The whining from some fast food chains that they won’t be able to afford paying for their employee’s health coverage under Obamacare has gotten a lot of press. But what is more troubling is the recent news that some big chains are concluding that the costs won’t be nearly as high as they had projected. The reason: their employees won’t be able to afford the health insurance and will instead pay a fine and remain uninsured. This fight is just the first battle in the coming war over Obamacare that will center on those who get left out. Big flaws in the bill will mean that many low-wage workers will be forced to choose between paying huge chunks of their income on premiums or on a penalty that leaves them with no coverage at all. Reformers should take note and get ready for the coming struggle.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wendy’s lowered its estimate of the cost of Obamacare for each of its restaurants by 80 percent,
The headlines – “Many States Say ‘No’ to Health Insurance Exchanges,” to take one example – make it seem like bad news. But it’s not. It is good news that half the states are refusing to have anything to do with the new health insurance marketplaces being set up under the Affordable Care Act.
One of the biggest differences between the good version of ObamaCare passed by the House and the mediocre Senate version that became law was the question of whether the federal government or states would run the new health insurance marketplaces (called “exchanges” in the law). But resistance by Republican governors is leading to implementation of the law in a way that is much closer to the vision in the House bill.
The new health marketplaces are the centerpiece of ObamaCare, the mechanisms through which people who don’t get health coverage at work but make too much for Medicaid will be able to purchase subsidized health coverage,
Four years ago, my wife and I planted an oak tree on Election Day – our Obama Oak – at the front of our house. The remarkable thing about the tree is how long it holds on to its leaves. I see it from my window, now doubled in height, still holding its crimson leaves, even after Sandy’s winds blew the leaves off of every other tree in the surrounding Taconic Hills. For me, the Obama Oak’s hardiness is a testament to perseverance of a health reform movement and a president, who together completed the 100-year quest to make health care a government-guaranteed right in the United States. With the president’s reelection, that quest is now secure and a new era in American health care begins.
I am sure that skeptics on the left will scoff at the assertion that the ACA launches a new era in health care. After all, a key to securing congressional passage of the Affordable Care Act was that the law did not upend the current system of health care financing in the United States.
Whether it was a newscaster scratching his head over yet another alleged Marilyn Monroe porn film or a conservative pundit worried about Congressman Todd Akin’s hurt feelings, people had silly things to say this past week. Here is a modest sampling.
By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld most provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In the court’s most closely watched decision in decades, the majority ruled ACA’s provision mandating that individual citizens enroll in health-care programs was a constitutional imposition of a tax. On the other hand, the justices ruled against the expansion of Medicare.
A statement issued by California’s United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals hailed the court’s decision. The statement quoted union Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Blake, RN:
“This is not just an abstract legal decision. Real lives and the heartbreak of real families will be saved because of it. We’ve got more people in California dying each year because they don’t have health insurance than any other state in the country. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the vast majority of us will be covered.”
See these stories:
New York Times (“HEALTH LAW STANDS”
Los Angeles Times (“Healthcare law upheld as a tax measure”)
Washington Post (“What the Supreme Court’s decision on the health-care law may mean for you”)
Talking Points Memo (“SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS ‘OBAMACARE’”