Pruitt v. Burwell: IRS’s Illegal ObamaCare Taxes/Spending Suffer Another Defeat In Federal Court

September 30, 2014

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma handed the Obama administration another – and a much harsher — defeat in one of four lawsuits challenging the IRS’s attempt to implement ObamaCare’s major taxing and spending provisions where the law does not authorize them. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides that its subsidies for private health insurance, its employer mandate, and to a large extent its individual mandate only take effect within a state if the state establishes a health insurance “Exchange.” Two-thirds 36 of the states declined to establish Exchanges, which should have freed more than 50 million Americans from those taxes. Instead, the Obama administration decided to implement those taxes and expenditures in those 36 states anyway. Today’s ruling was in Pruitt v. Burwell, a case brought by Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt.

via Pruitt v. Burwell: IRS’s Illegal ObamaCare Taxes/Spending Suffer Another Defeat In Federal Court.

Hundreds of Thousands Face Health Law Subsidy Deadline – WSJ

September 30, 2014

In addition to the roughly 300,000 people affected by the income verification, another 115,000 people may lose coverage on Tuesday because they didn’t provide requested documents verifying their citizenship or immigration status by a Sept. 5 federal deadline.

Collectively, more than 400,000 people who enrolled in health plans using have data-matching problems regarding their income or citizenship and immigration status.”There are a lot of people counting on their refund to pay for Christmas charges, and instead they’ll be paying back their tax credit,” said Timothy Jost, a professor of health law at Washington and Lee University.

via Hundreds of Thousands Face Health Law Subsidy Deadline – WSJ.

Open Payments – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

September 30, 2014

Sometimes, doctors and hospitals have financial relationships with health care manufacturing companies. These relationships can include money for research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or travel. The Social Security Act requires CMS to collect information from applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations GPOs in order to report information about their financial relationships with physicians and hospitals. Open Payments is the federally run program that collects the information about these financial relationships and makes it available to you.

via Open Payments – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Medical Devices Lack Safety Evidence, Study Finds | National Center For Health Research

September 30, 2014

The majority of moderate- to high-risk medical devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lack publicly available scientific evidence to verify their safety and effectiveness despite requirements in the law, according to a study released Monday.Researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine that 42 of 50 selected medical devices cleared by the FDA over five years lacked such data, despite a 1990 law calling for sufficient detail to justify their FDA clearance. The law calls for public data about studies, which may include clinical studies, involving human patients.

via Medical Devices Lack Safety Evidence, Study Finds | National Center For Health Research.

Andrew G. Biggs and Sylvester J. Schieber: The Imaginary Retirement-Income Crisis – WSJ

September 30, 2014

In a 2013 study the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development compared the incomes of a country’s retirees with the average income in that country. The results are surprising. Despite a supposedly stingy Social Security program and ineffective retirement-savings vehicles, the average U.S. retiree has an income equal to 92% of the average American income, handily outpacing the Scandinavian countries 81%, Germany 85%, Belgium 77% and many others.

In dollar terms, America’s retirement incomes are 53% above the OECD average, second highest in the world. If there’s a crisis in the U.S., the rest of the developed world must be a virtual retirement hellhole. No one truly believes that.

via Andrew G. Biggs and Sylvester J. Schieber: The Imaginary Retirement-Income Crisis – WSJ.

Why Does Planned Parenthood Oppose Over-The-Counter Birth Control? Because They’d Make Less Money

September 30, 2014

Planned Parenthood opposes making some forms of routine birth controls available over-the-counter. For an organization that claims to be dedicated to reproductive health and access to such services, this stance on the deregulation of common, safe, and effective contraceptives seems illogical.  It is.

Over-the-counter birth control would offer new options to women.  Consumers would be able to see on the shelf the different products that are available, compare prices, and ultimately select the option that provides them with the best value, just as they choose products in other markets.  Providers would truly have to compete for women’s business, which would lead to lower prices, more innovation, and better products.  What’s not to like?

via Why Does Planned Parenthood Oppose Over-The-Counter Birth Control? Because They’d Make Less Money.

Health-Law Coverage Expansion Gets Tougher – WSJ

September 29, 2014

About five million people who got coverage through will get letters as soon as next month telling them their coverage will be renewed automatically, but that they should return to the site if they want to change it. They will also get letters from their insurers telling them about premiums for next year, though those won’t arrive until November in most states.

via Health-Law Coverage Expansion Gets Tougher – WSJ.

Costs Can Go Up Fast When E.R. Is in Network but the Doctors Are Not –

September 29, 2014

When legislators in Texas demanded some data from insurers last year, they learned that up to half of the hospitals that participated with UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Blue Cross-Blue Shield — Texas’s three biggest insurers — had no in-network emergency room doctors.

Out-of-network payments to emergency room physicians accounted for 40 to 70 percent of the money spent on emergency care at in-network hospitals, researchers with the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin found.

“It’s very common and there’s little consumers can do to prevent it and protect themselves — it’s a roll of the dice,” said Stacey Pogue, a senior policy analyst with the nonpartisan center and an author of the study.

via Costs Can Go Up Fast When E.R. Is in Network but the Doctors Are Not –

The Halbig Subpoena

September 29, 2014

But congressional investigators whom the agencies permitted to review the documents behind closed doors, and to interview the Treasury/IRS staff who wrote the challenged regulation, issued a report detailing troubling aspects of how the IRS developed the regulation.

According to investigators, prior to March 2011, the IRS’s draft regulations included the statutory requirement that subsidy recipients enroll in coverage through an Exchange “established by the State.” The employer and individual mandates are tied to the availability of the subsidies. In March 2011, however, IRS officials read a news article about how ObamaCare opponents were considering a constitutional challenge based on the fact that the PPACA offers subsidies only in states that establish Exchanges. That statutory requirement disappeared from the draft regulations at the same time IRS officials learned that opponents might challenge that feature of the law in court.

via The Halbig Subpoena.

The Rubes’ Revenge | The Weekly Standard

September 28, 2014

We got Obamacare because 12 Senate Democrats from states that voted for John McCain, and whose constituents overwhelmingly opposed Obamacare, nevertheless backed the president on this most important issue. These 12 had won election at various points by distancing themselves from the more leftist national Democratic party. But when national Democrats needed their votes, they fell into line.

via The Rubes’ Revenge | The Weekly Standard.