Supreme Court will decide, again, on Obamacare contraceptive mandate

Supreme Court Justices Elana Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor

The Supreme Court announced that it will hear seven challenges, consolidated into one, of non-profit religious organizations which believe that sending a letter opting out of contraceptive coverage for their employees violates their religious beliefs.

Sixteen months after ruling narrowly that private companies with religious objections cannot be forced to pay for employees’ contraceptives, the high court has been met with a chorus of cries from religious charities, schools and hospitals seeking to get out of the birth control business altogether.
The new challenge asks the justices to overturn federal appeals court decisions that would force the non-profit groups to take action in order to opt out of the requirement, rather than receiving the blanket exclusion granted churches and other solely religious institutions.

On one hand, the court has saved Obamacare from legal destruction twice, in 2012 and again this year. But it ruled last year that closely-held corporations,

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The most popular health plans? Socialist ones.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCT 22, 2009: Health-care reform advocates march in the streets outside of a meeting of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry trade group.

The latest Republican line about Obamacare, given its success in getting a helluva lot of people health insurance, is that it doesn’t count because it’s government coverage. An example, former House Speaker John Boehner saying “[g]iving people Medicaid insurance is almost like giving them nothing, because you can’t find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients.”
Well look what’s the third most popular healthcare system in the country:

Chart showing popularity of health plans.

That’s the latest Gallup survey on health insurance satisfaction. Veterans and military members give their health care 78 percent approval, Medicare enrollees 77 percent, and Medicaid enrollees 57 percent.

Americans who get their health insurance through government-sponsored or assisted plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid or veterans insurance, are more likely to be satisfied with the way the healthcare system is working for them than those who have employer-paid insurance or who pay for insurance themselves. There may be a number

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Matt Bevin already backing down on pledge to repeal Obamacare

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin (R-KY) speaks to a gathering at FreePAC Kentucky in Louisville, Kentucky, April 5, 2014.  Picture taken April 5, 2014. The conservative Tea Party movement is supporting Bevin, but they face a tough campaigner in Republican

Governor-elect Matt Bevin

All eyes are on Matt Bevin, the tea party Republican who, of course, has made Obamacare repeal a centerpiece of his various runs for higher office. Now that he’s secured one—the Kentucky governor’s seat—he’s discovered it’s not so easy. That’s exactly what all Republicans have discovered since the Supreme Court burst their bubble and refused to rule the entire law unconstitutional. So Bevin is going to be a case study of what a Republican executive faces when the reality of not being able to keep a promise made to the rabid base kicks in.

Even before the votes were cast, Bevin had started hedging his repeal bet, saying he would not take coverage away from people who have it. He can give the health law in his state a more conservative veneer. But he can’t scrap it completely. […]
That doesn’t mean foes of Obamacare aren’t buoyed

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CDC: Uninsured rate falls to lowest ever

Jumaane Cook (bottom R), age 5, of Cleveland, Ohio stands with his father James Cook (obscured, holding sign at R) as they join Obamacare supporters demonstrating at the Supreme Court building in Washington March 4, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court will consi

Yep. Obamacare just keeps on not failing.

The new data comes from the National Health Interview Survey, which the CDC and the Census Bureau have been conducting for more than 50 years. The questions have changed over the years, but the answers were always the same: More than 10% of respondents, and sometimes as many as 18% of Americans, have reported that they’ve been uninsured. […]
And as predicted a few months ago, our national uninsured rate will only keep falling as access to health insurance keeps going up. CDC’s data is a good barometer of that momentum. The agency releases new numbers every quarter, and each iteration has shown a steady decline in the uninsured rate, from 12.2% a year ago, to 9.2% earlier this year, and now to 9.0% as of June.

That looks a little like Jeb! Bush’s poll numbers, when you

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Matt Bevin’s hard choice, killing hundreds of Kentuckians or his political future

Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Matt Bevin arrives at Lexington Airport for a campaign stop in Lexington, Kentucky, May 19, 2014. Bevin has a full day of campaigning scheduled in advance of tomorrow's Republican primary against Senate Minority Le

Republicans see Matt Bevins’ win in Kentucky as an anti-Obamacare mandate, despite the fact that polls have shown that Kentuckians like their own version of it—Kynect—that Bevins promised to undo if elected, and therefore might not have been voting on that issue. That, and the prospect of more than 400,000 people being kicked out of their healthcare, played into why Bevins backpedaled on his initial promises of total repeal as the campaign wore on. But he’s not going to be let off the hook so easily by fellow Republicans.

