Republicans Say HHS Growing To Implement ACA.
The Hill (4/18, Baker) reports in its “Healthwatch” blog, “Republicans argued Tuesday that the Obama administration has hired droves of new bureaucrats to implement the administration’s healthcare reform law. The Joint Economic Committee, led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), said Tuesday that the Health and Human Services Department has swelled…by 11 percent under President Obama.” The Hill says that those figures are incorrect and gives its own as 6 percent growth since the ACA was signed into law though it adds that “the healthcare law will require a significant number of new federal employees, and HHS is staffing up.”
New Hampshire Senate Committee Votes To Study Bill On Contraception Mandate.
The New Hampshire Union Leader (4/18, Rayno) reports, “The Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee voted 4-0 to send a bill to interim study that would exempt employers who object on religious or moral grounds from a state mandate to provide birth control services as part of their health plan for employees.” House Deputy Speaker Pamela Tucker said in support of HB 1546, “Imposing anti-religious regulations on churches achieves no reduction of costs or availability of services; it only serves to please those pushing a political agenda.” But opponents said the bill “would give religious organizations greater rights than individuals.”
Barone Column Cites Blahous In Saying ACA Will Boost Deficit.
Michael Barone writes in his column in the Detroit News (4/18) regarding the recent report by Charles Blahous, “How much will Obamacare cost over the next 10 years? More than you’ve been led to believe.” In support of that, he says that there are two provisions of the ACA that are supposed to reduce the deficit: the Class Act, which “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has conceded…is unworkable,” and an increase in the Medicare tax “for high earners,” but “Sebelius conceded to Congress, that’s double counting. Medicare tax revenues dedicated to current Medicare spending can’t be used to reduce the budget deficit.”
Some States Expected To Pursue ACA Goals No Matter How Court Rules.
Mark Miller writes in his column for Reuters (4/18) that some states are moving to expand healthcare coverage to the uninsured by implementing the Affordable Care Act, but are likely to pursue its goals even should the Supreme Court strike it down. He identifies Maryland, Oregon, and Rhode Island, though he also notes that 16 states and the District of Columbia have begun work on health insurance exchanges and that over 30 are expected to have functioning exchanges sometime next year.