Obamacare’s huge turning point: How a nomination hearing signals GOP epiphany – Salon.com
Read More Even biotechs blame the weather The vast majority of large employers will not be subject to those fines, because they already offer health coverage to workers. In fact, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 98 percent of companies with more than 200 workers already offered such coverage. The Urban Institute noted that about two-thirds of all employers currently offer health insurance. “Most employers would not drop coverage if the penalties were eliminated,” the Urban Institute’s researchers wrote, noting the tax benefits companies gain by offering health insurance instead of higher pay. Salaries are subject to income and FICA taxes, while health insurance is nontaxable. However, the research found that a total of about 500,000 workers would lose their employer-provided insurance if the mandate was eliminated, just 0.3 percent of the entire employer-insured workforce.
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In the past, Senate Republicans have had little problem stirring up phony controversies about President Obamas high-level political appointees, but Burwells resume and good relationship with Capitol Hill make her a difficult target, even as she assumes control of a healthcare law Republicans love to hate. The flip side to the Republicans lack of fire was the degree to which Democrats on the committee vociferously defended the Affordable Care Act. Most noteworthy among them was Kay Hagan of North Carolina, widely considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat this election cycle. Recall that a month ago, the conventional wisdom was that vulnerable Democrats would be put in a tough spot by Burwells hearings because Obamacare would be back on the front pages. And yet, Hagan used her time to question Burwell about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, noting specifically that the state Legislature in North Carolina had blocked the Medicaid expansion: Last year, in North Carolina, our state legislature and governor decided against expanding the states Medicaid program, and as a result, about 500,000 people who would have qualified for coverage through Medicaid are now not able to do so.  Director Burwell, can you compare the experience of states that have expanded their Medicaid programs to those that havent, commenting specifically on the health of newly eligible enrollees and whether theres any increased cost for states or health providers like hospitals? The content and timing of Hagans question are noteworthy the man who led the North Carolina House of Representatives in opposing Medicaid expansion within the state, Thom Tillis, just won the Republican nomination to challenge Hagan in November. Hagans campaign against Tillis to date has been awkward. Before the GOP primary she tried to move against Tillis on Obamacare from the right, airing a misleading ad that quoted Tillis calling Obamacare a great idea. It was likely intended to drive conservatives away from Tillis and force a runoff in the primary.
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