“(Bevin) is the one who has received the mandate here. We have to do something different,” said Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a doctor who opposes the Affordable Care Act. “The legislature and the governor need to follow through. It’s clear on what voters are telling us they want to do.”

Some Republicans are insisting on claiming that mandate,

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Has Kentucky Governor-elect Matt Bevin over-promised on Obamacare repeal?

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin (R-KY) speaks to a gathering at FreePAC Kentucky in Louisville, Kentucky, April 5, 2014.  Picture taken April 5, 2014. The conservative Tea Party movement is supporting Bevin, but they face a tough campaigner in Republican

Extremist Republican Matt Bevin first made waves in a primary against Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell last year by running far to McConnell’s right. Among his promises: Obamacare repeal. That was also one of his messages in this governor’s race. Back in February, he said he would “absolutely” end Medicaid expansion. “No question about it,” he said. “I would reverse that immediately.” But the reality is that more than 400,000 people would be kicked off of Medicaid. Additionally, the state is under contract with the federal government to keep the Medicaid expansion, and Kentucky’s version of it—known as Kynect—is pretty popular in the state. So in recent months, Bevin has softened that stance.

“I plan to use the open enrollment period in 2016 to transition people from the state-level exchange to the federal exchange,” Bevin told the Cincinnati Enquirer last week. “Once all are transitioned, I would shut down the

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Let’s recap hilariously wrong Republican predictions about Obamacare

Cathey Park of Cambridge, Massachusetts shows her cast signed by U.S. President Barack Obama after he spoke about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston October 30, 2013. The writing on the cast reads,

In light of the latest GOP proclamation of Obamacare DOOOM, why don’t we take a look back at a handful of their past predictions, just to remind us how wrong these people constantly are?
John Boehner, 1/6/2011:

When you step back and look at the totality of this, I don’t think it’s ever going to work.

Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 11/13/2013:

In the next 90 days, the Obama administration will have to declare victory and then abandon most of Obamacare. The legislation defies the laws of physics.

Bill Kristol, 11/3/2013:

Obamacare is failing and will fail. And I’m very much looking forward to being on this show [Meet the Press] with [David Axelrod] in January of 2017 when finally all of Obamacare is repealed.”

Rep. Paul Broun, 10/07/2013:

America is going to be destroyed by Obamacare, so whatever deal is put together must at

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‘Top’ Republican: This time Obamacare is really going to collapse

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) talks to the media after a weekly Senate caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4TQMT

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) probably talking about Obamacare’s demise. Again.

This is it, guys. This time Obamacare really is going to collapse under its own weight. Sure, Republicans have said that every year, but this time it’s really going to happen. So says Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), “the No. 4 Senate Republican.”

“Unless something dramatic happens, this may be the year of the health care law’s collapse,” Barrasso wrote Monday in a Washington Times op-ed. “Prices keep rising and service keeps fading. It should not surprise the administration that people are not signing up.” The senator said premiums are rising even as the choices of doctors and insurance plans are shrinking.
“As people log on to the government exchanges this year, they will see the telltale signs of Obamacare’s impending failure,” he adds. “These include: costs soaring, cancellations mounting, and choices disappearing.”

Uh-huh. Yes, we’ve heard that

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Montana becomes 30th state to expand Medicaid

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

The Obama administration has given final approval to Montana’s Medicaid expansion waiver, clearing the state to move ahead and expand coverage to as many as 70,000 Montanans. The plan includes a requirement that beneficiaries pay premiums that amount to 2 percent of their income, and that provision required federal government sign-off.

Gov. Steve Bullock announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ approval of the federal waiver needed for state officials to start enrollment this fall and begin coverage on Jan. 1. […]
Bullock’s original expansion plan stalled in this year’s legislative session and was replaced by a compromise bill sponsored by Sen. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls.

Lawmakers passed that measure, but the state needed a waiver by the federal government because of the changes, such as charging premiums and outsourcing the program’s administration to a third party.

