Obamacare: ‘The battle isn’t even close to over’

(By Deutsche Welle) US President Barack Obama’s health care reform has won another victory over its opponents. But according to Edmund Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation, conservatives will continue to fight the Affordable Care Act.

The United States Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in a 6-3 decision. The ruling backs government subsidies that help more than 6 million Americans purchase health care on state-regulated Internet marketplaces.

Conservatives have challenged President Barack Obama’s signature domestic program twice now and have lost both times. Back in 2012, the court ruled in favor of the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty.

The ACA has been controversial in the US. Supporters claim that the law provides Americans with greater access to better quality health insurance at an affordable price. Opponents criticize the ACA as an unnecessary intrusion in Americans’ health care decisions that will drive up prices.

Since the implementation of the ACA began in 2014, the uninsured rate in the US has dropped from 17 to about 12 percent of the population.

Edmund Haislmaier, a health policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, tells DW why he opposes the ACA, and the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling for those who oppose the law.

So what was stake in this challenge to ACA?

It came down to whether the administration’s reading of the law was correct or not. So it upheld the way the administration interpreted the law.

As far as the health care issue is concerned, it would have affected a portion of the legislation in some states. It hinged on whether or not the administration was correct that the subsidy system in the law could be applied to states that had not set up health insurance exchanges, but the federal government was doing it for them. Essentially, the court said yes they can.

What does this mean politically and in terms of the health law going forward? It means that things will continue as they had in the past in terms of the health law, but that also means that there’s a lot of other problems that the health law will encounter going forward.

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Republicans lose budget battle, but US fiscal war may continue

(By Deutsche Welle) In the last-minute deal that averted a default, Republicans won no substantive concessions from the White House. After taking a hit in the polls, the Grand Old Party is licking its wounds and contemplating what’s next.

For more than two weeks, Republicans went to the mat in Washington’s latest partisan fiscal battle in a push to defund President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA). But on Wednesday, the Tea Party caucus couldn’t hold the line any longer, with many moderate Republicans agreeing to cut their losses and support a bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling through the New Year.

“We fought the good fight, we just didn’t win,” Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner told conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Under Wednesday’s agreement, the federal government will receive funding through January 15, while the debt ceiling has been raised until February 7. In exchange, Republicans secured only a token concession, which tightens income verification rules for Americans applying for health care subsidies under the ACA.

“Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue,” Boehner said in a press release.

Although Boehner had encouraged his party to support the bill that the president would eventually sign, only 87 Republicans heeded the speaker’s call and voted for it. In the Senate, where the bill originated, 18 Republicans cast their ballots in favor of the legislation.

“The real question going forward is the same question as this time,” Theda Skocpol, author of “The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism,” told DW. “When will other Republicans, conservatives who want to operate within normal governing procedures, when are they going to stand up to these folks?”

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