Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

REVEALED: What the IRS form for Obamacare might look like (click on link to see it)

OK, this is not an actual IRS document: It’s a mock-up of one by Americans for Tax Reform. But it incorporates requirements from Obamacare in the kind of form you can expect if President Obama is re-elected and Obamacare is fully implemented. Bottom line: Your 1040EZ form is getting longer and less EZ.

Yet another reason we should move Tax Day to the day before Election Day.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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How Obamacare is making it harder to find a full-time job

The drag Obamacare has had on the economy has been hard to quantify in the two-plus years since it became law, because so many of its economy- and job-altering provisions had yet to be written. But that’s changing, and the law’s negative impact on the economy is becoming clearer. The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson explains one of the ways: the law’s exemption for part-time employees and its definition of what counts as “part time”:

In September, 34 million workers, about a quarter of total workers, were part-time, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But the BLS defines part-time as less than 35 hours a week; Obamacare’s 30 hours a week was presumably adopted to expand insurance coverage. There are now 10 million workers averaging between 30 and 34 hours a week. To the BLS, they are part-time; under Obamacare, they’re full-time.

Employers have a huge incentive to hold workers under the 30-hour weekly threshold. The requirement to provide insurance above that acts …

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How tort reform could increase access to justice for patients

Limiting damages in medical malpractice cases — what most people think of as “tort reform” — could become a hot topic again if Georgia legislators finally try to reimpose the caps thrown out by the state Supreme Court in 2010. Reformers, of course, say the threat of multimillion-dollar lawsuits prompts doctors to practice defensive medicine, needlessly costing our health-care system billions.

Critics say the caps effectively reduce access to the justice system by making malpractice cases less attractive to plaintiffs’ attorneys. But judicial access could hardly be lower than it is under the current system.

That’s the upshot of a new study by an Emory University law professor, who suggests another feature of today’s jackpot justice — the high cost of pursuing a malpractice case — already prevents most people injured through medical negligence from having their day in court.

“The vast majority of attorneys reject the majority of cases they screen,” says Joanna …

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Deal: No Medicaid expansion for Georgia

TAMPA — Firming up his earlier stance, Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday he “would not have any intention” of expanding Georgia’s Medicaid rolls with federal money from Obamacare.

The expansion to cover anyone who earns one-third more than the federal poverty level, which the law made virtually mandatory by threatening to withhold current Medicaid funds from states that did not cooperate, became optional thanks to a Supreme Court ruling this summer that said Congress had overstepped its bounds in making such a coercive threat. Immediately after the court issued its ruling, Deal said he would wait until November to decide about the expansion, under which the feds would foot 100 percent of the cost of expansion from 2014 to 2016 and less in the years after that.

Tuesday morning in Tampa, during an interview with the AJC, 11 Alive and Politico, he indicated the expansion is off the table:

No, I do not have any intentions of expanding Medicaid. I think that is something our state …

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Medicaid expansion is a bad deal for Georgians

Amid the confusion about who won what in the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling last month, there was one clear winner: the states.

When Georgia and a couple of dozen other states joined Florida’s lawsuit to overturn the 2010 health-care reform, they were contesting the part of the law that affected their governments: the Medicaid provisions. Obamacare called for expanding Medicaid to cover anyone earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level; it aimed to force states to go along with this plan by threatening to withhold current Medicaid funding if they didn’t acquiesce.

The states argued this coercion was unconstitutional, and seven of nine Supreme Court justices agreed with them. Instead of striking down the provision altogether, however, the court offered a remedy: Washington couldn’t take away what it’s now giving states for Medicaid, but states could choose whether to participate in the expansion.

That’s left some governors — including our own Nathan …

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2012 Tuesday: Romney’s Obamacare missteps

I previously wrote that the effect of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling on the presidential race would depend on how each campaign reacted to it. So far, not so good for Mitt Romney.

