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Supreme Court Rejects Obamacare Lawsuit, Preserving Insurance For Millions

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The latest and possibly the last serious effort to cripple Obamacare through the courts has just failed.

On Thursday, for the second time in three years, the Supreme Court rejected a major lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act — thereby preserving the largest expansion in health coverage since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid half a century ago.

The stakes of the case, King v. Burwell, were enormous. Had the plaintiffs prevailed, millions of people who depend upon the Affordable Care Act for insurance would have lost financial assistance from the federal government. Without that money, most of them would have had to give up coverage altogether. And the loss of so many customers would have forced insurers to raise premiums, seriously disrupting state insurance markets.

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!!!!!BN2015-6-25HealthcareSaved1Image: Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/25/obamacare-supreme-court-decision_n_7346048.html

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Obamacare Is Turning 5 Years Old, And The Debate Has Barely Changed

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Huffpost Politics

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A big f***ing deal happened five years ago Monday.

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act — a law designed to make health insurance available to all Americans and, over time, to make the health care system more efficient. Vice President Joe Biden’s comment that the law was a “B.F.D.,” which an open microphone at the White House ceremony caught, was mainly a reference to the decades-long quest to establish some kind of universal health care system, bringing to the U.S. the same guarantees of financial security and access to medical care that have long existed in every other developed country.

But Biden’s quip was also a statement about the grueling fight to get a bill through Congress. For more than a year, stretching back to Obama’s very first days in office, Republicans and their allies had attacked the law relentlessly and, at times, hyperbolically. They didn’t just doubt that the law would achieve its goals, they also predicted that it would wreak havoc on the federal budget, the economy and the health care system.

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OBAMA SIGNS AFFORDABLE CARE ACT 2010

President Barack Obama (C) signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act during a ceremony with fellow Democrats in the East Room of the White House March 23, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Five years later, Republicans still want the law repealed. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) | Win McNamee via Getty Images

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/22/obamacare-5-years_n_6918326.html

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Huge Stakes As Supreme Court Takes Third Crack At Obamacare

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Huffpost Politics

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Obamacare faces its strangest challenge yet when the Supreme Court takes up the law for the third time Wednesday, but the oddity of the lawsuit shouldn’t obscure the cataclysm that a loss for President Barack Obama would provoke.

The Supreme Court case is the latest legal effort by political opponents of the Affordable Care Act to ruin Obama’s signature domestic achievement. If successful, the suit would tarnish Obama’s legacy, foment infighting among Republicans, aggravate bitter partisanship between the GOP Congress and the White House, and threaten chaos in the health insurance market. But the worst consequences would fall on the estimated 9.6 million people who would lose their health insurance.

The lawsuit, King v. Burwell, isn’t like the previous two Obamacare cases that came before the Supreme Court. Three years ago, in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate that most Americans obtain health insurance. The Supreme Court last year weakened Obamacare’s birth-control coverage rule in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, a case with religious-freedom implications.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/03/obamacare-supreme-court-argument_n_6793228.html

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New Questions Swirl on an Affordable Care Act Challenger

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~~~~WallStreetJournal1

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One of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case against the Affordable Care Act listed a short-term-stay motel as her address when she joined the lawsuit, potentially calling into question her basis for suing.

Rose Luck is among four plaintiffs suing the Obama administration to eliminate tax credits under the law that make health insurance cheaper for millions of Americans. They say the wording of the 2010 law allows consumers to tap the credits only in states that run their own insurance exchanges, and not their home state of Virginia, which is one of as many as 37 states that use the federal enrollment system.

The plaintiffs say that, by making their insurance more affordable, the tax credits subject them to the law’s requirement that they carry insurance or pay a fee, which they oppose.

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http://www.wsj.com/article_email/new-questions-swirl-on-an-affordable-care-act-challenger-1423527427-lMyQjAxMTE1NzAzOTYwNzkwWj

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Obamacare Nears Major Goal With One Month To Go

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More than 9.5 million people have signed up for private health insurance coverage this year using the Obamacare exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services disclosed Tuesday, putting the program within striking distance of meeting its enrollment targets.

The deadline to choose a health insurance plan on the Affordable Care Act’s exchange marketplaces like HealthCare.gov and Covered California is Feb. 15. Federal officials projected at least 10.3 million would be enrolled by that date, and that at least 9 million would have this form of health coverage by the end of the year. The new figures do not reflect how many enrollees have paid for their insurance, which is the final step to securing coverage.

With the technical failings of HealthCare.gov and several state-run health insurance exchange websites behind them, the marketplaces mostly are managing this year’s sign-up period smoothly. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 42 percent of enrollees through mid-January — 3 million people — are new to the exchanges, while most others are renewing coverage. Enrollment for 2015 insurance plans began Nov. 15.

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OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT 2015

With one month remaining in this year’s Obamacare sign-up period, 9.5 million people have enrolled, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. | AP Photo/Mandel Ngan

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Kathleen Sebelius Resigns

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~~~~LifeScript1
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Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. health secretary who oversaw the botched rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reforms, has resigned, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Obama has chosen Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his budget director, to replace Sebelius, a second official said. Obama was due to announce the change with Sebelius and Burwell at his side at a White House event on Friday.

Sebelius, 65, became the public face for the problem-plagued start to the enrollment period for Obamacare, which was meant to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance and cut into massive U.S. healthcare costs.

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Obamacare’s Benefits Become Real On New Year’s Day

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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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Health Care Reform: Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

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~~~~WebMD1
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Unbiased Health Care Reform Information.

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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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!SmallBusiness1

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