Entries in Obamacare (6)


Appeals Court to Rule on Health Care Law Provisions

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It's possible the U.S. Supreme Court isn't done with the Affordable Care Act just yet.

After ruling last June that the law, otherwise known as "Obamacare," was constitutional, the high court gave its opponents some new life on Monday by ordering the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether the Affordable Care Act's employer requirements and mandatory coverage of contraceptives without a co-pay should stand.

Liberty University, a Christian institution in Virginia, argued successfully that the Supreme Court's decision did not deal with these provisions.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represents Liberty University, said that should the 4th Circuit not agree to hear the case next spring, it would be bounced back to the high court.

Lawyers for Liberty University contend that Congress was wrong to have made it mandatory for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for their workers or face financial penalties.

The school also disagrees with the mandatory coverage of contraceptives because it means businesses would also have to fund abortions.

The White House says that while the arguments "lack merit," it would not object to the appeals court hearing the case.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama: Health Care Law Is 'Here to Stay'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- Speaking at his first campaign event since the Supreme Court upheld his signature health care legislation, President Obama boasted that the “law I passed is here to stay.”

“I'll work with anybody who wants to work with me to continue to improve our health care system and our health care laws,” the president told supporters in Maumee, Ohio, the first stop of his two-day campaign bus tour. “But the law I passed is here to stay.”

The president also had a stern warning for Republicans seeking to challenge the legislation.

“Now is not the time to spend four more years refighting battles we fought two years ago,” he said. “Now is the time to move forward and make sure that every American has affordable health insurance and that insurance companies are treating them fairly. That's what we fought for. That's what we're going to keep.”

The president argued the law will “make the vast majority of Americans more secure” and touted its more popular provisions.

“We will not go back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people just because they were sick. We're not going to tell 6 million young people who are now on their parents' health insurance plans that suddenly they don't have health insurance,” he said.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he will work to repeal the president’s health care law if elected.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Obamacare’: Americans Split on Supreme Court Ruling, Gallup Poll Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s most controversial item -- the individual mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance -- a newly released poll finds that Americans are evenly split on the decision.

According to a Gallup poll released on Friday, 46 percent of adults agree with the court’s decision, while another 46 percent disagree. Unsurprisingly, the breakdown follows party lines, with 79 percent of Democrats agreeing and only 13 percent of Republicans disagreeing.

Despite the partisan divide, however, a majority of adults, 59 percent, said that they would consider the issue as “one of many important factors while voting” -- suggesting that while the issue is indeed important, it won’t be make-or-break for either candidate with the bulk of voters.

Roughly the same number of Democrats, Republicans and Independents felt this way; 60 percent of Democrats said a candidate’s position on healthcare was one of many important factors, 60 percent of Independents responded this way and 59 percent of Republicans agreed.

Gallup also polled people on what ought to happen next -- now that the court has found it constitutional, where should the law go from here? The responses were somewhat polarized, with the majority of respondents split between upholding the law, expanding it, and getting rid of it all together. Twenty-five percent of adults said that they would like Congress to “keep the law in place and pass further legislation to expand the government’s role in healthcare beyond what the law currently does,” while 31 percent responded that they would like Congress to “repeal the law entirely.”

Twenty-one percent said that they would like to repeal some parts of the law, though the poll did not specify which parts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obamacare: Supreme Court Turns to Medicaid

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the hoopla of the arguments surrounding the individual insurance mandate being over, there are two important issues not to be overlooked on Wednesday when Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act continue.

If the court strikes down the individual mandate, what happens to the rest of the  law? It contains many provisions that have little to do with the mandate. Should the whole law go down?

Lawyers for the Obama administration say that if the mandate falls, two popular provisions would also fall, but the rest of the law should survive. The most popular part of the law that would fall is the “guaranteed issue” that, in part, requires health insurance companies to offer and renew coverage even if an individual has a pre-existing condition.

But at a recent event hosted by Bloomberg Law and Scotusblog, Michael Carvin, a lawyer representing the National Federation of Independent Business and four individuals, said the entire law must fall if the mandate is struck down.

“Once you’ve ripped the heart and the lung out of the body, it doesn’t matter that the fingers continue to actually move, ” Carvin said. “What matters is if they can move in the way Congress intended.”

The court has appointed a lawyer to argue a third position that was taken by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals: Even if the mandate falls, every other provision of the law should still stand.

