Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged Tuesday to hold a vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, using a budget resolution that could be passed in the Senate with a simple majority vote of 51 to 49, according to a statement released Tuesday.
“Earlier this year, Senate Republicans passed a balanced budget, and with it the necessary procedural tools – via the budget reconciliation process – to bring an end to the nightmare of Obamacare,” McConnell said in the joint statement with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
“Americans have faced skyrocketing health care costs, rampant fraud and more government between them and their doctors. And Republicans are united in working to repeal the broken promises of Obamacare and allow our country to start over fresh with real health reform that Americans deserve,” he added.
“We will continue our effort to use reconciliation – as the budget makes clear – to fulfill the promise we made to our constituents,” McConnell pledged.
Read more at CNSNews.com…
Just two years after Obamacare’s implementation, a Louisiana nonprofit insurer that received nearly $66 million in taxpayer-funded loans is closing its doors.
On Friday, the Louisiana Department of Insurance announced that the state’s consumer operated and oriented plan, or co-op, would be discontinuing its operations at the end of 2015. Louisiana’s is the second co-op created under to Obamacare to close.
According to the Department of Insurance, the Louisiana Health Cooperative will not be offering plans to consumers next year, but it will continue its coverage of the 17,000 Louisiana consumers currently receiving health insurance through the co-op.
Many of those consumers purchased their plans with the Louisiana Health Cooperative on the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov.
“It is a difficult time for health insurers of every size,” Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said in a statement. “The onerous burdens of Obamacare have shocked health insurance markets and caused instability in pricing and predictability, and as a result, we’ve seen premiums spike upward. Continue reading
In Missouri, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided in a unanimous decision that the lawsuit against Obamacare’s HHS abortion-pill mandate can move forward. Missouri State Senator Paul Wieland filed the lawsuit with his wife Teresa contending that the mandate infringes on their religious liberty. In 2013 federal district judge, Jean Hamilton dismissed their lawsuit.
The Thomas More Society, the law firm representing the Wielands, responded to the court’s ruling in a press release.
President and Chief Council, Tom Brejcha, said, “Today’s ruling is a huge victory for religious liberty. Last year, for profit business owners prevailed against the HHS mandate imposed by Obamacare when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. Now, individuals and families may also sue to win protection from the Obamacare Mandate, when they have conscientious objections based on sincerely held religious beliefs. As the case has been remanded to the federal district court where our clients’ religious liberty claims will be evaluated in light of the governing Hobby Lobby precedent, we hope to prevail in the end.”
Special council for the Thomas More Society, Tim Belz added, “We are grateful that the Eighth Circuit has recognized that parents such as Paul and Teresa Wieland deserve to sue for protection of their religious freedom. We believe that their exercise of religious faith is substantially burdened when the government forces them to provide religiously objectionable insurance coverage for their family.”
Read more at LifeNews.com…
Aetna Life Insurance has been sending some unfriendly letters to residents in Washington, D.C. In their mailbox are notes informing them that they may be losing the plans they purchased through the D.C. Health Link.
Individuals seeking PPO plans will now have only one choice. Oh, and they can expect to reach further in their pockets for that limited option.
The company’s decision will leave the region’s dominant insurance carrier, CareFirst, as the only one offering PPO plans. CareFirst has proposed rate increases for those plans ranging from less than 3 percent to more than 17 percent. Industry analysts characterized those increases as moderate, given an average increase of about 7 percent expected nationwide.
These unwanted changes bring the number of health plans on the D.C. exchange to a total of 162. That, reports the Washington Post, is about half the number provided when the program began.
Many would consider this a failure. Not D.C. exchange director, Mila Kofman.
“When you have products when there’s not a whole lot of interest to buy, that’s the market telling the carrier what they are selling, people can’t afford. So in terms of competition, it’s not a loss,” she said. “I don’t consider that real competition.”
Read more at TownHall.com…
Medicare said Wednesday it plans to pay doctors to counsel patients about end-of-life care, the same idea that sparked accusations of “death panels” and fanned a political furor around President Obama’s health care law six years ago.
The policy change, to take effect Jan. 1, was tucked into a massive regulation on payments for doctors. It suggests that what many doctors regard as a common-sense option is no longer seen by the Obama administration as politically toxic. Counseling would be entirely voluntary for patients.
Some doctors already have such conversations with their patients without billing extra. Certain private insurers have begun offering reimbursement. But an opening to roughly 55 million Medicare beneficiaries could make such talks far more common. About three-quarters of the people who die each year in the U.S. are 65 and older, making Medicare the largest insurer at the end of life, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Medicare is using a relatively new term for end-of-life counseling: advance care planning. That’s meant to reflect expert advice that people should make their wishes known about end-of-life care at different stages of their lives, as early as when they get a driver’s license.
As long predicted by the pro-life movement, the practice of so-called controlled euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands over the past fifteen years has given way to rampant involuntary imposed euthanasia where most cases go unreported. An extensive survey on the practice published in the British Journal of Medical Ethics this week reveals that one in five cases of euthanasia occurred without the patient’s explicit request, and in 17 per cent of such cases, alternative treatment was available.
Sources: FoxNews, LifeSiteNews.
Dr. Brian Babin, DDS, (R) Texas
A House Republican on Thursday proposed forcing the Supreme Court justices and their staff to enroll in ObamaCare.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that his SCOTUScare Act would make all nine justices and their employees join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.
“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” he said.
“That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare,” Babin said.
Babin’s potential legislation would only let the federal government provide healthcare to the Supreme Court and its staff via ObamaCare exchanges.
“By eliminating their exemption from ObamaCare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” he added.
Read more at The Hill…
President Obama declared Thursday that “the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” after winning yet another round in the Supreme Court.
But the battle’s not over — a host of legal and political challenges remain, and if anything, Republicans say they are more emboldened than ever to repeal the law.
“ObamaCare is fundamentally broken, increasing health care costs for millions of Americans. Today’s ruling doesn’t change that fact,” House Speaker John Boehner charged in a statement Thursday, vowing to continue efforts on Capitol Hill to “repeal the law and replace it with patient-centered solutions.”
The 6-3 decision upheld insurance subsidies nationwide, rejecting claims that residents in states that did not set up their own exchanges were ineligible for the credits. The decision was the second major court victory for the Obama administration on the president’s signature health care law.
But several court cases are still wending their way through the system, including a challenge by House Republicans over the estimated $175 billion the administration is paying health insurance companies to reimburse them for covering poor people and cases over whether the law is forcing religious organizations to pay for employee contraceptives.
Further, Republicans are weighing a repeal strategy that could lead to a veto showdown with the president before the end of the year. That’s not to mention what might happen if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, with a GOP majority on the Hill.
Read more at FoxNews.com…
The federal government cannot verify nearly $3 billion in subsidies distributed through ObamaCare, putting significant taxpayer funding “at risk,” according to a new audit report.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit Tuesday finding that the agency did not have an internal system to ensure that subsidies went to the right enrollees, or in the correct amounts.
“[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] CMS’s internal controls did not effectively ensure the accuracy of nearly $2.8 billion in aggregate financial assistance payments made to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act during the first four months that these payments were made,” the OIG said.
“CMS’s system of internal controls could not ensure that CMS made correct financial assistance payments,” they said.
The OIG reviewed subsidies paid to insurance companies between January and April 2014. The audit found that CMS did not have a process to “prevent or detect any possible substantial errors” in subsidy payments.
Read more at FoxNews.com…