OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE: Uninsured rate still falling

It's more good news for the White House on ObamaCare. 

A handful of new studies indicate that the uninsured rate continued to fall this spring as millions of people rushed to finalize their ObamaCare applications before the mid-April deadline. 

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Gallup reported that the uninsured rate sunk to 13.4 percent in the second quarter, the lowest level recorded by the pollster, and the Commonwealth Fund said the rate fell from 20 to 15 percent thanks to the exchanges. 

The findings put to bed questions about whether the healthcare law actually made a dent in the uninsured rate in its first year in full effect. 

Republicans have been mostly silent on the issue as the administration claims victory, saving their criticisms for persistent problems with HealthCare.gov and millions of inconsistencies in ObamaCare applications. 

These issues will be the focus of a House hearing next week, where officials in the office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general will testify about the inconsistencies. 

The GOP is walking a fine line on the healthcare law. Republicans are still counting on the law to dampen Democratic chances at the polls in November, but they're focused on other issues as healthcare headlines improve and the congressional session nears the August recess.  

The Commonwealth Fund study also revealed Thursday that new policyholders under the law are largely satisfied with their coverage and say they are better off, another win for the White House. 

Read about the Gallup and Commonwealth findings here: http://bit.ly/1q2quRp and here: http://bit.ly/1qpipSw

 

DID ANTI O-CARE ADS BACKFIRE? Millions of dollars in conservative ads against ObamaCare might have backfired and actually boosted enrollment in key states, according to a new study. 

A fellow with the Brookings Institution found a "positive association" between ad spending against ObamaCare and enrollment in health plans under the law. 

The trend appeared strongest in states with competitive Senate races this year, where conservative groups are spending widely on ads against the Affordable Care Act. 

In states where Senate Democrats are up for reelection, ad spending against the law correlated with higher enrollment, the study found. 

The opposite was true in states where Senate Republicans are defending seats. 

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1kJwpmm

 

‘WE SHOULD BE AFRAID’: Americans should live in fear of the Supreme Court, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

Hammering a pair of recent rulings related to birth control access, the House minority leader suggested the conservative-leaning court is stealing women's freedoms when it comes to making healthcare choices.

“We should be afraid of this court. That five guys should start determining what contraceptions are legal or not. ... It is so stunning,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.

Pelosi said last week's Supreme Court ruling that the birth control mandate under President Obama's healthcare reform law is a violation of religious freedom was particularly egregious.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1jhQTaM

 

EMMY FOR OBAMA? The president's satirical interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis on his Web series “Between Two Ferns,” widely credited with boosting enrollment in his signature healthcare law, has been nominated for an Emmy Award.

The Funny or Die video clip was nominated Thursday in the Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program category, facing off against other contenders including the Super Bowl halftime show and Cartoon Network's "Childrens Hospital" television series.

The other two nominees in the category also have ties to the president: "The Soup," hosted by Joel McHale, who served as this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner emcee, and "Parks and Recreation," an NBC series that has featured guest appearances by Vice President Biden and first lady Michelle Obama.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1mE4t7v

 

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals could rule in the Halbig case, which argues that the Affordable Care Act did not intend for premium tax credits to be distributed in exchanges established by the federal government. 

 

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED AT THE HILL

Reid: Pass clean border bill: http://bit.ly/1r0Pxnk

Boehner: No 'blank check' for border crisis: http://bit.ly/U5P6dd

IG report: Medicare made $1.7B in 'questionable' payments: http://bit.ly/1jhRlWh

Insurer sued over narrow O-Care networks: http://bit.ly/1q2r2q8

 

READING LIST

VA names interim medical inspector: http://1.usa.gov/1oL1xGk

Appeals court: WTC cleanup workers may renew health claims: http://reut.rs/1oL1z0U

Report: Adults with serious mental illness face high unemployment: http://bit.ly/1oo2cdB

 

STATE BY STATE

Mass. reports progress in fixing health website: http://bit.ly/1mE509m

Feds demand Medicaid backlog fixes by six states: http://bit.ly/1rcjXkc

Mass. curbs compounding pharmacies after meningitis outbreak: http://reut.rs/1nclscY