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Law in the Raw

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~~~~TheInternationalNewYorkTimes1
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Nearly a week has gone by since the Supreme Court’s unexpected decision to enlist in the latest effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act, and the shock remains unabated. “This is Bush v. Gore all over again,” one friend said as we struggled to absorb the news last Friday afternoon. “No,” I replied. “It’s worse.”

What I meant was this: In the inconclusive aftermath of the 2000 presidential election, a growing sense of urgency, even crisis, gave rise to a plausible argument that someone had better do something soon to find out who would be the next president. True, a federal statute on the books defined the “someone” as Congress, but the Bush forces got to the Supreme Court first with a case that fell within the court’s jurisdiction. The 5-to-4 decision to stop the Florida recount had the effect of calling the election for the governor of Texas, George W. Bush. I disagreed with the decision and considered the contorted way the majority deployed the Constitution’s equal-protection guarantee to be ludicrous. But in the years since, I’ve often felt like the last progressive willing to defend the court for getting involved when it did.

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Two Republican Judges Gut Obamacare, Threatening Health Care For Millions

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Huffpost Politics

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Two Republican judges on the D.C. Circuit Court have ruled that the equivalent of a typo is enough to strip health care subsidies from up to five million people, dealing what would be a death blow to the Affordable Care Act if the decision is allowed to stand. The one Democrat on the panel dissented.

The three-judge panel ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that people in the 36 states that use the federal health insurance exchange are ineligible for subsidized insurance. The decision would also affect those who purchased insurance through the exchange but don’t receive subsidies, as reneging on the payments would lead to a rapid increase in insurance rates for everyone.

The White House said Tuesday the decision will be appealed to the entire D.C. circuit court — what’s known as an en banc review — where Democrats hold a majority that is nearly certain to overturn the GOP judges’ aggressive move. The next step could be the Supreme Court, which already upheld the Affordable Care Act in a separate case two years ago.

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The ruling against Obamacare subsidies would affect anyone using a federally facilitated marketplace or partnership marketplace. Source: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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Here’s How Much Your State Is Losing If It Didn’t Expand Medicaid

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Huffpost Politics

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Following a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that made Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act optional for states, 20 states have opted out of the reform, rejecting billions of dollars of federal funding for low-income residents. Texas and Florida will lose more than $9 billion and $5 billion, respectively.
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Obamacare’s Benefits Become Real On New Year’s Day

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politics

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When the clock strikes midnight for the new year Wednesday, it also will ring in a new day for the American health care system.

President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law nearly four years ago, and Jan. 1, 2014, culminates a lot of work, strife and anxiety. It also represents the birth of a new health insurance market for individuals who aren’t covered by their employers or government programs like Medicare, especially for low-income and uninsured people receiving unprecedented help paying for coverage.

Starting on Wednesday, health insurance companies can’t turn away anyone because of their medical histories or pre-existing conditions. Prices can’t be higher for people with chronic ailments, or for women, and older individuals can’t be charged more than three times what younger customers pay. Basic benefits like hospitalizations, prescription drugs and mental health care must be covered. Annual and lifetime limits to essential coverage are gone. And nearly everyone must obtain health coverage or face a tax penalty under the law’s individual mandate.

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Trader Joe’s Invites Part-Timers Losing Company Coverage To Seek Additional Obamacare Subsidy

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Faced with employees upset by its decision to drop health insurance for part-timers, grocer Trader Joe’s has invited workers who may face higher premiums on the Obamacare insurance exchanges to apply for additional subsidies from the company, according to a memo obtained by HuffPost.

Late last month, Trader Joe’s informed part-time employees that as of next year, they would no longer be eligible for company-sponsored health plans. Although employees averaging 18 hours a week had traditionally qualified for the plan, workers with less than 30 hours a week learned they would be given a check for $500 and nudged into state-run insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

The health care reform law mandates that companies with 50 or more full-time employees offer coverage to workers logging at least 30 hours a week or face penalties, though the Obama administration has chosen to delay that rule for a year.

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Small Businesses Opt To Pay Obamacare Penalty Instead Of Offering Health Insurance

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Since the Affordable Care Act passed into law, companies have been vocal about the drastic measures they’ll take to avoid paying for basic health care coverage for their employees, including cutting hours and firing workers.

An increasing number of companies now say paying the government’s penalty to break the law will be cheaper than following it, The Wall Street Journal reports.

An Obamacare provision that goes into effect next year requires businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health care coverage for employees. For businesses that don’t, there is a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker above the 30-employee threshold. (Full-time workers are defined as anyone who works more than 30 hours a week in a given month.)

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Stephanie Miller Thanks Obama For Health Care, Discusses Sister’s Struggle With Cancer

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The Huffington Post

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President Barack Obama received a hug from a sobbing woman while working the rope after a campaign event in Sandusky, Ohio, on Thursday. Stephanie Miller, whose 37-year-old sister, Kelly Hines, died of colon cancer four years ago, got a chance to personally thank the president for passing the health care law that the Supreme Court upheld last week.

Obama Health Care Ohio

President Barack Obama hugs an
emotional Stephanie Miller at a
campaign stop Thursday in Sandusky, Ohio.
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John Roberts Arrives In Malta (PHOTOS)

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The Huffington Post

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 John Roberts has reached his ” impregnable island fortress.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s chief justice arrived at the Mediterranean island of Malta on Tuesday, where he will be teaching a class for two weeks.

If anyone desperately needs an island getaway, it’s Roberts.

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