To recap: If the individual mandate is struck down, the challengers of the law argue every other part of the law should fall. The government argues that only two popular provisions should fall and the Amicus counsel argues that every other provision should still be able to stand.

On Wednesday the court will also hear an hour of arguments on the law’s expansion of Medicaid.

“In all the excitement of the individual mandate, don’t lose sight of this issue,” Paul Clement, the lawyer for the states, warned recently at an event at Georgetown University Law Center, referring to a part of the law that expands Medicaid.

No lower court has struck down the Medicaid expansion of the law, but the Supreme Court thought the issue was important enough to warrant an hour of oral argument.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters Collide over Health Care Outside Supreme Court

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The space just outside the Supreme Court morphed into a figurative battlefield Tuesday afternoon as Tea Party forces rallied and confronted Obamacare supporters with screams, personal attacks and provocative signs.

The argument erupted in the middle of the de facto no-man’s land that had formed between Tea Partiers and a group of Obama supporters, far fewer than had been present at organized demonstrations Tuesday morning.

Tea Partiers and Obamacare supporters chanted and yelled at one another, making it impossible to hear anyone more than three feet away. The scene was drastically different from that of the morning, when Obamacare supporters sang in an orderly march, drowning out their conservative counterparts.

This time the attacks were personal -- on both sides.

One man and woman (who didn’t give their names) were arguing over the principles of patriotism and constitutionality. “He’s got a big mouth and he’s not qualified for the job,” the man said of Obama before spotting this reporter and asking: “What are you writing? Walk away.”

“We’re not trying to start a fight,” the woman replied. “We’re trying to start a conversation.”

Behind them, a young woman grabbed a megaphone being used by an anti-abortion activist to scream into it, “It’s a law against ugly women!”

Fifteen feet to the right, a half-dozen pro-Obama demonstrators directed signs in support of the president at Tea Party protesters who were standing a few yards away. A male protester hurled a comment about birth control at the Obama supporters.

“Unless you actually have a vagina, don’t go there, OK?” 30-year-old Fatma Hocaoglu screamed back.

Another man who refused to be identified joined the fray. “I don’t want to pay for her abortion!” he blared. “With Obamacare, we do. Yes, we do.”

A few minutes later, an Obamacare supporter and foe who were screaming at each other about their medical conditions broke the ranks to show each other their insurance cards.

The supporter, Barbara Stakes, a retiree from Pennsylvania with a seizure disorder classified as a “pre-existing condition,” explained that she had been turned down for health coverage.

“I pay for this,” she said. “I was rejected.”

Danny Mullaney, a former home-improvement contractor from Baltimore, replied by saying that he has cancer and won’t be able to get it treated under Obamacare.

“They’re going to kick me off,” he insisted. “They’re going to ration.”

Not that there weren’t scenes of harmony. As an organized Tea Party rally began to start, the animated activists stopped yelling and sang the national anthem.

So was Conner Beagle, a 10-year-old from Indiana whose mom brought him to Washington to witness the health care debate.

“In 20 years, I’ll remember this,” Conner said as his mom, Gina Lemasters, who works for the anti-Obamacare National Federation of Independent Business in Rep. Mike Pence’s district, shot video of him on her phone. “The health bill -- it’s history.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Appeals Court Rules

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- In a blow to the Obama administration Friday, a federal appeals court based in Atlanta has struck down a key provision of the recently passed health care law.

The Court ruled that Congress "exceeded its commerce power" in enacting the individual mandate which requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.

While striking down the mandate -- which it  called "unprecedented"-- the Court ruled that it is severable from the rest of the law.
Because a separate appeals court upheld the provision in June, Friday's ruling increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court might eventually step in and hear the issue to resolve the circuit split in the lower courts.

This challenge was brought by 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and two individual plaintiffs.

Paul Clement, considered one of the finest appellate lawyers in the country, represented the states and argued that the case turns on "whether or not the federal government can compel an individual to engage in commerce."

On Friday the Court said that the individual mandate is "breathtaking in its expansive scope."

"It regulates those who have not entered the health care market at all. It regulates those who have entered the health care market, but have not entered the insurance market (and have no intention of doing so). It is overinclusive in when it regulates: it conflates those who presently consume health care with those who will not consume health care for many years into the future. The government’s position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life. This theory affords no limiting principles in which to confine Congress’s enumerated power."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio