Affordable Care Act

The Economic Benefits And Perils Of Adopting Medicaid Expansion

Jun 30, 2020
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The campaigns on both sides of State Question 802 have made numerous claims about the potential benefits and perils of Medicaid expansion, which is being voted on today.

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Campaign signs are appearing along roadways and advertisements are popping up on screens of all kinds as voters prepare to decide on expanding Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma. The June 30th election for State Question 802 was a long time coming.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

A closely divided Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case testing Trump administration rules that cut back on access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The difficulty of the issues was illustrated by the fact that the arguments lasted 49 minutes longer than scheduled.

The U.S. Supreme Court has told the federal government that it has to pay $12 billion to insurance companies, money that was promised in the Affordable Care Act as part of the start-up costs of Obamacare in the first three years of its existence.

The law, as enacted, promised to limit profits and losses for insurance companies in the first three years of the Obamacare program. Some companies made more money than allowed by the formula, and had to pay some back to the government, and other companies lost money and were owed money by the government under the formula.

Updated at 8:28 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court panel in New Orleans has dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act, agreeing with a lower-court judge that the portion of the health law requiring most people to have coverage is unconstitutional now that Congress has eliminated the tax penalty that was intended to enforce it.

But it is sending the case back to the lower court to decide how much of the rest of the law can stand in light of that ruling.

Congress is set to pass a $1.4 trillion spending package this week, which President Trump has said he'll sign. The legislation includes policy changes and funding increases that public health advocates are celebrating, as well as the permanent repeal of three key taxes that were designed to pay for Obamacare — a win for industry groups.

Sunday was supposed to be the final deadline to enroll in health coverage for 2020 on HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace for buying individual health insurance. But website glitches — that may have caused enrollment problems — prompted an outcry, and the government restarted enrollment Monday.

Any day now, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could rule that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

At least it seemed that two of the three appeals court judges were leaning that way during oral arguments in the case, State of Texas v. USA, in July.

The U.S. Supreme Court examined Obamacare for the fifth time on Tuesday, only this time the justices cast their skeptical gaze on Republican efforts to hobble the law.

Enacted by a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010, the Affordable Care Act promised to partially reimburse insurers if they lost money by covering people with preexisting conditions. The law said that the government "shall" make these payments. But in 2015, Republicans, by then in control of both houses of Congress, attached riders to appropriations bills barring the use of the money for the promised payments.

It was a moment of genuine bipartisanship at the House Ways and Means Committee in October, as Democratic and Republican sponsors alike praised a bill called the "Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2019."

The bill, approved by the panel on a voice vote, would allow consumers to use their tax-free flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts to pay for over-the-counter medications and women's menstrual products.

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