March 11, 2014 |
Is Barack Obama the nation's first hipster president? Obama appeared Tuesday in an episode of "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis," a recurring comedy sketch on the Funny or Die website. Maybe it was just good prep work by his aides, but Obama's grasp of the "Two Ferns" conceit - the mutual antagonism between host and guest - suggested that he was actually familiar with the cringe-worthy series. The president was on "Two Ferns" ostensibly to promote the Affordable Care Act and urge people to sign up for a health plan at HealthCare.gov, the new federal insurance-buying site.
April 13, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that the health insurance exchanges that are now up and running across the country have given uninsured Americans a true choice of insurance plans with price comparisons. “People have competitive choices and real information for the first time ever in this insurance market,” Sebelius said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press. " Before, she said, “individuals were really on their own” if they did not have insurance through an employer or the government.
October 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The online insurance marketplaces created by President Obama's healthcare law got off to a bumpy start Tuesday as some consumers were kicked off web portals and several states reported glitches that slowed enrollment on the first day Americans were supposed to be able to sign up for coverage. The website for accessing federally run marketplaces - www.healthcare.gov - froze when some consumers tried to create accounts, the first step in selecting a health plan. Officials said the site got 1 million visits in the last day, five times more visitors than have ever been on the federal Medicare.gov site at one time.
August 5, 2013 |
The Wall Street Journal's editorial board opens its latest screed against the 2010 healthcare law Monday by paraphrasing H.L. Mencken as follows: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the cynicism and self-dealing of the American political class. " I guess no one will go broke either underestimating the Journal opinionators' cynicism and misrepresentations in the face of a policy they oppose. The Journal's fusillade was prompted by the Obama administration's effort to keep congressional staff members from being hurt by a pernicious feature of the 2010 law. Added by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa during the Senate Finance Committee's mark-up, the provision requires members of Congress and their staff to obtain health insurance through the new exchanges established by the law. To the Journal, this is the sort of eat-your-own-dog-food requirement that forces lawmakers to experience what they impose on their constituents.
February 21, 2014 |
Kevin Drum wonders whether there's a single genuine Obamacare horror story out there, given that virtually every yarn promoted by Republicans or conservatives about people hurt by the Affordable Care Act has deflated like a pricked balloon on the merest examination. It's a very good question, inspired by the latest horror story bloomer -- the tale of one Julie Boonstra of Michigan , wholesaled by the Koch-founded conservative organization Americans...
October 27, 2013 |
One of these weeks, now that the Obama administration has recruited a SWAT team of computer whizzes, Healthcare.gov will recover from its shambolic debut and turn into, well, just another website. After all, it's only a website, and websites can be fixed. But that's when a far more interesting chapter in the life of Obamacare will begin. We're about to witness a massive experiment in federalism to see whether the Affordable Care Act can succeed in two very different kinds of states: those where governments are actively working to help the law succeed, and those where they're working to make it fail.
October 31, 2010 |
Republican congressional candidates have declared war on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ? or Obamacare, as they call it. They have called for its repeal, and promised to work toward that end if elected. But the rhetoric is largely political theater. Even if Republicans were to gain control of both the House and Senate in the upcoming election, they would not have 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster. And President Obama would surely wield his veto pen to prevent destruction of his signature legislative achievement.
June 28, 2012 |
The Supreme Court is shaking up the political chessboard today by ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - a.k.a. "Obamacare" - and there is one player who will win no matter what the decision may be: the insurance industry. When Congress was debating healthcare three years ago, health insurers were no fans of reform. They were making gobs of money with the system just as it was. For years, their lobbyists managed to kill any attempt to tinker with the status quo, and major tinkering, like instituting a Canadian-style single-payer scheme, was out of the question because it would cut them out of the healthcare equation. Also, for sensible business reasons, insurers had never been especially keen on being forced to offer coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions or to pay for preventative care or various other benefits the Democrats and President Obama wanted as part of a healthcare reform package.
November 9, 2012 |
Here's a sign of how tenuous a hold House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has on his fellow Republicans: Seemingly every time he sounds a note of pragmatism, he has to follow up his remarks a few hours later to clarify that he's not conceding a thing. A good example comes in my colleague Lisa Mascaro's story about an interview Boehner gave ABC News' Diane Sawyer on Thursday. In addition to reiterating his opposition to higher tax rates, Boehner weighed in on the fate of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
December 6, 2012 |
The same day that Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. said it will not bump down existing full-time workers to part-time status to skirt healthcare costs, a petition calling on the company's chief executive to clarify his position is gaining steam. Dan Haney, an unemployed pharmaceutical customer service representative from Philadelphia, started the SignOn.org petition urging Darden CEO Clarence Otis to be even more specific about how the company will react when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014.