March 30, 2012 |
It's no surprise that professional pundits are shocked that the U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority appears ready to toss out the entire federal healthcare plan -- the plan Republicans delight in calling "Obamacare. " Self-proclaimed experts are often wrong, though that does not slow down their relentless prognostications and chatter. And it will be no surprise that conservatives who decry judicial activism will cheer the justices if they choose to engage in decidedly bold judicial activism by nullifying a major piece of legislation passed and approved by democratically elected members of the legislative and executive branches of government.
December 16, 2013 |
If there's been one inexorable trend coming out of the HR departments of major employers, it's been the steady erosion of worker pay and benefits. Razor-thin raises, defined benefit pensions replaced by 401(k) plans, shrinking healthcare--if you've been on a big company's payroll, you know the drill. Expect the trend to continue or even pick up steam, because employers have an ideal scapegoat right now: the Affordable Care Act. It looks like the blame-Obamacare game is having some effect. According to an AP poll released over the weekend, three-quarters of those with private or employer-based insurance think the Affordable Care Act is the reason for changes in their health coverage for 2014.
June 29, 2012 |
Within minutes of the Supreme Court decision upholding "Obamacare 's" individual mandate as a valid exercise of Congress' taxing powers, there were rumbles in the blogosphere that conservatives would snatch victory from the jaws of their defeat. Sure, Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion saved "Obamacare" by choosing from Column B of the government's justification for the mandate. But (that crafty devil!) he also furthered the long-term conservative project of weakening Congress' power to regulate the national economy (and arguably un-national, un-economic conduct like racial discrimination at drugstores)
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.
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.
April 14, 2014 |
Polls have consistently shown that even though the public opposes Obamacare, people like some of its most significant provisions. That's particularly true of the requirement that insurers ignore preexisting conditions when signing up customers for coverage. Yet that one provision, also known as guaranteed issue, is responsible for trade-offs that people bitterly oppose. Here are two good illustrations of this dichotomy. In The Times on Monday, Soumya Karlamangla reported on the plight of some of those who aren't poor enough to qualify for Medi-Cal, the insurance program for Californians with incomes near the poverty line.
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.
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.