U.S. to Spend $685 Billion on Health Care Coverage for Those Under 65 in 2018

The federal government subsidizes health insurance for most Americans through a variety of programs and tax provisions. In 2018, net subsidies for non-institutionalized people under age 65 will total $685 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate. That amount includes the cost of preferential tax […]

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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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HHS, DOJ Turn Up the HEAT* on Health Care Fraud, Recover $2.6 Billion

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Jeff Sessions today released a fiscal year (FY) 2017 Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program report showing that for every dollar the federal government spent on healthcare related fraud and abuse investigations in the last three years, the government recovered $4. Additionally, the report […]

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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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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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Apple Developing Private Health Care System for Employees and Families

Following an announcement by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase, Apple is beating that alliance to the punch by opening its own health care delivery system this spring called AC Wellness. The initiative’s nascent website likens the new service to a “concierge” system focused on two primary care units to begin with: AC Wellness […]

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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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