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Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies - Health Care Edge

Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies

By Sam Baker, Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger

 

OBAMACARE SUBSIDIES UPHELD AGAIN: The White House won another round late yesterday in the legal battle over Obamacare's insurance subsidies. A federal court in Virginia dismissed a lawsuit that aimed to dismantle the subsidies in federally run exchanges, citing the "lack of any support in the legislative history of the ACA" to support the challengers' argument. It's the second district court to rule against conservative advocates who say the law only intended to make subsidies available in state-run exchanges. The first decision has already been appealed, and also yesterday, congressional Democrats filed a brief in that case defending subsidies in all 50 states. Read the brief here, and more background on the cases here.

Top Health Care News

OBAMA'S VOTE-GETTING TACTICS STRUGGLE TO FIND THE UNINSURED: "By the end of her shift, Ms. Morwin had knocked on 115 doors and talked to 16 people about enrolling. Not one of them signed up." (Michael D. Shear, New York Times)

ARKANSAS AT STANDSTILL OVER MEDICAID EXPANSION PLAN: Following a vote today that narrowly failed to pass, the House will continue voting this week to renew funding for the state's "private option" plan. (Sophie Novack, National Journal)

 
  • The bill being considered includes several amendments to make it more palatable to those opposed to the private option. (David Ramsey, Arkansas Times)

  • However, the amendments--largely championed by Rep. Nate Bell--only managed to flip one vote Tuesday: his own. Yet Bell remains optimistic about the bill's prospects this week. (David Ramsey, Arkansas Times)

  • Republican House Speaker Davy Carter remains optimistic as well: "I'm 100 percent confident that bill will pass. How many times we have to vote, I'm not sure." (David Ramsey, Arkansas Times)

CBO REPORTS PUT DEMOCRATS ON THE DEFENSIVE: "As with Obamacare, while Democrats can emphasize the positives in the CBO report on the minimum wage—and there are plenty—it can be a hard sell over the "job-killer" moniker. (Catherine Hollander and Sarah Mimms, National Journal)

 

Politics

BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS CONCERNED ABOUT MEDICARE ADVANTAGE CUTS: Just days away from the release of proposed payment rates, some 40 senators urged the Obama administration to maintain reimbursement levels for physicians who provide services to Medicare beneficiaries. (Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News)

SEBELIUS: 'ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE' OF JOB LOSSES UNDER OBAMACARE: "'There is absolutely no evidence -- and every economist will tell you this -- that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act,' Sebelius said in Orlando, according to video from WESH-TV. Sebelius added: 'I know that's a popular myth that continues to be repeated, but it just is not accurate.'" (Aaron Blake, Washington Post)

Consumers

FACES OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: HEALTH LAW'S IMPACT HAS ONLY BEGUN: The Wall Street Journal is launching a yearlong series looking at Americans and their experience with the health law's new insurance. The first edition is a snapshot of insurers seeking healthy enrollees, doctors educating new patients, and employers wrestling with added costs. (Anna Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal)

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CARROTS TO MAKE THE NEWLY INSURED USE COVERAGE: Humana is waiving fees for enrollees who see a doctor by the end of June for a non-preventive visit. (Kyle Cheney, Politico)

DOCTOR RATINGS PLAY A ROLE IN PATIENT CHOICE: Nearly three out of five people said a physician's rating is a factor when choosing a doctor, according to a new survey. (David Pittman, MedPage Today)

ELUSIVE GOAL: A TRANSPARENT PRICE LIST FOR HEALTH CARE: Need a colonoscopy? It's not as easy as when you need a coffee maker and can shop-and-compare prices on the internet. (Eric Whitney, National Public Radio)

States

FOUR MONTHS LATE, OREGON IS FINALLY ALLOWING SOME TO ENROLL ONLINE: The state is allowing insurance agents and community organizations to get on its Affordable Care Act health exchange website to sign-up residents. (Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press)

Insurers

KAISER PERMANENTE BOARD MEMBER UNDER FIRE FOR PERCEIVED CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: Dr. Christine Cassel is the CEO of the National Quality Forum. But she's also on the board of Kaiser and Premier, members of the quality forum. Kaiser and Premier both have stakes in the quality benchmarks created by the forum and used to compensate hospitals. (Chris Rauber, San Francisco Business Times)

Drugs

WHY LIFE-SAVING DRUGS HAVEN'T ENDED AIDS IN AMERICA: Meet the team that's taking on HIV in Miami's hardest hit neighborhoods. (Sophie Quinton, National Journal)

Happening Today

LEGISLATURE TO VOTE ON ARKANSAS 'PRIVATE OPTION': The state Senate and House are expected to vote on the bill to renew funding for Arkansas' version of Medicaid expansion, after it fell five votes short of passage in the House Tuesday.

BRIEFING ON CALIFORNIA'S IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: The Kaiser Family Foundation is holding a noon press briefing with California officials and insurance representatives to discuss the state's health law rollout.

BRIEFING ON INVOLVING CLINICIANS IN PAYMENT AND DELIVERY REFORM: The Brookings Institution holds a meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. about including doctors in the policy-making process.

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