ACA Calorie Count Mandate for Chain Restaurants Takes Effect

After years of delay, an Affordable Care  (ACA) Act rule requiring chain restaurants to label the calories in each item on their menu — and to provide sodium and other nutritional data on request — goes in effect today, May 7. Though some large restaurant chains have been posting calorie counts for years, and while […]

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House Farm Bill Contains Funds for Rural Association Health Plans

Tucked inside the massive House farm bill now under consideration is a measure to help fund rural association health plans to the tune of $65 million over four years, to be doled out at the secretary of Agriculture’s discretion. Under the bill, starting next year, the secretary  could grant up to 10 loans of no […]

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States Move to Fill in the Voids in Trumpcare

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) is still the law of the land, but the Trump administration has modified so many of its provisions — including the elimination of a tax penalty for not having health insurance — that the remaining parts of the ACA are forcing some states, and even citizen initiatives, to […]

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New Jersey Votes to Resurrect the Obamacare Individual Mandate

The New Jersey legislature has sent a bill to Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, that would reinstate the expiring individual health insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). Under terms of the bill — New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act — those who lack health insurance would be subject to a […]

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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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