The Hill reported:
The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.
As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.
Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.
The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.
The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.
“I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September,” one consultant in the health insurance industry said. “Not when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”
The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday both said they had no updates to announce.
Late last year, the administration was grappling with the beleaguered HealthCare.gov and millions of canceled health plans in the individual market.
Emanuel penned this at The New Republic:
Americans hate health insurance companies. They are easy targets for everyone to beat up on. When premiums go up, we blame insurance companies; we do not blame the underlying hospitals or physicians who charge high prices that drive up insurance costs. When people with cancer, heart attacks, or other diseases are denied insurance, we blame insurance companies; we do not blame the underlying voluntary insurance market that necessitates underwriting. When our wish for a new high-priced drug is denied, we blame insurance companies; we do not blame drug companies that set the price at over $100,000. Politicians can always elicit an applause by attacking the health insurance companies, reinforcing this bad-guy image of insurance companies.
This is not to say that insurance companies are angels, but they are also not the devil incarnate. A lot of what people consider to be their bad behavior is the inevitable result of the way the health care system is structured and how it incentivizes and forces certain behaviors.
The good news is you won’t have insurance companies to kick around much longer. The system is changing. As a result, insurance companies as they are now will be going away. Indeed, they are already evolving. For the next few years insurance companies will both continue to provide services to employers and, increasingly, compete against each other in the health insurance exchanges. In that role they will put together networks of physicians and hospitals and other services and set a premium. But because of health care reform, new actors will force insurance companies to evolve or become extinct…
…In January 2012 Jeffrey Liebman and I predicted in The New York Times the end of health insurance companies by 2020. We might have been a bit optimistic—or provocative. But it is certain they will end. Insurance companies will largely cease to be the middle man—taking premiums, paying providers, saying no to consumers, and making a profit—that we blame. Whether we will come to love them is another matter. That depends on how well they actually care for patients.
President Barack Obama said that racial tensions may have softened his popularity among white voters within the last two years, according to a story posted on the New Yorker magazine’s website today.
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president,” Obama said in the article by David Remnick, appearing in the magazine’s Jan. 27 edition.
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” Obama said in his most direct comments on how race has affected his political standing since he’s been in office.
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to support legislation that would require Americans to be notified of security breaches under Obamacare.
122 Democrats voted against the bill.
Read more here.
The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance mandate requires any employer with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance to its workers. While the negative impact on small businesses is well known, a more sinister side effect of the implemented plan is just surfacing – the potential end to volunteer firefighters.
According to the AP, volunteer firefighter groups across the country often list their volunteers as employees for tax purposes, even when they are not paid. The job may not offer a salary, but it often offers perks like using the firehouse gym or contributing to a retirement plan. It’s the most that many of these organizations can do to incentivize individuals to work as firefighters in places where the state’s firefighter forces may not be enough to keep residents safe.
Now groups that can’t afford to pay for salaries for their volunteers might be expected to buy them all health insurance. Due to the nature of the trade, it is feasible that many volunteers go in and out of the league, raising the number on duty at any given time artificially for government purposes. If the firefighter leagues cannot pay for health insurance for volunteers, they will be forced to close down. There is no exception written into the Obamacare legislation for volunteer groups permitted to list volunteers on their taxes.
Read more here.