Posts Tagged ‘ACA’

Earlier today, the wingnuts thought they had scored a victory in their battle to deny poor Americans affordable health insurance with a ruling from the DC Appeals Court. Even the mainstream news and liberal websites were using apocalyptic language to describe the ruling, but it turns out to mean just a little less than jack shit. Two Republican judges on a three-judge panel ruled that the federal government can’t provide subsidies to people who sign up for health insurance on the federal exchange. Their ruling is based on ignoring the precedent that an ambiguous law must be interpreted by looking at the legislative intent and that deference is given to the manner in which the regulatory agency interprets the law. The ruling isn’t surprising, since one of the Republican judges previously said the ACA was an “unmitigated disaster” and that premium cost have sky-rocketed. Both of these claims fly directly in the face of the facts, so we shouldn’t be shocked when this judge proves to not be an impartial trier of facts. The dissenting judge, however, plainly states what this case is all about, a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” the ACA.

So when the story broke, the wingnuts began their celebration, going so far as to call it a “deathknell” for the ACA. Reports of the ACA’s demise have been greatly exaggerated for several reasons.

First, this ruling is by a three-judge panel of the DC Appeals Court. The government will file for a hearing before the full court, which will rule in the government’s favor since it isn’t dominated by conservative ideologues wanting to take away people’s health insurance. Second, another court, the 4th Circuit Court, also ruled today on ACA subsidies and found them to be legal. Third, there is a good chance the Supreme Court will not even hear an appeal. When the full DC Circuit Court rules in the government’s favor, the score will be 2-0 against the wingnuts. The Supreme Court will not have conflicting lower court opinions to resolve and could easily choose not to hear any appeals and let the lower courts’ rulings stand. At that point it is game over for those who want to force poor people out of their health insurance.

So, as is usually the case, don’t take the headlines and initial reports at face value. They generally turn out to be wrong, and in this case, much ado about nothing.

P.S. In other news that will depress the wingnuts, an estimated 20 million people have received health insurance through the ACA.

UPDATE: In the extreme unlikelihood that this purely partisan opinion is validated by the Supreme Court in the future, there is a rather simple way to negate it. A state only has to pass a one-line bill saying that for all purposes the federal exchange is the state’s exchange.

Regardless of what the Teahadists say, the ACA is working and people are satisfied with what they’re getting; even Republicans:

Overall, 73 percent of people who bought health plans and 87 percent of those who signed up for Medicaid said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their new health insurance. Seventy-four percent of newly insured Republicans liked their plans. Even 77 percent of people who had insurance before — including members of the much-publicized group whose plans got canceled last year — were happy with their new coverage.

This is typical of the extremist Republicans. They will wail about how something is the end of the world as we know it, but when people start to actually feel the effects those people realize it’s not so bad. In most cases, it turns out pretty good. The good news for us is that there will be some of those Republicans who will wake up and realize they were being lied to by their Party leaders and reconsider if they really want to support those kinds of people in upcoming elections.

I posted a bunch of tweets yesterday regarding the White House announcement that eight million Americans have signed up for insurance via the Affordable Care Act exchanges. (Of course, all told, a lot more than eight million Americans have obtained health care via the ACA — this is just the number of obtained private insurance via the exchanges.)

Earlier in the day, President Obama held a half-hour press conference to talk about it. (Once again, conservatives experienced shock as President Obama spoke extemporaneously without a teleprompter, answering unscripted questions.)

One question and answer stood out. Tamara Keith of NPR asked, “Now that, as you say, it’s here to stay, there are so many people that signed up, in this environment, is it possible to do the kind of corrections that — that the business community and many others would like to see, sort of small, technical corrections?”

President Obama:

It is absolutely possible, but it will require a change in attitude on the part of the Republicans. I have always said from the outset that on any large piece of legislation like this, there are going to be things that need to be improved, need to be tweaked. I said that, I think, the day I signed the bill.

And I don’t think there’s been any hesitation on our part to consider ideas that would actually improve the legislation. The challenge we have is, is that if you have certain members in the Republican Party whose view is making it work better is a concession to me, then it’s hard in that environment to actually get it done.

And I recognize that their party is going through, you know, the stages of grief, right? Anger and denial and all that stuff. And we’re not at acceptance yet. But at some point, my assumption is, is that there will be an interest to figure out, how do we make this work in the best way possible?

We have 8 million people signed up through the exchanges. That doesn’t include the 3 million young people who are able to stay on their parent’s plan. It doesn’t include the 3 million people who benefited from expansions in Medicaid. So if my math is correct, that’s 14 million right there. You’ve got another 5 million people who signed up outside of the marketplaces, but are part of the same insurance pool. So we’ve got a sizable part of the U.S. population now that are in the first — for the first time, in many cases, in a position to enjoy the financial security of health insurance.

And I’m meeting them as I’m on the road. Met with — saw a woman yesterday, a young woman, maybe 34, with her mom and her dad, she’s got two small kids, and a self-employed husband, and was — was diagnosed with breast cancer. And this isn’t an abstraction to her. She is saving her home. She is saving her business. She is saving her parents’ home, potentially, because she’s got health insurance, which she just could not afford.

And the question now becomes, if, in fact, this is working for a lot of people, but there are still improvements to make, why are we still having a conversation about repealing the whole thing? And why are we having folks say that any efforts to improve it are somehow handing Obama a victory? This isn’t about me.

And my hope is, is that we start moving beyond that. My suspicion is that probably will not happen until after November, because it seems as if this is the primary agenda item in the Republican political platform.

