Obamacare blows up

2017 may be the year that Obamacare blows up.  The number of mandated free coverages and other government requirements on the insurance companies is causing premiums to shoot up.  It has also caused many of the insurance companies that once participated to drop out of the program, meaning less competition and sending premiums even higher.

An editorial in the Daily Oklahoman cites a buyer who paid $318 per month in Obamacare’s first year.  In 2017, he will have to pay $716 a month.  With a $2,500 deductible.  And his dental and vision plans have been dropped.

Yes, low income customers can get government subsidies, which will also have to go up, adding to the deficit. But even then, the deductibles have become so high that many of the uninsured are still hard-pressed to pay their medical bills even with their government-mandated insurance. [Read more…]

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare, saying that the language of a  passage in the Affordable Care Act that limited subsidies to states that established insurance exchanges should not be allowed to undermine the larger purpose of the bill.

“In this instance,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”  Dissenting Justice Scalia said,   “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” citing the two decisions supporting the health care law, which “will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

Responded President Obama to his victory, “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” [Read more…]

Contradictory court rulings on Obamacare subsidies

One federal appeals court threw out the Obamacare subsidies, but hours later, another federal appeals court upheld them! [Read more…]

The next legal obstacle to Obamacare

Under Obamacare, those who don’t have health insurance coverage at work sign up for policies at online “exchanges.”  If their income level makes the policies too hard to afford, the government will offer subsidies to make up the difference.  There is a problem, though.  As the law is written, the subsidies are for people who signed up for a plan on an exchange “established by the state.”  Thirty-four states refused to set up the exchanges, which send applicants to a federal exchange.  Technically, applicants from those 34 states would not seem to be eligible for a subsidy.

But wait, you may say.  That is obviously just a technicality.  The clear intent of the law offers subsidies to everybody eligible.  Except that the legislative history of the bill shows good evidence that the “established by the state” language was put in precisely for the purpose of pressuring states to start their own exchanges.

Now this is being litigated, with several lawsuits against the IRS, which has been tasked with enforcing Obamacare.  (That is surely a misuse of that agency, but that’s what we get when the Supreme Court defines penalties and fines as “taxes.”)

But here is the point:  Even people who support some program that would provide universal healthcare should surely admit that Obamacare is not a very good way of reaching that goal, that the Affordable Care Act is too complicated, was poorly written, was passed too quickly without normal legislative scrutiny, and has too many unintended consequences. [Read more…]