By Eli Day for Peoples Policy Report - Mainstream liberals, and in particular Democrats, have been known to cozy up to radical language and symbols just as their value, and with it the political fortunes of those who parrot and exploit them, begins to rise. The last few years are crowded with examples. I’m thinking here of liberals’ oafish performance as champions of social justice. You see it most strikingly in the warm embrace of intersectionality and Black Lives Matter (both of which emerged from the black feminist tradition). That each has exploded in popularity in recent years isn’t itself the problem. The problem is that in the hands of many a liberal politician and pundit, they’ve been rapidly evacuated of substance. Substance that otherwise includes a set of short and long-term political commitments aimed at improving black life. Anyone who claims to value those lives should feel an awful rage at the outcome. After all, rhetorical admiration for black people without a full-throated embrace of policies that stand to improve the actual lives of black people may buoy the fortunes of the speaker, but it’s a pretty shitty deal for…black people. What’s cool is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Take healthcare. Judged by the misery it inflicts on black people, few systems should be as easily slated for decimation as America’s employer-provided system. In its place, the admirers of black life should get behind Medicare-for-All pronto.
By Steven Rosenfeld for AlterNet - The Senate Republicans’ latest anti-Obamacare bill has bigger goals than destroying the Affordable Care Act and dismantling Medicaid. This bill aims to blow up the very foundation upon which a national health care system could be built—even if it roils private insurance markets via massive premium hikes for 2018. This overarching goal—to destroy the health care system’s structural underpinnings that could be used to create a national health care system—was made clear in the opening boasts of the Senate bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, when he introduced the bill on the same day Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, introduced a Medicare for All bill. “If you want a single-payer health care system, this is your worst nightmare,” Graham boasted on September 13, referring to his own bill. “Hell no to Berniecare!” If that wasn't clear enough, Graham doubled down on Tuesday, when in an appearance with Vice President Mick Pence, Graham said, “federalism versus socialism, you pick.” Then on Wednesday, a Pence aide told reporters the vice president was leaving a U.N. Security Council meeting on peacekeeper reforms “to speak with leader McConnell on continuing momentum behind Graham-Cassidy.”
By Tony Pugh for McClutchy DC Bureau - WASHINGTON After more than 17 hours of deliberations, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act early Thursday morning even though the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t determined what the legislation will cost or how many people it will cause to lose health coverage. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is in the midst of a similar marathon session. They’re expected to approve the GOP bill on Thursday, setting the stage for the House Budget Committee to finalize the legislation next week. Republicans hope to move the bill to a full House vote...
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Today Politico provided more details of the Republican’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). Overall, the impacts on the health insurance industry are hard to predict, but we can say for certain that they will do what they can to protect their bottom line. The impacts on people are clearer to see – fewer people with low incomes will have access to Medicaid, people with low incomes who do not qualify for Medicaid will be unlikely to be able to afford health insurance premiums, especially if they are older and high quality health plans will continue their decline. It is also clear that the Republican plan will worsen the healthcare crisis in the United States. Here are some of the details.
By Peter Sullivan for The Hill - The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed a regulation aimed at “stabilizing” the ObamaCare marketplace by making changes favorable to insurers to help prevent them from bailing out or hiking premiums. The move is surprising, given that President Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But his administration is now in the position of trying to shore up the law’s marketplaces, at least temporarily, while Congress debates replacement plans and timing options. Now that he’s president, Trump faces the possibility of being blamed for premium hikes or insurers dropping out if the market deteriorates. Trump has also taken steps to chip away at ObamaCare. Most prominently, he signed an executive order that, while not specific, called on agencies to loosen ObamaCare requirements.
By Tara McKay for The Conversation - Dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan is projected to increase the nation’s uninsured population by 18 million in the first year after repeal and by 32 million in 2026, according to recent estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As lawmakers and the American public consider repealing portions of the ACA, it is an important time to reflect on what limiting access to health insurance might mean for Americans and their communities. If a repeal occurs, not only individuals, but also their communities, could be affected. Whether we like it or not, health insurance affects our lives in significant ways.
By Marcia Angell for US Today - Even before the election of Donald Trump, Obamacare was in trouble. Premiums on the government exchanges for individual policies are projected to increase an average of 11% next year, nearly four times the increase for employer-based family policies. And some large insurers are pulling out of that market altogether in parts of the country. Those who buy insurance on the exchanges often find that even with subsidies, they can't afford to use the insurance because of mounting deductibles (about $6,000 for individual Bronze plans). It has become clear that health insurance is not the same as health care.
By Russell Mokhiber for Counter Punch - In his farewell address, President Obama bluntly laid down a challenge – “If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.” There is such a plan. Not only does it cover as many people as Obamacare, it covers everyone. And at less cost than Obamacare. Everybody in. Nobody out. And Obama did publicly support it. Before he turned against it. That plan was put together more than fifty years ago – it’s called single payer.
By John Stauber for Counter Punch - My friend and former colleague Wendell Potter, the CIGNA insurance public relations chief who saw the evil of his ways and left his job, is starting a new non-profit journalism enterprise called Tarbell. The investigative story I want to see from Wendell is one I am sure he will never tell: an insider exposé of the ugly rise and fall of Obamacare. This is a story Wendell knows inside and out, but I doubt he will ever really come to grips with its truth: Obamacare was a pro-industry Democrat scam that destroyed an opportunity for single payer education and reform and ultimately brought devastating political ruin to the Democrats themselves.
By Sarah Kliff for Vox - Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for health and human services secretary, already has a plan for how to abolish Obamacare. The Washington Post reported late Monday that Trump intends to announce Price, who currently serves as House budget chair, to lead the federal agency overseeing Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Price will arrive at HHS with a clear blueprint for what comes next.
By Mark Almberg for PNHP - Zarr noted that since the ACA’s passage the number of uninsured has fallen by about 41 percent – from about 49 million people in 2010 to 29 million in 2015, with the largest gains among the poor, near-poor, and minorities. He said such gains “can only be welcomed, since research shows that having some kind of coverage is better than none.” But he said the Census Bureau report shows that new sign-ups dramatically slowed last year, with a decrease in the uninsured rate of only 1.3 percentage points from 2014.
By Staff of The Polimicist - Obamacare is in big trouble. Major insurers—Aetna, Humana, and United Health (the nation’s largest)—are pulling out of most exchanges. Remaining companies are seeking double-digit premium increases (at least 25% in 20 different states, some over 60%), while increasingly offering only “narrow network” plans that severely restrict available doctors and hospitals. With these developments, the scam of Obamacare, and its inevitable failure, are becoming too obvious for even the mainstream media to ignore.
By Bruce Japsen for Forbes - Aetna said it will reduce by more than 500 U.S. counties its participation in public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In 2017, Aetna said it will be in just 242 counties, down from 778. Aetna will remain on-exchange in just four states: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia, compared to 15 states where it operates this year. Monday night’s announcement comes after Aetna AET -0.20% said earlier this month that it would evaluate all of its individual plans in 15 states.
By Marcia Angell for The Boston Globe - Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, became law six years ago. The intention was to ensure that nearly all Americans have health insurance, while controlling costs. How did that work out? When the law was enacted, about 16 percent of Americans were uninsured. That has dropped to 10 percent. So instead of 50 million uninsured Americans, there are now about 30 million without insurance. That’s better, but hardly universal.
By Zachary Tracer for Bloomberg Business - Many people shopping for health coverage this weekend on the websites created by Obamacare are going to see double-digit percentage increases in their premiums. That’s still not enough for some insurers. Anthem Inc. says there remain competitors in the government-run marketplace offering premiums that aren’t enough to profitably provide the coverage patients will require. Prices in some areas probably will have to climb in 2017 and even 2018 to reach levels that make sense, according to Chief Financial Officer Wayne Deveydt. Meantime, Anthem will sacrifice market share to keep its plans profitable, he said.