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Recent Posts

It's Tax Day. Should Open Enrollment Just Be Ending?

Posted on April 15, 2015  |  Permalink

Topics: Health Care Reform, Insurance, Exchanges, Health Plans and Insurance Companies

by Joshua Zeitlin, staff writer

Today is tax day, and it is also 15 days from the end a special enrollment period for some uninsured U.S. residents to enroll in coverage through the federal exchange.

That special enrollment period -- a version of which has also been adopted by several state-run exchanges -- began on March 15 and is available for individuals who can confirm they:

  • Did not know about the individual mandate penalties until they prepared to file their taxes;
  • Owe the federal government a penalty for not having coverage in 2014; and
  • Do not currently have a health plan purchased through the federal exchange.

However, CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt has said, "In subsequent years, this special enrollment period will not be available." Is that a mistake?

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It's Tax Day. Should Open Enrollment Just Be Ending?

A Look Back at HillaryCare vs. ObamaCare

Posted on April 13, 2015  |  Permalink

Topics: Health Care Reform

With Hillary Clinton announcing yesterday that she is running for president in 2016, a number of newspapers have examined Clinton's ties to health care reform.

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A Look Back at HillaryCare vs. ObamaCare

Has SCOTUS Contradicted Itself on Coercive Federal Health Policy?

Posted on April 7, 2015  |  Permalink

Topics: Legal Issues, Health Care Legislation, Medicaid, Health Care Reform

by Joshua Zeitlin, staff writer

Back in June 2012, seven Supreme Court justices in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius ruled that the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion as originally designed was unconstitutionally coercive. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that threatening to pull all Medicaid funding if a state did not accept the expansion amounted to "a gun to the head."

On March 30, 2015, five of those seven justices -- Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia -- ruled in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center that private providers cannot sue state Medicaid agencies over low reimbursement rates.

Scalia wrote for the majority that, contrary to the sentiment expressed by the dissenting justices, the plaintiffs are not left without any reasonable options. Rather, he said that the threat of the HHS Secretary cutting off all Medicaid funding if a state's "compensation scheme is inadequate" is not "too massive to be a realistic source of relief."

So threatening to cut off all Medicaid funding over the program's eligibility levels is "a gun to the head," but threatening to cut off all Medicaid funding over the program's reimbursement rates is "realistic"?

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Has SCOTUS Contradicted Itself on Coercive Federal Health Policy?