A malign foreign actor could be behind the theft of personally identifiable information of hundreds of House members and staff in the hack of an Obamacare health insurance exchange in the nation’s capital, according to the chair of the House Administration Committee.
Lawmakers and their staff were notified a few days ago by the House chief administrative officer of the hack of the D.C. Health Link exchange.
Health insurance premiums offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as Obamacare, will rise next year, hitting small businesses particularly hard and potentially pressuring them to drop out of the program.
While recent provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act have provided additional subsidies for individual consumers that will likely offset the increased cost of premiums, no such support was granted to small business owners, according to the Wall Street Journal. Insurers are proposing median premium increases of 10%, but some are proposing increases as high as 20%.
The U.S. Senate on Sunday passed a $740 billion new taxing and spending bill that seeks to combat climate change and allow the government to control the price of prescription medications, among other things.
No Republicans voted for the bill, named the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, in the divided 50-50 Senate, forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie. The measure must return to the House for a concurrence vote after senators passed several amendments Sunday. The House is expected to take the bill up again on Friday. If the House concurs, President Joe Biden has indicated he will sign it.
The 2022 United States Senate elections can best be thought of as the classic battle between the irresistible force and the immovable object. The irresistible force is the playing field. President Joe Biden’s job approval in the RCP Average is currently 39.7%, the lowest of his presidency. That’s about 3.5 points lower than Barack Obama’s job approval was on (midterm) Election Day 2010. President Obama’s job approval only dipped to 40% briefly, in the immediate aftermath of the botched Obamacare rollout, and it never dropped below 40%. President Donald Trump’s job approval spent much of 2017 below this mark, but in the terrible Republican election year of 2018, it never fell this low.
In other words, this is shaping up to be a worse environment than either of the last three midterms, all of which were nightmares for the party in power.
As Democrats head into the November midterms with historically low approval ratings, another major factor could arise that will further contribute to the shrinking of their already-slim majorities.
As reported by The Hill, the Affordable Care Act – known colloquially as “Obamacare” – could face a significant increase in premiums due to a lapse in special funding provided by the coronavirus aid bill passed last year. That bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, temporarily increased financial assistance for Americans seeking healthcare through Obamacare; the increase was set to expire just one year after the bill’s passage.
In 2020, the Trump administration filed a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center for forcing a nurse to assist at an abortion. Trump’s Department of Justice called the hospital’s bullying of the nurse “the kind of indecent coercion [that] violates everything this country stands for.”
In 2021, the Biden administration dropped this lawsuit. It did not want to defend the nurse. This rankled former Trump officials. “It is a dereliction of duty that is an insult to the bipartisan consensus that says you cannot force people to assist in abortions,” Roger Severino, the former head of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) told Fox News.