Entries in Healthcare (7)


How Much Will Obama Care if Healthcare Law Is Overturned?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama obviously has much to lose if the Supreme Court overturns much of the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of his first term.

Already, the naysayers have chastised the president for putting so much political capital into the historic law instead of devoting much of his energies during 2009 and 2010 to job creation, which is considered voters' top priority this year with the unemployment rate remaining stubbornly over 8 percent.

Should the high court toss out the individual mandate, which requires most Americans get health coverage under financial penalty, and the provision guaranteeing insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, most of the guts of the Affordable Care Act would be removed, possibly forcing the rest of the plan to collapse under its own weight.

Obama's critics can then point to the Supreme Court agreeing with them that the mandate was unconstitutional all along and his dream of insuring millions was nothing more than folly.

However, the candidate who might be possibly hurt even more by a devastating high court decision is presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.  Gutting the law leaves Romney and Republican with less ammunition to run on over the next four months as Obama can tell Americans that he did his best to reform healthcare but was once more obstructed by the GOP and its supporters on the Supreme Court.

Besides that, this puts Obama and Romney on equal footing in debates, enabling the incumbent to further challenge his opponent on their competing plans for the future.

Meanwhile, overturning the individual mandate might also impact Massachusetts' healthcare law, which Romney championed when he was governor.

The Supreme Court's decision could come on Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich '06 Memo Lavishes Praise on Romney's Health Plan


Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- To conservatives, the biggest strike against Mitt Romney is the health care plan he put in place in Massachusetts, but Newt Gingrich lavished praise on Romney’s plan after it was passed in 2006.

“We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans,” Gingrich wrote in 2006.

And, Gingrich wrote, the key to achieving that goal was doing what Romney did in Massachusetts: Requiring everybody who could afford it to buy health insurance.  In fact, Gingrich makes an impassioned case for the so-called individual mandate -- which is also at the center of President Obama’s health plan -- on conservative grounds.

“We also believe strongly that personal responsibility is vital to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System,” Gingrich wrote in the memo, which was found on an old Gingrich website by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski. "Individuals who can afford to purchase health insurance and simply choose not to place an unnecessary burden on a system that is on the verge of collapse; these free-riders undermine the entire health system by placing the onus of responsibility on taxpayers."

[Click here to read Gingrich's 2006 memo]

Gingrich had some criticisms of the Massachusetts plan -- including what he called the state’s over-regulation of health insurers -- but overall, he supported it.

"Massachusetts leaders are to be commended for this bipartisan proposal to tackle the enormous challenge of finding real solutions for creating a sustainable health system,” Gingrich wrote.

Like Romney, Gingrich's past positions -- including a now-infamous commercial about global warming with Rep. Nancy Pelosi -- have come back to haunt him in the eyes of potential conservative voters. Considering that repealing President Obama's health care plan is high atop the wish list for conservatives -- who feel it's an unconstitutional burden on an already cash-strapped government -- the Romney memo could prove damaging to Gingrich.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cain Presents Healthcare Views at Congressional Health Caucus

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain outlined on Wednesday three problems with healthcare that he would like to see fixed, starting with the immediate repeal of President Obama’s healthcare plan.

“I am 100 percent behind and will sign legislation as it hits my desk to appeal Obamacare in its entirety,” Cain said.  “We are now just beginning to see some of the unintended consequences of this bad legislation.”

Cain, who has been in Washington all week, presented his views to the Congressional Health Care Caucus as part of its Thought Leaders Series.

“Instead of costs going down, cost is going up. Instead of the quality of care being available to more people, it’s available to less,” Cain said.  “This legislation has truly backfired.”

Cain, if elected, would want to sign a repeal on March 23, 2013 -- exactly three years after President Obama signed the law, and a date that also coincides with Cain’s son’s birthday.

He then outlined alternative changes he would like to see as a replacement for President Obama’s plan.

“I support market-driven patient-centered reforms,” Cain said.  “One of the guiding principles that I have always used as a businessman, that I will also use as president of the United States, is that if you want to solve the problem go to the source closest to the problem; in this case, doctors and patients.  Not bureaucratese.”

During the talk he cited H.R. 3400 as a law he would “love to be able to sign.”

H.R. 3400, also known as the Empowering Patients First Act, a bill that was first introduced in the House in July 2009 by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., would lower costs in the health care system through clauses that would reduce mandated health coverage, provide insurers with subsidies and reduce medical liability insurance.

Cain made the point that healthcare is not the problem, but rather healthcare cost is to blame.

