Obamacare Gets New Life with Election Win by
President Obama; Takes Place in History
President’s second term will be about bringing the
law to life; Obama reelection, Democrats holding the Senate will
solidify the law in American history - see editor's notes on benefits
Jay Hancock, KHN Staff Writer
Senior Citizens Get
Big Benefits from Obamacare
Note: Many think of Obamacare as a program that expands
health insurance coverage to most Americans, but are unaware of
its benefits for seniors, including -
• Demise of the donut hole in
the drug program that caused seniors who needed the most drugs
to lose coverage when they reached a certain expenditure level.
Obamacare has saved beneficiaries $4.8 billion this year, as
cost senior must pay in the donut hole shrinks and totally
disappears in 2020.
• Seniors are also enjoying better health from Obamacare through
expanded free preventive care screenings and the addition of the
free annual Wellness visit with a doctor.
> See sidebar links below.
Nov. 7, 2012 - President Barack Obama’s victory
cements the Affordable Care Act, expanding coverage to millions but
leaving weighty questions about how to pay for it and other care to be
delivered to an increasingly unhealthy, aging population.
"The reelection of Obama and the Democrats holding
the Senate will solidify the law in American history," said Len Nichols,
a health economist at George Mason University who supports what both
sides have come to call "Obamacare."
"By 2016 you’ll see the vast majority of states
with operational [insurance] exchanges and the Medicaid expansion, and
we’ll be on a pathway to a more humane system."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had
promised to repeal the act and replace it with something that would
loosen government’s involvement in health care. Conservatives portrayed
the law’s survival as limiting the freedom of patient and doctor and
adding to a federal debt that recently exceeded $16 trillion.
"This is the single most important election on the
federal government’s role in the health care sector in our history,"
said Michael Franc, vice president for government studies at the
Heritage Foundation. An Obama victory, he said, "gives the federal
government unprecedented control over this one-sixth of the economy.
That’s a big deal."
Despite Romney’s loss, the Republican-controlled
House of Representatives could still use its purse-string power to press
for delays in implementing the act, analysts said.
Franc, Nichols and other health policy experts were
interviewed about election scenarios before the results were known.
Obama won despite criticism that he chose the
middle of a financial catastrophe to seek the biggest change to health
care in nearly half a century. Although aspects of the Affordable Care
Act receive high marks, polls show it is still deeply unpopular with
National Research Council looks at demands of aging
nation - ‘Although 65 has conventionally been considered a normal
retirement age, it is an increasingly obsolete threshold for defining
old age and for setting benefits for the elderly’
The president’s first term was about getting a
bitterly divided Congress to approve the legislation and then defending
it against unexpectedly vigorous legal challenges. His second term will
be about bringing the law to life. He referred to the act in his
acceptance speech early Wednesday, referring to an Ohio family with an
8-year-old daughter "whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost the
family everything, had it not been for health care reform passing just a
few months before."
Analysts forecast coverage for as many as 30
million previously uninsured Americans even as economic pressures lead
to fewer choices and higher cost-sharing for those already covered by
private insurers and Medicare.
"It’s full-steam ahead with implementation," said
Dan Mendelson, a consultant who ran the health portfolio in the Office
of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton. "They will be
aggressively working to make all the timelines that are articulated in
the law. I don’t think it will benefit Obama at all in defining a legacy
to let those timelines slip. He will push that hard."
The administration’s immediate job is launching
online insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, and managing the
law’s expansion of the state and federal Medicaid program for low-income
patients even as a budgetary showdown looms.
13 states and the District of
Columbia have said they’ll open exchanges offering subsidized
coverage from private insurers. Republican governors in Texas, Louisiana
and many other states halted exchange preparations before the election.
Many also balked at the Medicaid expansion after the Supreme Court gave
states the ability to opt out of that aspect of the health overhaul.
Romney’s defeat, the promise of billions in federal
subsidies and the prospect of federal regulators running exchanges in
the absence of state leadership should push most governors into line,
“The states are not going to give up the money,”
said Gerard Anderson, professor of health policy at The Johns Hopkins
University Bloomberg School of Public Health. “There are just too many
dollars. The hospitals and insurers, but mostly the hospitals, are going
to say, ‘Excuse me, we need the money.’”
But that’s not to say everything will go according
to schedule. Deficit-reduction talks triggered by the Jan. 1 “fiscal
cliff” of tax-cut expirations and spending reductions could change
significant parts of the health act. For example,
Democrats might scale back
the act’s coverage and subsidies in return for revenue increases or
other concessions from Republicans, analysts said.
If many state-run exchanges might not be ready by
2014, it’s also far from certain that the Department of Health and Human
Services, which has delayed publishing exchange-related regulations,
will be prepared to impose substitutes.
“What is the state of readiness to implement both
state insurance exchanges and the federal backup?” said Paul Ginsburg,
president of the Center for Studying Health System Change. “The
administration has been extremely silent about this.”
Looming over everything are still-growing,
economy-wide health expenses and the limited means of government and
businesses to pay them. Deficit-reduction deals with a Republican House
could modify not only the health act but Medicare, which Republicans
would like to convert to a “premium support” program in which seniors
would get coverage fixed amount of money to purchase private coverage or
traditional Medicare, analysts said.
Expect more cost-control efforts such as higher
deductibles in private insurance, managed-care Medicare plans for
seniors and more restricted medical networks for patients, they said, as
well as new pressure on reimbursements for doctors, hospitals and other
Now that Obama has nailed down his signature
accomplishment, the need to pay for it could generate more industry cuts
than many expected from a second Obama term, analysts said.
“Many things that are not normally politically
feasible become feasible in the context of significant deficit
reduction,” Ginsburg said. “So if the time is here, health care has to
be an important part of that, because that’s where so much of the
spending and so much of the growth in the spending in the future is.”
You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.
In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.
They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.
If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.
Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...