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Politico: Obamacare Is Still “Highly Unpopular, And Significant Structural Issues Remain”‏Politico: Obamacare Is Still “Highly Unpopular, And Significant Structural Issues Remain” | Missouri Political News Service

Politico: Obamacare Is Still “Highly Unpopular, And Significant Structural Issues Remain”‏Politico: Obamacare Is Still “Highly Unpopular, And Significant Structural Issues Remain”

June 29th, 2015 by mopns · No Comments

Despite the triumphant rhetoric from President Obama and Democrats in Congress, yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court on federal exchange subsidies doesn’t change the long list of problems inherent to Obamacare, nor does it change the law’s longstanding unpopularity with voters.

Recognizing this reality, Politico writes today, “Obamacare has cleared a second major hurdle at the Supreme Court — but its troubles are far from over. The law is still highly unpopular, and significant structural issues remain: Health insurance rates are rising, many people don’t have as much choice of doctors and hospitals as they’d like, some states continue to struggle with their exchanges, and 21 states still haven’t backed Medicaid expansion. . . .

“Some of the states that decided to set up an exchange are dealing with ongoing technological problems or financial difficulties, especially now that they can’t get federal grants.

“Hawaii decided earlier this year to move to HealthCare.gov for enrollment, and Colorado and Vermont are still working to fix problems with their systems. Some Republicans in blue states are already saying their states should switch to the federal exchange now that the subsidies will stay nationwide. . . .

“The law’s legal problems are not yet over, either. Another challenge to the ACA mandate that employers cover contraception in their insurance plans is moving through the courts — and very likely to return that issue to the Supreme Court in the next term. And a suit backed by the House of Representatives against the law’s cost-sharing provisions was filed earlier this year. . . .

“The law remains underwater in the polls. The most recent Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll found that 42 percent of people have unfavorable views of the law and 39 percent had favorable views. Those numbers have fluctuated since the law passed in 2010, but generally, the legislation has been viewed negatively.”

Politico then looks at the many reasons Americans remain unhappy with the effects of Obamacare: “For one, the public is frustrated with insurance premium increases that they view as directly related to Obamacare. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that 2016 premiums are up by a greater percentage than in 2015. Benchmark silver-level plans are rising by an average of 4.4 percent in a select group of cities but could be much higher in parts of the country — with a Wellmark plan in South Dakota wanting to raise rates by 42.9 percent, CareFirst seeking a nearly 30 percent increase in Maryland and Health Care Service Corp. going after a 51.6 percent hike in New Mexico. While premiums were on their way up before the law passed, the public faults Obamacare — and that’s something the White House hasn’t been able to shake.

“Some people who have signed up have been shocked to discover the size of their deductibles or that they can’t go to the doctor they want because insurers have imposed narrow ‘in-network”’ care. . . .

“The law’s future is also threatened by the potential repeal of a few elements that are particularly vulnerable to Democratic opposition.

“Repeal of the medical device tax passed the House last week with nearly enough votes to override a presidential veto. A Medicare payment board that is tasked with controlling health care spending is unpopular with House Democrats, too, and likely to get a repeal vote soon. . . .

“The ‘Cadillac tax’ on high-cost employee health insurance plans, which goes into effect in 2018, is vehemently opposed by labor unions and some Democrats on Capitol Hill.

So while the president tried to declare the discussion of his unpopular health care law over yesterday, there are clearly many many problems with it that must be highlighted.

In an op-ed today for The Wall Street Journal, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), a doctor, writes, “No one . . . can change that ObamaCare is an expensive failure—unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable.

“ObamaCare enrollees are facing double-digit premium increases, the opposite of what they were promised. The president’s health-care law was supposed to ‘bend the cost curve’—and it has, in the wrong direction. ObamaCare piled mandates on the insurance industry while drastically increasing uncertainty in the market. Early on, insurers were working with incomplete data when setting rates. They didn’t know how sick or expensive their millions of new enrollees would be. Now they have a better idea and are proposing enormous rate hikes—30% or more in states such as in Maryland, Tennessee and New Mexico.”

“It’s time,” Sen. Barrasso writes, “for the president to focus on addressing the real problems with this law, not on protecting his legacy. He has conceded before that the law isn’t perfect, and that there is more work to be done. Now he can show he means it.

“Republicans have good ideas about how to lower costs, improve access and help Americans lead healthier lives.

“First, some of the health-care law’s most unpopular and expensive mandates should be scrapped. These include the long list of coverage requirements that drive up costs and force many people to buy insurance that is more than they want or can afford. For example, one of my constituents in Wyoming asked me why the law forced her to pay for maternity coverage after she had a hysterectomy.

“Americans deserve the freedom to buy coverage that is right for their needs and budgets, not the dictates of Washington. No two patients are exactly alike. Health-care reform should not attempt to be one-size-fits-all either. . . . Employers and workers should be freed from the parts of the law that reduce jobs, wages and economic growth. For instance, the mandate that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance only covers workers who spend 30 hours or more a week on the job. That led many employers to cut or cap workers’ hours to below that threshold. In January, the House passed a bipartisan bill to repeal the 30-hour workweek by restoring “full-time” employment to the traditional definition of 40 hours a week. It has been introduced in the Senate with 40 co-sponsors, including two Democrats.”


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