“It goes all the way back to 1943, when businesses in an attempt to attract the best people because of freezes on wages, started offering benefits,” Cain said.  “Well, they never got out of that habit.  So a paradigm has evolved that revolves around the employer paying for people’s health insurance, or part of it instead of the employee paying for it directly.”

He suggested that until people pay for their own healthcare insurance, the cost will continue to rise.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Would Tweak Paul Ryan’s Medicare Reforms

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Likely presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is making a very clear distinction between his plan for Medicare reform and that of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

In a Facebook post, Gingrich says, "One option is to move towards a 21st Century personal Medicare system that would allow seniors to choose on a voluntary basis a more personal system with greater options for better care."

A Gingrich spokesman tells ABC News that the former House Speaker is saying we “should not compel seniors into any one size fits all system. We should design a system that they will choose over the current system, one with more choices and better care but if they want to stay in the old system -- bad as it is -- they can stay.”

That represents a significant departure from Ryan’s plan.

Presidential hopefuls are trying to find the right balance of praising Ryan's approach, as they did when it was first released, while not endorsing the more controversial elements of the plan.

The House of Representatives passed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan in a partisan vote last week, with just four Republicans voting against it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Care Legal Challenges: What's Next?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) - In the aftermath of US District Court Judge Roger Vinson's ruling on Monday that struck down the entire Affordable Care Act, questions are being raised about whether the law should continue to be implemented in any of the 26 States that were parties to the lawsuit.

While the judge chose not to issue an injunction forcing the federal government to stop implementation, he wrote that his opinion was the "functional equivalent" of such an order. The Obama administration argues that because the Judge did not enjoin the law, it remains the law of the land for all states.

“The decision issued on Monday is one district court decision, and we believe it to be very wrong,” Deputy Senior Advisor Stephanie Cutter wrote in a blog posted on the White House’s website.  “Implementation will continue.”

But officials in some states that are a party to the lawsuit disagree. A spokesperson for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “We are continuing to evaluate the order. The judge clearly stated that the declaratory relief is tantamount to an injunction - this should be respected by the federal government.”

J. B. Van Hollen, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, told the St. Petersburg Times, "For Wisconsin, the federal health care law is dead — unless and until it is revived by an appellate court. Effectively, Wisconsin was relieved of any obligations or duties that were created under terms of the federal health care law."

Critics of the ruling say it is not only wrong, but has sent a confusing message regarding the law’s implementation. Meanwhile, attention is turning to the appellate courts that will be the next judges to rule on the constitutionality of the law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


State of the Union: We Can Work With This, Sen. John McCain Said

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Reducing the corporate tax rate, eliminating pork barrel spending, free trade and medical malpractice reform are a few of the laundry list of issues Sen. John McCain said he could work on with President Obama.

“There [were] a number of areas that the president has clearly shifted his opinion on,” the senator told Good Morning America.

Free trade seems the most promising, McCain said, and he was hopeful about revisiting healthcare and medical malpractice.  On Tuesday night, in a State of the Union that McCain said had a “much different feeling,” Obama signaled his willingness to revisit healthcare -- just not repeal it.

So what will be the “real crunch” in the coming months? Raising the debt limit, per McCain, which he says the GOP is willing to compromise on.

“We need to get back down to at least 2008 spending. Some of us would like to see us go down to 2006. Between the last two years, discretionary spending went up some 80% if you count the stimulus package as well. We’ve got to get the spending level down,” he said.

But is McCain willing to go that far to make it happen, including cuts to education, research and infrastructure?  In a word, yes.

“I am also willing to take up sooner rather than later entitlement reform. You and I could do social security reform on the back of an envelope. Medicare reform is much, much more difficult, but we really need to sit down and work. When we recognize those kinds of cuts that are going to have to be made I hope that drives more towards entitled reform,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Incoming New Hampshire Senator Sets Republican Agenda

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the first Republican address of the new year, Senator-elect Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire laid out the GOP agenda for 2011.

“The American people sent us to Congress with clear instructions,” Ayotte said. “Make government smaller, not bigger, and stop spending money that we don't have on programs that aren't working.”

She said a top priority for the new Congress is to tackle the budget deficit.

"As the mother of two children, I'm like parents across the country who worry that our nearly $14 trillion debt threatens America's economic future and our children's future.”

Those in Washington have to get serious about meaningful debt reduction, she said, adding that it’s “an American problem that requires tough decision making from both parties.”

Another priority, Ayotte said in the GOP address, is to create conditions favorable for businesses to add jobs in the new year.

“With millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed, we must work quickly to jumpstart our economy.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio