ACA

A new poll finds that rich people are much happier with their lives than poorer people. They're also far more likely to say they've achieved the American dream, that they're satisfied with their education, and that they're not anxious about the future.

Many people could have guessed all of that without a poll, of course. But the findings also show some striking differences — and some striking similarities — between the very richest and poorest Americans about what it takes to succeed in this country.

You're forgiven if in the holiday blur you missed that a federal appeals court in New Orleans has once again put the future of the Affordable Care Act in doubt. Or if you missed the news last week that a group of Democratic state attorneys general has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case in this term — which ends in June. That would mean a decision could come right in the middle of the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.

More than 1.9 million Floridians signed up for health coverage through the federal marketplace during the enrollment period that ended Dec. 17.

Updated at 8:28 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court panel in New Orleans has dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act, agreeing with a lower-court judge that the portion of the health law requiring most people to have coverage is unconstitutional now that Congress has eliminated the tax penalty that was intended to enforce it.

But it is sending the case back to the lower court to decide how much of the rest of the law can stand in light of that ruling.

Any day now, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could rule that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

At least it seemed that two of the three appeals court judges were leaning that way during oral arguments in the case, State of Texas v. USA, in July.

President Trump, bowing to political reality, says he is putting off his thoughts of finding a replacement for the Affordable Care Act until after the 2020 election.

In remarks to reporters Tuesday, Trump said, "I wanted to put it after the election because we don't have the House." But it became clear that he didn't have support for a replacement to Obamacare in the GOP-led Senate, either.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

In a significant shift, the Trump administration says the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be struck down in the courts. Previously, the administration had pushed to remove the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions but had not argued in court that the whole law should be struck down.

One health plan from a well-known insurer promises lower premiums — but warns that consumers may need to file their own claims and negotiate over charges from hospitals and doctors. Another does away with annual deductibles — but requires policyholders to pay extra if they need certain surgeries and procedures.

Both are among the latest efforts in a seemingly endless quest by employers, consumers and insurers for an elusive goal: less expensive coverage.

Senators Support Coverage For Preexisting Conditions

Feb 20, 2019

With continued legal and political battles about the federal Affordable Care Act, a Florida Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that seeks to ensure patients with preexisting conditions would have access to health coverage. 

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

The number of Floridians who enrolled in the Affordable Care Act this year increased by more than 55,000 compared to last year.

If last Friday's district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional were to be upheld, far more than the law's most high-profile provisions would be at stake.

In fact, canceling the law in full — as Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered in his 55-page decision — could thrust the entire health care system into chaos.

everydayplus / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Florida's largest health insurer has seen a 45 percent drop in opioid prescriptions since it stopped paying for OxyContin.

It has been almost a year since Florida Blue announced that it would no longer provide prescription payments for the popular painkiller and would require advanced permission for any opioid prescription lasting longer than seven days.

It replaced OxyContnin in its drug plans with a different opioid, Xtampza. That drug is designed to be more difficult to crush, making it tougher to snort or inject.

The Affordable Care Act faces a new legal challenge after a federal judge in Texas ruled the law unconstitutional on Friday. The decision risks throwing the nation's health care system into turmoil should it be upheld on appeal. But little will be different in the meantime.

"Nothing changes for now," says Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent of Kaiser Health News.

President Trump called a Friday ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act "Great news for America!" Democratic lawmakers rushed to decry the decision, calling it "monstrous" and "harmful." And Republican lawmakers remained mostly quiet Saturday.

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