The plan also requires that patients make the

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Got (or need) Obamacare? Once again, you need to shop around

Screenshot of banner on for 2016

In its third year of implementation, Obamacare enrollments haven’t yet shaken out to a stable and predictable pattern. It’s the same in the health insurance market as a whole, but people pay a lot more attention to this one, so you’re hearing more about it. The first rush of enrollments by the most informed and the most in need of insurance was completed in the first two rounds, so enrollments will be down this time. For those enrolling for the first time—and re-enrolling—Jonathon Cohn has an overview of the things to know going in.
The first thing is don’t necessarily assume that premiums are going to be really high based on what you’re hearing in the news. Premiums are going to be all over the place, depending on where you live and what plans you have available to you and your individual circumstances. While overall “the cost of the cheapest

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Obamacare faces enrollment challenges in its third year

A supporter of the Affordable Care Act celebrates after the Supreme Court up held the law in the 6-3 vote at the Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTR4YXO1

The third open enrollment period for Obamacare opened Sunday, with the Obama administration setting low expectations for enrollment growth. Politico profiles a town in Texas that demonstrates some of the challenges the administration faces in growing enrollment now that the law is in its third year of implementation.

In rural Borden County, 12 people signed up for Obamacare this year.
Livid over the government telling them they must buy something and loath to take anything that looks like a “handout, the uninsured here are likely to stay that way. As Obamacare’s third open enrollment season began Sunday, this rock-solid conservative community of about 650 people offers a window into the challenges health law advocates face to expand coverage around the country. […]

Low awareness about the benefits remains a challenge nationwide; a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey found that 59 percent of uninsured people lack knowledge about the tax

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‘Death by poverty’ in Idaho

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS)   - RTX17Z1K

This one’s on you, Chief Justice Roberts.

Idaho is one of the red states that refused Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 that saved the law as a whole, but further politicized Medicaid and condemned millions of people to being without health insurance—and condemned some to death. Idahoan Jenny Steinke is dead, killed by an asthma attack, but more specifically killed by the Republican party. Steinke died on September 1, the day her husband’s brand new insurance from the only job either of them has had that offered benefits kicked in. Steinke had been self-treating her asthma buy getting short-acting inhalers when she could from a community health clinic, and by buying extra short-acting inhalers from friends. Because she wasn’t being treated regularly for her asthma, here’s what she didn’t know.

“Several times a week I see people who have delayed medical care

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What’s the truth about rate increases under Obamacare? It’s complicated.

Six-month-old Hazel Garcia chews a pamphlet at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, California March 27, 2014. More than 6 million people have now signed up for private insurance plans under President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law know

Obamacare premium rates are skyrocketing! Obamacare premium rates decrease! So which is it? That depends on where you live and what plan you’re on. But as Jonathon Cohn details, overall increases are going to be relatively modest—though there are going to be some large spikes in some areas. And in those areas, competition will likely provide more affordable alternatives. Which is kind of how the marketplace works and also pretty much how the law was designed.

[A]fter two years of premiums that seemed surprisingly low, at least by the standards of private health insurance in the U.S., some insurers are raising prices to adjust. That’s the source of the big hikes that have the attention of Trump and other Affordable Care Act critics. And it’s why, according to blogger Charles Gaba, premiums would rise between 12 and 13 percent on average if everybody who currently

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Republicans plan to kick off the holiday season by repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood

U.S. Senator John Cornyn speaks to the media following the weekly Republican Senate policy meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Senate Republicans are eagerly planning November votes on something old and something a little newer. The something old: Obamacare repeal, of course. The something a little newer (but still already stale): defunding Planned Parenthood. The plan is to use reconciliation to get these things all the way to President Obama’s veto pen.

The Senate will likely take up a package to repeal key parts of Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood sometime in November, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican said Wednesday. […]
The House passed the reconciliation package last week. And Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said the legislation was headed to the Senate floor in the coming weeks, and that a vote-a-rama – a marathon series of votes – was coming.

“My expectation is that it’d be sometime this fall,” Cornyn told reporters. “The week or so before Thanksgiving looks like a good opportunity.

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All Republicans agree: America is a hellhole

Apocalyptic city scene

We should’ve all listened to the Koch Brothers. Thanks Obama!

I bet you didn’t know this, but you live in one of the shittiest places in human history, a cauldron of misery, tyranny, and suffering. I myself had no idea, but thankfully the GOP has set me straight.
There is Carly Fiorina talking about harvesting brains from living, breathing babies, while Sen. Ted Cruz wails, “Did we ever imagine that in the land of the free and home of the brave, we would be witnessing our government persecute its citizens for their faith?” Mike Huckabee is keen to point out all the Christians that will soon be put in jail: “Christian convictions are under attack as never before. Not just in our lifetime, but ever before in the history of this great nation. We are moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity.”

