ADF

Tag Archives: obamacare

Lanhee Chen: Obamacare in the Courts (Again)

Over twenty states filed a lawsuit last week targeted squarely at the heart of Obamacare. The battle is being led by the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton. He argues that because Congress—in the tax reform bill passed into law late last year—effectively ended Obamacare’s requirement that people buy health insurance, the rest of the law cannot stand.

The lawsuit poses no immediate threat to Obamacare.  But if it makes its way to the Supreme Court—as four other cases on the law already have—the law could be in jeopardy, especially if one of the liberal justices on the Court steps aside soon and President Trump gets the opportunity to name a replacement.

This all reminds us of just how unpopular Obamacare continues to be.

If and until the courts step in, it’s still up to Congress and the Trump Administration to deal a decisive blow to Obamacare.

Read More »

Lanhee Chen: Healthcare and the 2018 Agenda

Tax Reform

As the Republican-led Congress plans the 2018 legislative agenda, healthcare needs to continue to be a top priority.

 

Health premiums are soaring, and millions of people have little or no choice of health insurance. Millions of people who once could afford coverage no longer can, and many find that their health insurance premiums cost more than their mortgage or rent payments.

 

In a new Associated Press-NORC poll, nearly half of Americans said health care is their primary concern for 2018, topping taxes, immigration, education, and the environment by more than 15 percent.

 

Obamacare has failed miserably in fulfilling the last administration’s promise to cut health costs. The typical American worker now must devote roughly twice as many work hours to cover health costs as to pay for food.

 

Individuals need to be empowered with greater flexibility and choice. And states are better equipped than Washington to oversee their health insurance markets. This requires legislative action from Congress for these new and better choices.

Read More »

Lanhee Chen: After Tax Reform: Return to Health Care

Tax Reform

Tax reform legislation signed into law by President Trump in December, which will lower taxes for most Americans this year, unfortunately did nothing to stop billions of dollars in new taxes under Obamacare from hitting millions of Americans in the wallet.

One example is the Obamacare health insurance tax, which is being paid for directly by consumers, in the form of higher premiums. So millions of us will take a direct hit, even though most people who will be paying for the tax increase don’t even realize it.

Over the next 10 years, individual market beneficiaries will pay over $2,000 more in premiums; families getting their coverage through small employers will pay over $6,000 more; and Medicare Advantage members will pay over $3,000 more.

Although Republicans did not create ObamaCare, they are in a golden position to end this tax and help bring down premiums. A failure to do so may hurt congressional Republicans when they come before the voters in this November’s midterm elections.

And that’s a risk they shouldn’t take.

Read More »

A Cancer Growing on Congress

Compromise

There is a cancer growing on Congress.  It is the curse of party-line voting.  The biggest legislation of the Trump administration is the tax bill, passed with only Republican votes.  And the biggest of the Obama administration:  Obamacare, again passed on a party-line vote with only Democrats.

Party-line voting has grown dramatically in the last 40 years.  In the 1970s, party unity voting was around 60 percent but today it is 90 percent.  Sadly it has become the new normal.

Such partisanship is cancerous because it cuts out all the people and ideas of one political party. And it leads to rushed votes, without the expected give and take and amendments of a quality legislative process. It also leads to weak laws because what can be passed by one party’s vote can be undone later by the other party’s vote.

This is no way to run a government.  I vote for more collaboration and less hyper-partisanship in 2018.

Read More »

Lanhee Chen: Confirm Azar as New Secretary for Health and Human Services

Tax Reform

President Trump has nominated Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

It’s an important job, as the future of Obamacare hangs in the balance and Republicans continue to express their desire to repeal and replace the law.

Azar is highly qualified for the post: He served as the number two official at the department—and its chief counsel—during the George W. Bush Administration. He was a law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia. And he’s been a senior executive at one of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Some Democrats have suggested that this private sector experience makes Azar the wrong person to help conquer the opioid crisis and to lower drug costs. But they’re wrong. It’s precisely his experience inside the industry that helps him to better understand how we can address these pressing concerns. It’s no exaggeration to say that few people understand the health care policy environment better than Azar.

The Senate is now considering his nomination. Here’s to hoping that they move quickly to confirm Azar, so he can get to work as soon as possible.

Read More »

Lanhee Chen: Congress Should Give Opportunity To The Laboratories Of Democracy

Tax Reform

A consensus is emerging on Capitol Hill about the need to fund Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies, which help working-class Americans buy health insurance. The question is what fundamental reforms conservatives should get in return.

In my view, they should focus on giving states greater flexibility to design their own health reforms. There’s actually a part of Obamacare that allows states to receive federal money in a lump sum and to waive or revise many of Obamacare’s most noteworthy provisions, including its mandates, the structure and administration of subsidies provided by it and covered benefits . Conservatives should focus on making it easier for states to qualify for these waivers, so we can move away from the one-size-fits-all system that Obamacare created.

We are on the cusp of a rare health care bipartisan agreement. Still, conservatives will (and should) insist on fundamental changes to Obamacare as part of the deal. In so doing, they should aim for an approach that will truly give more states the opportunity to become what Justice Louis Brandeis once called “the laboratories of democracy.”

Read More »

Lanhee Chen: One More Opportunity For Health Care Reform

Tax Reform

After several unsuccessful attempts this year, Republicans have one last chance to deliver on their seven-year old promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Legislation recently introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller and Ron Johnson eliminates some of ObamaCare’s most unpopular provisions and enacts reforms that will help to lower costs, expand choices, promote federal fiscal responsibility, and put power back in the hands of states and consumers.

The Graham-Cassidy bill’s biggest strength is its adherence to the idea that states are uniquely equipped to design and implement the health care reforms that best suit their residents. It collapses the Obamacare federal funding into a single block grant, which states can use for a wide variety of health reforms.

Graham-Cassidy is not a perfect proposal. But Republicans no longer have the luxury of waiting for perfect. The legislation before them is the most thoughtful and conservative health reform plan they have encountered in their years-long effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Now, they must act quickly to pass it and finally get the job done.

Read More »