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

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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in the East Room of the White House March 23, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Five years later, Republicans still want the law repealed.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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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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!!!!!BNSupremeCourtOcare2!!!!!BNSupremeCourtOcare1.

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

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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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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/27/obamacare-enrollment-2015_n_6556952.html?ir=Politics&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000016

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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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