Romney’s initial statement made clear that he, and only he, would sign a repeal of Obamacare as president. A good start. Since then, however, it’s either been silence or an unforced error.

The unforced error, of course, was his spokesman’s televised comment that Romney doesn’t believe Obamacare’s mandate is a tax. The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes has a good summary:

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom appeared [Monday] on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, where he agreed with the host’s assertion that Romney “believes that you should not call the penalty a tax.”

Fehrnstrom explained: “The governor disagreed with the ruling of the Court. He agreed with the dissent written by Justice Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate is not a tax.” Later, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg …

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Obamacare ruling offers good possibilities, but no substitute for a win

Generals are often accused of “fighting the last war.” After Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, conservatives are asked to pin our hopes on the notion Chief Justice John Roberts was fighting the next war.

This is a tempting proposition. There is the fact Roberts, in the main opinion of the court, and the four dissenting justices endorsed a limit to the power Congress wields under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. As this was the key judicial theory advanced by the law’s opponents, one that sought to halt a decades-long expansion of the meaning of “regulating” interstate commerce, that is no minor feat. It could even provide the starting point one day for further rollbacks of bad Commerce Clause precedent, starting with the awful 1942 Wickard decision that found a farmer affected interstate commerce by growing his own wheat.

There is also the fact the court’s majority decided the “penalty” for non-compliance with Obamacare’s …

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Obamacare upheld: What it means now and in the future

Challenging Obamacare on constitutional grounds was never what anyone on the right wanted to rely on as a Plan A. “Repeal and replace,” the mantra of conservatives since Congress approved the health-insurance overhaul in 2010, is a high bar requiring the election of a president and congressional majorities dedicated to taking Obamacare off the books and passing more sensible reforms in its place. But persuading the Supreme Court to void the law by declaring it beyond Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce, while sincerely believed to be correct, was always a higher bar to clear.

The irony is that we cleared the higher bar, and have nothing to show for it.

Do not confuse this for spin: Barack Obama and the Democrats won a clear policy victory today in seeing the court uphold their health law. There’s no denying that. Any other outcome would have been a debacle for them. This is the opposite of a debacle. That would be a victory.

That said, five of the court’s nine …

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Obamacare upheld — as the tax Obama promised us it wasn’t

UPDATE at 11:59 a.m.: The president is expected to comment on the ruling at 12:15 p.m. One wonders how his remarks will square with White House talking points from the Obamacare debate, such as:

What President Obama is proposing is not a tax, but a requirement to comply with the law.


People are required to obey the speed limit and have to pay a penalty if they get caught speeding? Does anyone consider that a tax?


People are required to have car insurance and can be fined if they are caught without it. Is that a tax?

In one of the court’s other decisions today, United States v. Alvarez, the justices upheld American’s First Amendment rights to lie about receiving military honors. In the Obamacare ruling, the majority upheld politicians’ First Amendment rights to lie about their policies. Not that anyone thought that kind of lying would ever stop.

UPDATE at 11:42 a.m.: At first blush, any cheers for the court’s declining to uphold Obamacare based on the Commerce Clause …

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2012 Tuesday: After the Obamacare ruling

The Supreme Court is due to rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in Obamacare before the end of the month. If the mandate stands, the rest of the law will, too. If it falls, however, there will also be the question of how much of the rest of the law must go with it — and, of course, what to do next.

Along the way, the issue will have an impact on the re-election chances of the man for whom the law was nicknamed. But what kind of impact, and how much?

Up to a point, I think the results have been baked into existing opinion about President Obama and Mitt Romney. The law’s supporters are largely on Obama’s side, and most of its critics are on Romney’s side. There may be some crossover voting for Obama by independents who dislike the law, and vice versa, but if so they’ll be making their decisions for reasons beyond Obamacare — which means the court’s ruling is unlikely to sway them. There may be some change in enthusiasm, but I wouldn’t expect it to be very …

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