Donald Trump can’t stop talking about

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House Republicans finally found someone to impeach

U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (L) speaks with Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) (R) during

The “investigators.”

Maybe this is just a warm-up exercise for House Republicans, so they’ll be ready to impeach Hillary Clinton on her potential first day in office, or maybe it’s just that itchy impeachment finger all Republicans seem to be born with these days. At any rate, House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) finally found an impeachment candidate, IRS chief John Koskinen, though he and his colleagues remain a bit vague on exactly what it is he did to deserve impeachment.

It was late last week that the Justice Department completed a lengthy and rigorous investigation into the imaginary IRS “scandal,” concluding that no laws were broken and no charges would be filed.
It’s against this backdrop that House Republicans have decided to pursue impeachment against the IRS commissioner who not only did nothing wrong, but who wasn’t even at the IRS at the time of the

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Republican leadership fumbling Obamacare repeal, as usual

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell turns to Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX after speaking to reporters after the Republican party policy luncheon in the Capitol in Washington September 16, 2014.  At left is Sen. John Barasso, R-WY. The U.S. House of Represe

The face of failure.

Total ineptitude isn’t just for House Republicans. Over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell is having plenty of trouble of his own trying to navigate the consequences of having given the keys to the party to a minority of extremists. What’s particularly ironic is that it’s over the one thing that has given the extremists all the power: Repealing Obamacare. McConnell had landed upon what he thought was the silver bullet to repeal Obamacar—using budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote. So much for that.

For months, the GOP-led Congress has planned to use the procedural maneuver known as “reconciliation” to finally shepherd a major Obamacare repeal bill to the president’s desk. The fast-track process ensures Democrats in the Senate can’t filibuster the legislation and foil yet another attempt to gut the law.
But three conservative members of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s conference—Sens. Ted Cruz

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We must not allow misinformation to kill Obamacare and continue killing Americans

Most of the industrialized countries in the world have some sort of single-payer health care system, or socialized medicine. Why? Because it works. The health outcomes for citizens in those countries exceed those in the United States of America. In fact, they get better medicines at a fraction of the cost Americans pay.
Many Americans die because they cannot get affordable health care. They cannot get affordable health care because Americans continue to elect politicians who are beholden to insurance companies, drug companies, and the sick care industrial complex. They are beholden and still get elected because Americans remain misinformed and ill-informed.

Our traditional mainstream media allows politicians to lie about successful systems like the Canadian, French, British, and Taiwanese systems. Even Obamacare successes are marginalized, as illustrated by Chris Hayes in his segment a few weeks ago which aimed to reverse the health care pilfer. (The video is embedded

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Not expanding Medicare is already costing Republican states billions

Medicaid Matters Rally 5  Participants in the Medicaid Rally., March 5, 2013

The real party of fiscal responsibility? These folks.

There has got to be some modern conservative government policy, somewhere, that is not a catastrophic clusterf–k. It is simple odds; there is no way a party could be incompetent in every last policy stance, at some point you’d presume they would have to stumble into something that (1) they strongly believed in as policy measure and (2) worked passably well when put into practice just out of sheer dumb luck. But no, it appears that hemorrhaging cash and doing a worse job has to be the desired effect, time after time, because there’s no other way to explain their pride in doing it.

In 2015, according to a survey by the Kaiser Foundation, spending by states that refused to expand Medicaid grew by 6.9 percent. That’s pretty close to the historical average. However, spending by states that accepted Medicaid

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Mitt Romney on the man who helped inspire Obamacare, which gave ‘a lot of people’ health insurance

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures as he speaks at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in San Diego, California January 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Blake  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4LRP8

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is back in the news today, and with an unexpected sentiment: It turns out he likes Obamacare quite a bit, or at least a lot more than the heat of an election battle would allow him to let on. We know this because Romney would like America to remember his friend Tom Stemberg, who died today after a two-year battle with cancer, as a man who should be credited as an inspiration for Romneycare, and therefore Obamacare, and therefore a man who has given health insurance to a great many Americans.

Romney said that shortly after he was elected, Mr. Stemberg asked him why he ran for governor. Romney said he told him that he wanted to help people, and Mr. Stemberg replied that if he really wanted to help, he should give everyone access to health care, which Romney said he hadn’t really

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