But here’s what I know: The American people would much rather see us talk about jobs, would much rather see us talk about high college costs, would much rather see us discussing how we can rebuild our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure and put people back to work. They’d much rather see us talk about how we boost wages and boost incomes and, you know, improve their individual family bottom lines.

And if the Republicans want to spend the entire next six months or a year talking about repealing a bill that provides millions of people health insurance without providing any meaningful alternative, instead of wanting to talk about jobs and the economic situation of families all across the country, that’s their prerogative. At some point, I think they’ll make the transition. That’s my hope, anyway. If not, we’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing, which is making — making it work for people all across the country.

I’m sorry. I’m going to say one last thing about this… (LAUGHTER) … just because this — this does frustrate me, states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid for no other reason than political spite. You got 5 million people who could be having health insurance right now, at no cost to these states — zero cost to these states — other than ideological reasons, they have chosen not to provide health insurance for their citizens. That’s wrong. It should stop. Those folks should be able to get health insurance like everybody else.

Obama asked (rhetorically because, you know, Republicans), Why are we still having a conversation about repealing the whole thing? He answered his own question, of course: “Certain members of Congress” worry that “making it work better is a concession to me.”

For Republicans, that’s what this has always been about, and that’s what it’s still about.

You’ve really got to hand it to conservatives for their blatant chutzpah. They used to complain that “ObamaCare” was doomed because people would just wait until they got sick and then sign up. That was a lie, of course, as they are now acknowledging in backhanded fashion.

See, now “conservatives now want you to be outraged about the fact that the Affordable Care Act creates limited open-enrollment periods each year to prohibit precisely that kind of free riding.” Brian Beutler has the details.

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein has an article on Vox today entitled, “The right can’t admit that Obamacare is working.”

Today, the right struggles with Obamacare Derangement Syndrome: the acute inability to see Obamacare as anything but a catastrophic failure that the American people will soon reject. For those suffering from ODS, all bad Obamacare news is good news, and all good Obamacare news is spin. In this world, delays of minor provisions in the law prove that the entire structure is collapsing, while surges of millions of people enrolling in insurance don’t prove anything at all.

He goes on to say:

The irony of this is that Obamacare’s successes are, in many cases, conservatism’s successes. The individual mandate is a conservative idea — and it’s working. Liberals were skeptical that private insurers would compete on price even absent a public option — but they are. High-deductible health plans are a longtime conservative solution for health costs — and Obamacare is spreading them far and wide. But conservatives can’t take credit for any of this, much less build on it.

Everyday conservatives box themselves a little further into their corner.

So President Obama announced Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation today.

On his new website, Vox, Ezra Klein wrote an article about it yesterday, titled, “Kathleen Sebelius is resigning because Obamacare has won.”

Calls for Sebelius’s resignation were almost constant after Obamacare’s catastrophic launch. The problem wasn’t just that Sebelius had presided over the construction of a fantastically expensive web site that flatly didn’t work. It was that she didn’t know healthcare.gov was going to instantly, systemically fail. And so the White House didn’t know that healthcare.gov was going to instantly, systemically fail. The demands that Sebelius to step down — or be fired — were as deafening inside the building as outside of it.

But President Obama refused. As National Journal’s Major Garrett reported, Obama believes that “scaring people with a ceremonial firing deepens fear, turns allies against one another, makes them risk-averse, and saps productivity.” Moreover, there was too much to be done to fire one of the few people who knew how to finish the job. Sebelius would stay. The White House wouldn’t panic in ways that made it harder to save the law.

The evidence has piled up in recent weeks that the strategy worked. Obamacare’s first year, despite a truly horrific start, was a success. More than 7 million people look to have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges. Millions more have signed up through Medicaid. And millions beyond that have signed up for insurance through their employers.

Naturally, conservatives instantly began attacking Klein. Meanwhile, they’re having to come to grips with the reality that a lot of people are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act.

Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, recently penned an op-ed, saying, “Conservatives need this to sink in: America already has a right to a certain minimum of health treatment, which is not going away. It is an expression of compassion and decency. But the only way to credibly offer [conservative alternatives] is to recognize that access to some form of health care is a right in the United States — and was so, long before Obamacare.”

Wow. A conservative talking about compassion and decency? And asserting that access to health care is a right? Statist.

Gerson also tells us, “Conservatives have serious alternatives to Obamacare.” Well, okay. Unfortunately, they’re still… just… not… ready.Yes, this week House Republicans once again delayed their promised rollout of their alternative to ObamaCare. Is anyone surprised?

So now the party line is that April “wasn’t intended to be a formal rollout of a bill, rather a discussion about ideas,” an aide said. But rest assured that they’re continuing to work on it.

It’s so much easier to just vote against stuff you don’t like. This crafting of laws and policies and stuff is hard work!

More Good ACA News

Posted: April 11, 2014 by Marner in Current Events, Health Care
Tags:

On top of the news that the ACA has enrolled even more people in health insurance than previously estimated, we have this story from Arkansas:

The Ninth Street Ministries – Medical Care Services Division only – has announced that after serving its community for over 15 years, it will no longer provide services as of April 24, 2014, and as the administrators explain through heavy hearts, “The mission is complete.”

The current Clinic Director, Stacey Bowser, explained there were many mixed emotions involved in the decision but said overall, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the need is no longer present – the patients that the ministry opened for are now being served.

The medical clinic served those found in the gap: Polk County citizens who were unable to obtain insurance but not eligible to receive Medicare or Medicaid. In January, Bowser explained, the clinic saw between 80 and 90 patients, dropping to 14 in February and only 3 in March.

I’m sure when Fox News covers the story it will be about how Obama took these volunteer workers’ jobs away.