Health Care

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The day of reckoning for President Obama’s lawless rollout of Obamacare finally will arrive this week when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in King v. Burwell.

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When people say Obamacare is “working” the available empirical evidence suggests that these rosy assesments are either based on some other set of facts or perhaps are grounded in wishful thinking.

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As we approach oral argument this week at the Supreme Court in the King v. Burwell case, critics of the latest legal challenge to an Affordable Care Act provision are predicting a disaster of biblical proportions if the Court overturns an IRS rule and declares as illegal the current insurance subsidies for coverage in health exchanges established by the federal government.

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King v. Burwell could be an enormous opportunity for those who want to replace Obamacare with a consumer-driven health reform that would offer flexibility rather than rigidity and encourage the development of a functional and sustainable market for affordable coverage and care. But it will only offer such an opportunity if conservatives are prepared to give the states a serious alternative arrangement.

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The actual law passed by Congress never authorized tax credits for federal exchanges.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced that it will now annually publish data on the amounts physicians are paid and the procedures they perform. This information is likely to provide misleading conclusions about the quality and cost of health care provided by physicians across states.

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On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, with a decision expected in late June. If the court strikes down the payment of government subsidies to those who bought health insurance on the federal exchange, Republicans will at last have a real opportunity to amend ObamaCare. Doing so, however, will be politically perilous.

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With the King vs. Burwell hearing around the corner, many wonder what happens to millions of Americans who have signed up for Obamacare under the federal plan. Critics of the IRS rule and its federal exchange subsidies need to explain very clearly that Congress is ready and willing to act to help people who would lose their coverage if the Supreme Court decides not to allow subsidies in the federal exchanges.

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Obamacare forces any slight change in health insurance premiums to become a noisy national political matter. This year the new drug for Hepatitis C is likely to put insurers and the medical industry at odds as premium increases gain political scrutiny.

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Law and public policy experts discuss the health policy reform implications of the King v. Burwell lawsuit.

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While many have focused on what Republicans must do if, in the upcoming case of King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court decides the Affordable Care Act does not authorize the government to provide subsidies to people enrolled on federal healthcare exchanges, it is the Democrats who face fallout from such a decision if they remain unwilling to consider ACA alternatives.

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