Within four hours of becoming president of the United States, Donald Trump signed an executive order intended to limit immediately the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) in ways that are revolutionary.
With the stroke of a pen, the president assaulted the heart of the law that was the domestic centerpiece of his predecessor’s administration. How did this happen? How can a U.S. president, who took an oath to enforce the laws faithfully, gut one of them merely because he disagrees with it?
Here is the back story.
When ObamaCare went through Congress in 2010, all Democrats in Congress supported it and all congressional Republicans were opposed. The crux of their disagreement was the law’s command that everyone in the United States obtain and maintain health insurance -- a command that has come to be known as “the individual mandate.”
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A U.S. judge blocked on Monday health insurer Aetna Inc’s proposed $34 billion acquisition of smaller peer Humana Inc, raising the stakes for rival Anthem Inc as it battles to close a $54 billion deal to buy Cigna Corp.
The ruling is another victory for the U.S. Justice Department, whose antitrust enforcement became much more aggressive during former U.S. President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, which ended last week.
Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, and a Republican-controlled legislature are seeking to undo much of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The law reshaped the U.S. healthcare industry by mandating health insurance and creating online exchanges where consumers can shop for individual policies and get subsidies.
Aetna, Humana, Anthem and Cigna had cited Obamacare as one of the main reasons their industry needed to consolidate to cope with the costs of expanding coverage. Their shares ended trading on Monday at levels that suggested that investors continued to see little chance that the two mergers would happen.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit last July to block Aetna’s acquisition of Humana and Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna, arguing that the two deals would lead to higher prices.
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President Trump used his first executive order late Friday to immediately undercut his predecessor’s signature health care law, ordering federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare -- a move that could be aimed at rolling back the law’s so-called individual mandate.
The requirement to buy insurance is one of the more unpopular components of the law. Trump’s order stated clearly that his policy is to seek the “prompt repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, but also said his directive to agencies in the meantime is meant to minimize the economic impact of the law.
The order stated that relevant agency heads “shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”
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If you were watching the Senate’s budget debate late Wednesday night, you might be under the impression that Congress has killed coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. It hasn’t.
Yes, the Senate did vote to move ahead with repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. And, yes, as part of that vote, Republicans rejected a Democratic amendment meant to protect insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. But the reason lies with the way Republicans want to get Obamacare repeal through Congress — not with an inherent opposition to protecting sick Americans.
Before delving into budget procedure, here’s an important note: Republicans — including President-elect Donald Trump — have said they want to continue to protect those with pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act makes it against the law to deny coverage to those who are already sick. Trump told “60 Minutes” that the feature is “one of the strongest assets” of the law. House Republicans, meanwhile, say they will offer the same protection.
Continue reading at Marketwatch.com....
By Jane Chastain
The first order of business for the new Congress is the repeal of Obamacare. The American people demand it. The only people who seem to be happy with Obama’s signature achievement are those who are rich or getting it for free, or nearly free.
Dig a little deeper you will find that the bleeding-heart liberal rich with their on-call concierge physicians or so-called Cadillac plans are the only ones truly happy because they are unaffected. Those who get Obamacare free through the expansion of Medicaid, or nearly free, have found it is a trap because fewer and fewer doctors are willing to take these patients. The doctors who do require long waits. It’s call rationing which is a hallmark of socialized medicine or Obamacare-Lite, as the case may be.
For the average guy or gal, Obamacare has been a disaster. My cousin Lori is a case in point. As an adjunct college professor she was informed that she would no longer be eligible for company health benefits for 2017. The college then offered her the ability to self-pay through Obamacare.
In Lori’s state, Kansas, she discovered that she would have to shell out $5,000 dollars for the privilege of paying another $5,000 in deductibles for a policy that offered everything from soup to nuts — abortions to psychiatric care, etc. — assuming she got past the additional $10,000 initial expense. And they had the nerve to call it The Affordable Care Act! That means well checkups, prescriptions, doctor visits, tests, etc would be on her dime. For most middle class workers, this makes no sense.
Read the complete editorial at JaneChastain.com....
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