More than 4 million people receive the subsidies, which the Obama administration contends are essential to the act by making insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income families.
But challengers say the administration is violating the plain language of the law. They are represented by the same conservative legal strategists who fell one vote short of convincing the court that the law was unconstitutional the last time around.
The question in this challenge is whether the subsidies should be available to all Americans who qualify or only to those who purchase insurance through exchanges “established by the state.”
About a third of the states have created exchanges, and the challengers say the subsidies should be available only in those places. As the law authorizes, federal authorities have stepped in to establish exchanges where the states have refused.
The decision to hear the case, which will be decided by the end of the court’s term in June, comes as the act’s second enrollment period begins Nov. 15. Separately, the Republican takeover of the Senate in the midterm elections probably means more attacks by the GOP opponents of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
“This lawsuit reflects just another partisan attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to strip millions of American families of tax credits that Congress intended for them to have,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
The decision to accept the case — along with the increased likelihood that the justices will be compelled to decide whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry — could transform what had been forecast as a quiet term for the court.
The virulent H1N1 strain of influenza, also known as the swine flu, has been tied to several deaths in Texas including a Euless man who died last month, officials said.
A Houston teen, whose identity was not released, died late last week from the flu, said Kathy Barton, spokeswoman for the city’s health department.
Several adult deaths related to flu, including three in Dallas and four in Beaumont, have been reported by city or county officials. But there is no official statewide tally because health departments are not required to report adult flu-related deaths to the state. Continue reading
July 25, 2012 — For years health experts have been unable to agree on whether fluoride in the drinking water may be toxic to the developing human brain. Extremely high levels of fluoride are known to cause neurotoxicity in adults, and negative impacts on memory and learning have been reported in rodent studies, but little is known about the substance’s impact on children’s neurodevelopment. In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted.
Administration Officials Mislead Public
According to emails acquired by a public records request, Governor Jay Inslee’s office, leaders from Washington State’s Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner scrambled to deliberately mislead the public with skewed or withheld enrollee numbers during the first week of the exchange launch. Inslee’s office pushed to release figures only from the exchange’s third day— presumably because the accumulated enrollment number of the first week presented a dismal outlook on the future of the exchange. Continue reading
Like an estimated 22 million other Americans, I am a self-employed small-business owner who buys health insurance for my family directly on the individual market. We have a high-deductible PPO plan that allows us to choose from a wide range of doctors.
Or rather, we had such a plan.
Last week, our family received notice from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of Colorado that we can no longer keep the plan we like because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA).” The letter informed us that “(t)o meet the requirements of the new laws, your current plan can no longer be continued beyond your 2014 renewal date.”
In short: Obama lied. My health plan died. Continue reading
Another union has lost its enthusiasm for ObamaCare – or at least for one major feature of the federalized health insurance scheme.
The National Treasury Employees Union, or NTEU, is encouraging its members to write their congressmen in opposition to HR 1780, a bill that would have federal government workers use health insurance exchanges to buy health insurance. (Their sample letter is below.) The exchanges would take the place of the Federal Employee Health Benefits program that currently provides insurance to Treasury Department employees. Continue reading
Although it’s widely believed that “Obamacare” is here to stay, one lawsuit is threatening to undo President Obama’s landmark health care bill.
“A challenge filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) contends that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the bill originated in the Senate, not the House. Under the Origination Clause of the Constitution, all bills raising revenue must begin in the House,” the Washington Times notes.
You may recall in June 2012 when the Supreme Court ruled on “Obamacare” that Chief Justice John Roberts defined the bill as a tax, not a mandate. This, according to the Times, is where PFL attorneys saw their opening. Continue reading
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Washington’s Department of Ecology will pitch new water quality standards this fall.
Surface water quality standards specialist Cheryl Niemi said Ecology is working to formulate two sets of rules — one for human health criteria and for implementation tools.
The human health criteria list includes some pesticides that are currently regulated.
Chemicals can be those used for decades or new ones, like those in pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs).
The discussions also include DDT, an insecticide banned in 1972. It’s no longer in use, but Niemi said it is still present in some soils and fish. Continue reading
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was first synthesized in 1877,1 but it was not until 1940 that a Swiss chemist discovered that it could be sprayed on walls and would cause any insect to die within the next six months, without any apparent toxicity to humans.2 DDT’s effectiveness, persistence, and low cost (only 17 cents per pound) resulted in its being used in antimalarial efforts worldwide. It was introduced into widespread use during World War II and became the single most important pesticide responsible for maintaining human health through the next two decades. The scientist who discovered the insecticidal properties of DDT, Dr. Paul Müller, was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.3
by FPIW | February 8, 2013
Value voters are mobilizing! Yesterday an enthusiastic crowd arrived in Olympia showing their support of a bill which would require parental notification of an abortion. They came from all over the state to attend the public hearing of the bill (PSSB 5156), some as far away as Oregon and Spokane.
There was overwhelming support of a parent’s right to be notified. Three times as many citizens were present in support of this bill than those who opposed it. Supporters were value voters. Citizens who have deeply held beliefs in areas such as life, family, traditional marriage, parental rights and freedom of religion and conscience. Those in opposition were led by Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
The hearing began with testimony by nonpartisan Senate staff stating that currently in Washington State parents do NOT have the right to be notified before a doctor surgically aborts their daughter’s child. They stated that this bill would establish into law the right of at least one parent to be notified by a doctor that their underage daughter is considering aborting her child. Parents would have to be notified at least 48 hours before the abortion. There is also a judicial bypass to protect girls who are victims of rape or incest. Continue reading
August 26, 2012
WASHINGTON — Even as President Obama accuses Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan of trying to privatize and “voucherize” Medicare, his administration crows about the success of private health plans in delivering prescription drug benefits and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.
More than a quarter of the 50 million beneficiaries receive coverage through private Medicare Advantage plans, mostly health maintenance organizations, and Medicare’s drug benefits are delivered exclusively by private insurers, subsidized by the government. Continue reading
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