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OpenMarket: Health and Safety

  • Federal Obamacare Officials Once Recognized the Falsity of Their Current Argument about Tax Credits

    September 10, 2014

    ​The Obama administration has claimed that despite recurring language in the Obamacare law limiting tax credits to people who buy insurance on an “exchange established by the state,” such taxpayer subsidies are also available to people who buy insurance on the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov.  (The availability of tax credits triggers employer mandates and penalties in any state where the tax credits are available, and the tax credits contain work disincentives and ...

  • Obamacare Architect Admitted in 2012 States without Exchanges Lose Subsidies

    July 24, 2014

    This week, an unprecedented circuit split emerged in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell over whether health insurance premium assistance is available in states that didn’t set up health insurance exchanges. Many commentators have since claimed that there’s no way Congress intended to deny premium assistance to residents of the 36 so-called “refusenik” states that have not set up their own health insurance exchanges.

    But in January 2012, Jonathan Gruber—an MIT economics professor whom the The New York Times has called “Mr. Mandate” for his pivotal role in helping the Obama administration and Congress draft the Affordable Care Act—told an audience at Noblis that:

    What’s important to remember...

  • CEI Podcast for July 24, 2014: Victory in Halbig v. Burwell

    July 24, 2014

    General Counsel Sam Kazman talks about what the Halbig decision means for the Affordable Care Act, as well as broader principles such as taxation without representation and the rule of law. Click here to listen.

  • Fraud Rampant and Unpoliced on Obamacare Health Insurance Exchanges

    July 24, 2014

    Almost anyone can fraudulently obtain taxpayer subsidies to cover most of the cost of their health insurance on the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. That’s the gist of recent news coverage in The New York Times, Reason, and Associated Press. The fraud is possible because the government doesn’t check’s people’s eligibility, or verify the claims they make in their applications, contrary to what former HHS Secretary Sebelius certified in January.  ...

  • Alito’s Excellent Defense of “Corporate Personhood” in Hobby Lobby

    June 30, 2014

    The groundbreaking decision today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Obamacare’s contraception mandate violates the religious freedom of two closely held corporations,  will be dissected heavily for days, and studied for weeks, years and decades. My colleague Hans Bader has more here.

    For consistent civil libertarians, one of the most remarkable—and favorable—aspects of the majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito is a no-hold-barred defense of corporations asserting rights of “persons.” Though this case dealt with statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and did not directly involve constitutional liberties, Alito...

  • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hobby Lobby; Religious Businesses Can Invoke RFRA

    June 30, 2014

    In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court has ruled that it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to require religious business owners to provide contraceptive and abortifacient coverage for their employees. HHS imposed the birth control requirement as a regulation issued under the 2010 healthcare law popularly known as Obamacare.

    We previously argued that the requirement indeed violates RFRA, since the requirement substantially burdened the free exercise of religion, and was not the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling governmental interest (see here, ...

  • The Doctor Will Release You Now: How Official Time Contributed to the VA Scandal

    June 3, 2014
    Socialized medicine and union corruption are a potent combination and, in the case of the VA, a deadly one. The VA scandal has brought the network of hospitals under a national spotlight. But the troubled hospitals have been joined under the spotlight by a more widespread problem in America: union “official time,” also known as, “release time.” Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal has shed light on how the VA is in a Big Labor choke hold, granting the president of local lodge 1798 of the National Federation of Federal Employees 100 percent “official time,” which effectively means that the president is not really a VA employee since she is not obligated to do any work for the hospital. But “official” or release time at the VA doesn’t end with the union president....
  • Failed Obamacare Exchanges and No-Work Contracts Drive up Obamacare Costs

    May 19, 2014
    Politico tallies the rising costs for "four failed Obamacare exchanges," reporting:
    Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four  state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher. Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange. The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare....
  • Insurance Premiums Rising More Due to Obamacare

    May 16, 2014
    There are "rate hikes for all" coming due to Obamacare, predicts The Daily Caller, citing state insurance filings:
    Virginians will see upped health insurance premiums in 2015 . . . according to the filings from the first state to release any information about what Obamacare could bring next year. The premium proposals were submitted to the state insurance office for official approval and were made public Monday. Each health plan expects to increase its prices in 201  past nominal increases for inflation, the...
  • Massachusetts Seeks Millions More from Taxpayers as Its Obamacare Exchange Fails

    May 12, 2014
    Massachusetts' Obamacare exchange has failed, even though Massachusetts adopted an individual health-insurance mandate in 2006, and thus had a built-in advantage over other states in handling Obamacare's requirements. The New York Times reports:

    The board of the broken Massachusetts health insurance exchange voted on Thursday to support a state plan to buy new software to help people enroll in coverage, while also preparing to join the federal marketplace if the system is not ready by fall.

    But insurers complained about the plan, and several members of the exchange board expressed concerns about the cost — an estimated $121 million, on top of tens of millions already spent on the broken exchange, known as the Health Connector...

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