CMS Final Rule Tinkers with Obamacare to Expand Options for Policy Design

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) today issued a final rule that seeks more elasticity in how the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) are applied to allow more flexibility in policy offerings and pricing on the federal and state exchanges. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on […]

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CMS Cites Cost Effectiveness of 2018 Obamacare Open Enrollment

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final report on the 2018 open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) policies, touting the cost effectiveness of the new approach. In 2017, CMS spent $100 million in advertising and promotion for open enrollment, coming out to $11 per enrollee; in […]

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Iowa to Launch Association Health Plans: Will Others Follow?

A bill has landed on Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’s desk that will enable small businesses to band together to form association health plans that are exempt from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She is expected to sign it. The bill merges two legislative efforts to sidetrack the ACA and provide less expensive […]

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Obamacare Subsidies, Tip-Pooling Wage Theft Out in Federal Budget Deal

BREAKING: The Senate approved the House version in the wee hours of Friday, March 23, and President Trump signed the measure the next day, averting a government shutdown. The bill funding the federal government through September still faces a stiff deadline of Friday at midnight ET, but at least the details are now becoming clear: […]

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Driven by Drug Costs, Health Care Spending Ratchets Up

The price of health care in the United States shot up 2.2 percent in February compared to 1.6 percent overall annual growth in 2016 and 2017, according to statistics gathered and released by health care consultancy Altarum. The lowest annual growth rate — 1.1 percent — came in 2015. At the same same, hospital prices […]

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CMS Blocks Idaho’s Attempt to Circumvent Obamacare

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) yesterday stepped in to void Idaho’s attempt to sell health insurance policies that do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS Administrator Seema Verma sent a letter to Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, and Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron saying […]

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20 States File Suit to Have ACA Ruled Unconstitutional

Using as its basis the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which repealed the tax penalty for not having health insurance, a coalition of 20 states has filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal court asking that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be declared unconstitutional. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III explained the reasoning: […]

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Trump Administration Follows Through on Longer-Term Skimpy Health Plans

In direct response to President Trump’s October 2017 Executive Order, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury today issued a proposed rule that is intended to increase competition, choice, and access to lower-cost healthcare options for Americans. The rule proposes to expand the availability of short-term, limited-duration health insurance by […]

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GOP to Seek ‘Incremental’ Health Care Reform

While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) told Fox Business that the new Republican goal was to seek “incremental” health care reform rather than repeal-and-replace, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R.-Texas) said separately that the employer shared responsibility mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be high on the chopping block. […]

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HHS Chief Says He Will Uphold the ACA

Health and Human Services (HHS) head Alex Azar, when pressed about the legality of Idaho’s plan to market non-Affordable Care Act (ACA) health policies, affirmed his support for the 2010 legislation that in essence federalizes standards for health insurance. “I’m not aware that our opinions or views have been solicited,” Azar said. “There are rules, […]

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