling, practically speaking, won’t have an immediate impact on the way the health law operates. With enrollment closing on Saturday, the Trump administration said the court decision has “no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan.” But the case, seemingly bound for the Supreme Court, now threatens to complicate a wide array of policies and send a shock wave through a marketplace that’s been in upheaval for years.

Health Law Cannot Stand Without The Individual Mandate, Federal Judge Rules

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In a closely watched case, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which Republicans zeroed out with their tax bill, “can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress’s tax power.” And the rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and is therefore invalid, he wrote.

Judge Strikes Down Federal Health Law

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U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, ruling on a suit brought by opponents of the Affordable Care Act, says that the law was invalidated when Congress dropped the tax penalty for not having coverage. Advocates for the law say they will appeal the decision.

‘I Hate To Panic, But …’: Advocates Eye Tomorrow’s Health Law Enrollment Deadline With Trepidation As Numbers Lag

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Some experts, however, say that it’s still too soon to say that fewer sign-ups this year mean fewer people will have insurance coverage in 2019. The unemployment rate fell from 4.1 percent to 3.7 percent over the course of 2018, and it’s also hard to know how many people aren’t showing up on enrollment tallies because they are just sticking with the plan they have.

Industry Wants The Delay Of Health Law Taxes To Be Tucked Into Year-End Funding Deal, But Dems Are Resistant

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“You always want to take advantage of the moment, and I think we’re in the moment,” said Scott Whitaker, CEO of AdvaMed, a lobbying group for medical device companies. Meanwhile, Republican governors are joining the push to get Congress to delay the three taxes — medical device tax, health insurance tax, and tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health plans — as well.