It is often unreliable to assume predictions about Supreme Court case outcomes will be accurate. An obvious example occurred in the 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius lawsuit – the case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) constitutionality. While the Court held that the overall ACA was constitutional, it, quite surprisingly, ruled that the Medicaid expansion mandate was not. Neither legal scholars nor those of us who heard the oral arguments predicted that outcome.
In recent weeks, Republicans have released several proposals for replacing the Affordable Care Act. Ranging from op-eds to white papers to full-fledged bills, these plans share many ideas in common for how to replace the historic health reform law. The takeaway? Republican proposals would reverse the ACA’s extraordinary progress in helping millions of consumers gain access to affordable, comprehensive, high-quality health coverage. Here are six damaging ideas from the proposals we’ve seen to date.
This week, leaders in Congress released their budget plans for FY 2016. The budget plans put forward by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) (the Senate and House budget chairmen) include massive cuts to the health care safety net and, in that respect, are similar to previous budget proposals advanced by former House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).
While finding ways to support employees’ health is a laudable goal, some employers have designed wellness programs that penalize employees for failing to meet certain health outcomes, complete certain medical screenings or questionnaires, or fulfill other requirements under the program. Developments in recent months—including lawsuits against employer-run wellness programs filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—add to concerns that these programs can violate workers’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
America is on the cusp of becoming a nation with two health care systems. This sharp division is the result of continued resistance to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it does greatest harm to residents where the resistance is greatest.
Two current developments are animating this division: One relates to state decisions about expanding Medicaid, and the other is the potential outcome of the Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell, which was brought by ACA opponents and was argued on March 4.
Ruth Petran has celebrated Mother’s Day with her children for the past 33 years, but this Mother’s Day is special. Ruth says it’s the kind of Mother’s Day that wouldn’t have been possible without the Affordable Care Act. This is the first Mother’s Day that Ruth will celebrate as a grandmother, as well as a mother. For years, Ruth worried that her daughter’s private insurance policy without maternity coverage would force her to delay having children. Thanks to the ACA’s protections that mandate maternity coverage for all consumers, Ruth’s daughter, could access the insurance she needed to start a family and give Ruth the grandchild she had been hoping for.
In 2014, health insurance companies and observers wondered how much their costs would increase as previously uninsured people gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Were the higher premiums justified?
In time for rate review season, we analyzed how much money health insurers are earning. We found that the top insurers are in a strong financial position. Consequently, there is certainly room for scrutiny as insurers propose new premium prices for 2016.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve made tremendous progress in expanding access to affordable health insurance. However, the findings of our new report show that there is still work to be done to help consumers with their out-of-pocket costs so they can get the care they need. The good news is that there are steps that health insurers and state and federal policy makers can take to address this issue.
Earlier this month Congress agreed on a budget that should worry consumer health care advocates. It proposes slashing Medicaid spending and makes other changes that threaten low-income consumers’ access to health care. Expect a busy summer as committees debate these measures.
We recently reported our findings on the potential problems posed by health insurance plans with high deductibles. Proponents of high-deductible plans assert that making consumers spend more to cover their medical care will encourage them to seek high-value care. But that isn’t possible for many consumers because they don’t have the tools or the basic understanding of how their health insurance works—both of which are necessary to make informed decisions about what care to get at what price.