Thank You, Justice Roberts, For Saving Our Butts

If House Speaker John Boehner decided to express his gratitude for the King v. Burwell ruling – and he should – it might sound like this.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts provided a truthful assessment of what would happen to the health insurance marketplace if the requirement to purchase insurance and the federal subsidies to help people afford coverage were declared unlawful in all but a few states. It would collapse.

Because of the hyper

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Industry Lobbies Hard to Snuff Out Tax on Medical Devices

Funds go to support Affordable Health Care Act.

If there ever was a piece of legislation influenced by campaign contributions and lobbyists, the bill to repeal a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers, which the House passed last Thursday, would be it.

Forty-six Democrats joined 234 Republicans to repeal the tax, which was authorized by the Affordable Care Act as one of the ways to pay for the expansion of health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. The

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Insurers Backed Obamacare, Then Undermined It. Now They’re Profiting From It

Playing all sides of the street on Obamacare.

Anyone who still thinks the Affordable Care Act was a “government takeover of health care” should consider this headline from the news pages of last Thursday’s Investor’s Business Daily:

UnitedHealth Profit Soars On Obamacare, Optum—April 16, 2015

That’s from a Wall Street publication whose editorial writers have rarely missed an opportunity to bash the health care reform law. Here are a few other headlines, these from IBD’s editorial page, just

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Elimination of ‘Public Option’ Threw Consumers to the Insurance Wolves

Big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman.

When members of Congress caved to demands from the insurance industry and ditched their plan to establish a “public option” health plan, the lawmakers  also ditched one of their favorite talking points, that a government-run plan was necessary to “keep insurers honest.”

Getting rid of a government-run insurance option was the industry’s top objective during the health care reform debate. Private insurers set out to persuade President Obama

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Republican ‘Alternative’ to Obamacare Really no Alternative at All

Skeletal proposal would reduce consumer protections.

We got a glimpse last week of what would happen to our health care system if Republicans increase their control of Congress and win the White House in 2016.

Gone would be the part of Obamacare that Americans tell pollsters they don’t like: the requirement that they enroll in some kind of health plan or pay a penalty that grows more severe every year. In addition, the GOP would get rid of the provision

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Erasing the ‘Obama’ From Obamacare

Republicans hell bent on ‘fixing’ Obama’s signature achievement really care about a single ‘tweak’: erasing the President’s signature.

Even though Republicans will soon control both houses of Congress, don’t expect that Obamacare will go away. You can expect, though, that it will be tweaked. And I’m betting that when all is said and done, GOP Congressional leaders will declare victory, and even conservatives will come to accept it.

Even though Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will replace Harry Reid of

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Docs, Drug Companies, Insurers Drive Up Medicare Costs

Obamacare forced cuts at hospitals, but not for other segments of industry.

As one of an estimated 78 million baby boomers in this country, I was delighted to hear that Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund won’t run out of money until 2030 — 13 years later than projected in 2009, the year before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act.

While it’s uncertain how much of that good news can be attributed to the health care law, some of the provisions aimed

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Praise for UK-Style Health System Vindicates Spurned Nominee

Former Medicare-Medicaid chief fan of single-payer option.

In April 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Donald Berwick, a widely respected physician and health policy expert, to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Despite having broad support among other health care leaders and a long history of patient advocacy, most Republican senators were adamantly opposed to having Berwick in charge of one of the country’s largest government agencies.

Obama decided against putting Berwick through the confirmation process after it

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Shameful Coverage of Obamacare’s Real Impacts

Journalism that focuses on political sniping does public a disservice.

If you read my column last week about a Senate hearing that showed how Obamacare has affected Americans, you might have wondered if I was in the same room with reporters who presumably covered the event.

The disparity goes a long way toward explaining why so many of us are clueless about the actual impact the law is having on our lives.

The title of the May 21 Senate

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Forcing Health Insurers to Do What’s Right

Obamacare’s ‘medical loss ratio’ rule has benefited consumers.

The first time I blew the whistle on health insurance companies was during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in June 2009. Last Wednesday, almost five years later, I appeared before that committee again to give a progress report on how Americans have been benefiting since Congress enacted reforms in 2010 that changed the way insurance companies operate.

Among the practices I brought to the panel’s attention back in 2009 were those insurers

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