As Obama takes oath again, health law's fate rest with others

Politico: Obamacare 2.0: Judgment Awaits
Obamacare is going into effect next year for real -; but what happens with President Barack Obama's signature achievement in his second term is largely out of his hands. The biggest piece of the law -; the expansion of coverage to as many as 30 million uninsured Americans -; will begin in 2014. Obama may not say a word about that in his inaugural address. But the reality is, the success or failure of the health care law may define much of his second term, and that legacy is now in the hands of agency bureaucrats, volatile state capitols and employers, not to mention the whims of young uninsured consumers (Nather, 1/19). 

Meanwhile, several news outlets looked at how several provisions of the law are working.

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Pinches Colleges
The federal health-care overhaul is prompting some colleges and universities to cut the hours of adjunct professors, renewing a debate about the pay and benefits of these freelance instructors who handle a significant share of teaching at U.S. higher-education institutions. The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education (Peters and Belkin, 1/18).

The New York Times: Medicaid Expansion Is Delicate Maneuver For Arizona's Republican Governor
(Ariz. Gov. Jan) Brewer, who has become something of a conservative icon for her aggressive opposition to Mr. Obama's policies, surprised many Legislature watchers at her State of the State address last week by saying she wanted to expand the state's Medicaid program to include anyone who makes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $14,856 for an individual. The risk if Arizona does otherwise, she said, is losing the federal funds and the health care jobs that come with the changes. It could be simply a case of math trumping ideology (Santos, 1/19).

The Hill: Obama Officials Ditch 'Exchanges' In Rebranding Of Healthcare Reform Law
The Obama administration is re-branding the central component of its signature healthcare law. The Health and Human Services Department suddenly stopped referring to insurance "exchanges" this week, even as it heralded ongoing efforts to prod states into setting up their own. Instead, press materials and a website for the public referred to insurance "marketplaces" in each state. The change comes amid a determined push by conservative activists to block state-based exchanges in hopes of crippling the federal implementation effort (Baker, 1/20). 

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.




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