Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas:
Wonkbook: Obamacare trains are running on time. No wrecks.: “President Obama, slipping back into his episodic role as a vigorous campaigner for his new health care act, said Thursday that thanks to the law, more than 8.5 million Americans are getting rebates this summer from their insurance providers. Mr. Obama was joined by families who have benefited from a provision in the law, which requires health insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the revenue from premiums on medical care rather than on administrative costs. Insurers who fail to meet that benchmark must reimburse customers, a process that began in 2012.” Mark Landler in The New York Times….
Top Treasury official: No more Obamacare delays looming. “J. Mark Iwry, Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for retirement and health policy, told lawmakers that the employer mandate is the only policy that has been considered for deferral. ”We don’t have any specific provision that we’ve identified for which we would give some relief,” Iwry said in witness testimony.” Elise Viebeck in The Hill.
Implementation puts his legacy on the line. “Transforming the nation’s health-care system stands as Barack Obama’s most crucial piece of unfinished business, with much of his presidential legacy riding on whether it is deemed to have succeeded or failed. While other presidents have managed to overcome intense opposition to major new social initiatives, Obama faces a degree of difficulty with health care that has no historic parallel.” Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post.
@yeselon: Can’t get over the fact that Republicans just keep fighting the idea of universal health insurance, rooting for its failure. #newgop
Premiums under Obamacare lower than expected. “The Obama administration on Thursday highlighted lower-than-expected premiums for healthcare plans sold through ObamaCare’s new insurance marketplaces. In the 11 states that have released rates for next year, premiums for a middle-of-the-road plan are an average of 18 percent cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office had expected. The Health and Human Services Department highlighted the rate information in a new report Thursday, just as President Obama was set to deliver a speech highlighting the law’s savings to consumers.” Sam Baker in The Hill.
Strategy: Sell big by talking small. “In a speech on Thursday, Obama got deep into the specifics of the sweeping health care law, from a rule that forces insurers to send rebate checks to some consumers to the price competition in its new health insurance marketplaces— all provisions designed to save Americans money. The auditor-in-chief routine lets Obama tout how real people have pocketed savings, while steering clear of the many controversies swirling around the law, including a recent decision to extend a requirement for employers.” David Nather in Politico….
COHN: Obamacare won’t be a train wreck. “The fact that premium bids seem to be coming in lower than CBO and other experts predicted is a pretty big deal—and not for reasons widely understood. For one thing, it means the overall price of Obamacare—the amount of money the government must spend, in order to make the law function—is going to be even lower than predicted. The reason is those subsidies.” Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.