Mixer: Health of healthcare reform, a checkup

Written by

friday mixer bannerMillions again are expected to sign up for their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

They are prodded by an individual mandate that says they must do that. Starting next year, employers will join in on being prodded to offer coverage.

A lot of folks who found it difficult or too costly to get insurance are now able to do that.

But Republicans, fresh off their midterm election gains, are ready to congressionally snip Obamacare bit by bit.

To talk about the ACA and some of its difficulties going forward, we were joined by Joe Mathews, who is California Columnist for Zocalo Public Square and Anna Gorman, who reports for Kaiser Health News.

There was a big event today at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, with a host of state officials and Covered California chief Peter Lee, touting the exchange’s status as ‘ready to go’.

I know Peter Lee, who runs the exchange, was in the news recently concerning Covered California’s awarding millions of dollars of contracts to firms he had ties to. But surprisingly, that has not been much of a story going into the exchange’s second year. For his part, Lee has maintained that he went with firms he was familiar with in the run-up to getting the exchange and its website ready last year.

Meanwhile, in Washington,  legal challenges continue with the Affordable Care Act.

Most notably, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case King vs. Burwell which is a lawsuit that challenges the federal subsidies that help a lot of folks buy their insurance. 

The high court already ruled two years in the case of whether the Affordable Care Act was a tax, and not a mandate. Therefore, deeming Obamacare – under those definitions – constitutional. But few people apparently believed that was the end of any legal challenges.

Another difficulty for the ACA is a soon-to-be-GOP-controlled Congress: in the House and Senate.

Both chambers, under Republican leadership, will – no doubt – begin picking away at parts of the healthcare reform act. But how successful will they be with President Obama’s veto pen waiting for their congressional offensives?

Those offensives would have to be included in budgetary appropriations or important legislation – that’s where it might get dicey for the president.