Tag Archives: Obamacare

Democratic candidates debate 'Medicare for All' when they should focus on saving Obamacare

Democratic candidates debate 'Medicare for All' when they should focus on saving ObamacareDonald Trump came within a hair of repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Republicans in Congress and on the courts aren't giving up: Our view



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House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension

House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension(Bloomberg) — The House voted overwhelmingly to repeal a tax Wednesday intended to fund the Affordable Care Act, preserving tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance plans favored by large corporations.In a reversal of the usual partisan roles, Democrats rather than Republicans led the charge to kill a key part of Obamacare.The bill to repeal the levy commonly known as the “Cadillac tax” passed 419-6 with bipartisan support. The 40% excise tax on the most generous and expensive employer health-insurance plans was included in Obamacare as a measure that economists said would help curb health costs.Congress kept delaying its implementation so the tax has never actually been collected. Had it gone into effect, it would have hit about one in five employers that offer health benefits to their workers, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The vote to repeal the tax highlights the conflicting forces pulling at Democrats when campaigning versus legislating.Several of the party’s presidential candidates led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support replacing nearly all private insurance with a government-run system financed by tax increases. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.But in Congress, Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure from labor unions and large companies to move in the opposite direction by keeping tax advantages for employer-sponsored plans. Supporters of repealing the tax say keeping it in place would force employers to offer less generous health insurance to their workers.Employers can reap large tax savings by compensating their employees in the form of more extensive health insurance, rather than wages, which are subject to payroll taxes. Employer-paid premiums are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes, and the premiums employees pay are also often excluded from taxable income.Changing Minds“I’ve been a supporter of the Cadillac tax because I thought it would” lower health care costs, said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. “But I’ve read some additional material on it and it’s obviously overwhelmingly thought this will not have the effect in terms of raising money or controlling cost that I thought it would have.”The dissonance among Democrats about whether to expand or shrink employer-sponsored health coverage makes them look like “gymnasts,” said Representative Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.“Where are you on this stuff?” he said. “Wait a minute, you’re all advocating that there be no such thing as employer-sponsored coverage.”The repeated delays in imposing the Cadillac tax delays mean that Congress was never able to test whether it would curb the explosion of health care spending, which has risen an average 4.2% every quarter between 2010 and 2018, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The repeal also would mean that the Treasury Department won’t collect the $ 201 billion the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would raise over a decade.Obamacare TaxesObamacare included several other tax increases, including a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% levy on wages for top-earners. The portion of the law that was supposed to be financed through the Cadillac tax instead would be paid for through deficit spending, unless lawmakers propose a last-minute tax increase to offset the cost.Democrats have generally opposed measures to chip away at President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, but the Cadillac tax has been unpopular since it became part of the code.The measure to repeal it, H.R. 748, was passed under a fast-track procedure requiring two-thirds support among House members.Yet popularity doesn’t necessarily mean good policy, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Politicians don’t like the tax on health benefits, but nearly every economist thinks the Cadillac tax or a similar measure is necessary to help slow the rise in health-care costs and curb overuse of health services, he added.“Just because it’s bipartisan doesn’t mean it’s good,” he said.Not all Democrats are on board with eliminating the tax. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isn’t offset and there wasn’t any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.“I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority,” he said. “We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t committed to addressing the issue in his chamber. Because the repeal effort is led by Democrats, it sets up a path for McConnell to use it as a vehicle to attach Republican tax priorities, such as correcting errors in the 2017 tax law or extending several expired tax breaks that benefit the biodiesel and energy industries.“We’ve kicked the can down the road for so long on this one that the assumption is that it’s never going to go into effect,” said Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat. “There’s a certain inevitability to this one getting repealed.”\–With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Republicans ready to dive off a cliff on Obamacare

Republicans ready to dive off a cliff on ObamacareGOP senators hope the courts strike down the health law — even if they have no plan to deal with the ensuing chaos.



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US court to decide future of Obamacare

US court to decide future of ObamacareFormer US president Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which has insured tens of millions of Americans, went before a federal appeals court Tuesday in a high-stakes case whose outcome could play a major role in the 2020 presidential campaign. A three-judge panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans was considering a lower court decision that found the bitterly contested law unconstitutional. If they uphold the lower court decision, millions of Americans, many of them sickly or lower income individuals, would be in danger of losing their health care coverage.



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Democrats press Barr over Trump's war on Obamacare

Democrats press Barr over Trump's war on ObamacareAttorney General William Barr was pressed on the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act that, if it prevails, would cause millions of Americans to lose their health care coverage.



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New Trump attack on Obamacare leaves Dems wondering: Why now?

New Trump attack on Obamacare leaves Dems wondering: Why now?The unexpected filing in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a challenge to the ACA is being heard, came in the middle of the administration’s victory lap over the conclusion of the special counsel's investigation.



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Trump Administration’s Move to Gut Obamacare Raises Risks for 2020

Trump Administration’s Move to Gut Obamacare Raises Risks for 2020The Justice Department shifted its stance, after arguing last year that some parts of the 2010 law — but not all of it — should be struck down in a case brought by the state of Texas. A federal district judge voided the law in a December ruling that is now under appeal. In a filing late Monday night, the Justice Department said that President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement should be wiped out.



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Judge grants stay after ruling Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, Obamacare stays in effect

Judge grants stay after ruling Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, Obamacare stays in effectJudge Reed O'Connor agreed to stay his decision because "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty" while appeals played out.



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US judge says Obamacare can stand while appeal is heard

US judge says Obamacare can stand while appeal is heardA US judge who ruled earlier this month that Obamacare is unconstitutional has said the health care law can stand while his decision is appealed. Opposition Democrats, who have seen the law survive previous legal and legislative attacks, view it as a signature achievement of former president Barack Obama. Republicans on the other hand dismiss it as governmental overreach and President Donald Trump made repealing the law a key part of his campaign platform.



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Judge Who Ruled Against Obamacare Halts Order Pending Appeal

Judge Who Ruled Against Obamacare Halts Order Pending Appeal“Because many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal, the court finds that the Dec. 14, 2018, order declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional and inseverable should be stayed,” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said in a filing Sunday in federal court in Fort Worth. O’Connor had agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that the ACA, the signature health-care overhaul by President Barack Obama, needed to be eviscerated after Congress in 2017 zeroed out a key provision — the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance.



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