Republicans Assure Veto of Partial ObamaCare Repeal

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This week’s health policy news roundup curated by Jane Orient, M.D.

As expected, Obama swiftly vetoed the ballyhooed Republican partial repeal of his destructive legacy, the “Affordable” Care Act. The Republicans can say it isn’t their fault—they tried, writes Twila Brase, but in reality the bill was a stunt to appeal to voters. The Republicans knew they had one powerful tool, and they threw it away in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. They gave the liberals a two-year delay on implementation of the 40% “Cadillac tax” on generous health plans.

“As Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber explained, the purpose of the tax was to end employer-sponsored coverage,” Brase notes. “Labor unions realized this would eliminate not only employer-sponsored coverage, but the labor union’s primary reason for existing.”

So ObamaCare gets more time to embed itself. “Billions of dollars are being wasted, lives are being disrupted, and the tax man is penalizing the uninsured because they can’t afford Obamacare-priced premiums. And those who got taxpayer-funded subsidies aren’t home-free. For many, the IRS came the next year to take them back.” But every delay makes it harder to repeal ACA. http://cnsnews.com/commentary/twila-brase/obama-swiftly-vetoes-reconciliation-bill-because-congress-didnt-deliver

ObamaCare premiums consume more than 10% of the income of many Americans. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/24/obamacare-plans-put-big-dent-in-customers-wallets.html

Discussions of ObamaCare often mention only the rise in premiums. This minimizes total cost, which includes both premiums and deductibles. “And while ACA exchange premiums are only modestly higher than pre-ACA premiums, deductibles have in some cases more than doubled, and continue to increase every year,” writes Robert Book. http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2015/12/31/insidious-high-deductibles/

One silver lining is that more Americans are becoming cost-conscious, writes Devon Herrick—because ObamaCare has destroyed their insurance. “Millions of enrollees are essentially paying for all of their health care out of pocket because their deductibles are far higher than their annual medical needs.” http://townhall.com/columnists/devonherrick/2015/12/29/patients-are-becoming-price-sensitive–but-only-because-obamacare-destroyed-their-insurance-n2097909

To escape the high ACA costs, among other reasons, more Americans are turning to health-sharing ministries, which now have about 500,000 members nationwide, twice as many as before ACA passed. http://www.wsj.com/article_email/more-people-turn-to-faith-based-groups-for-health-coverage-1451867541-lMyQjAxMTE2NDAxNDMwNTQ1Wj

ObamaCare has removed any incentive insurers had to reduce the cost of premiums or care, explains JK Wall. http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2016/01/01/think-again-health-insurers-have-no-reason-to-reduce-the-price-of-health-care/

Both spending and overhead costs have risen substantially, according to Investor’s Business Daily. http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-obama-care/120315-783666-spending-and-overhead-costs-explode-under-obamacare.htm#ixzz3tKVdh3bR

Health costs will likely top $4.9 trillion for 2015, writes Chris Conover. http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2015/12/29/health-costs-top-4-9-trillion-in-2015/

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