Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.

The CMS has made a handful of final changes to the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces for 2018, just a little more than a month before Donald Trump takes over the White House and congressional Republicans move to repeal the healthcare reform law.

A final rule published late Friday cements many of the CMS’ proposals from August. Some of the most notable changes involve the ACA’s permanent risk-adjustment program, which funnels money from insurers with lower-cost enrollees to companies that have higher-cost enrollees.

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Hundreds of insurers selling health plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces are being paid less than 2 percent of nearly $6 billion the government owes them for covering customers last year with unexpectedly high medical expenses.

The $96 million that insurers will get is just one-fourth of the sum that provoked an industry outcry a year ago, when federal health officials announced that they had enough money to pay health plans only 12.6 percent of what the law entitles them to receive.

This time, the Obama administration made no public announcement.

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Federal regulators Thursday night extended the midnight deadline for Affordable Care Act insurance by four days, as consumers fought to get through to call center operators and log onto Healthcare.gov to buy insurance that takes effect Jan. 1.

“Nearly a million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line,” Healthcare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan said in a statement late Thursday. “Our goal is to provide affordable coverage to everyone seeking it before the deadline, and these two additional business days will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage.”

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Tennessee taxpayers, beware. President Obama’s administration is quietly implementing one last massive taxpayer-funded bailout for special interests.

This bailout would prop up the Affordable Care Act only months before the law will likely be repealed.

So which special interests are getting your money? Health-insurance companies. Six years ago, health insurers were some of the Affordable Care Act’s biggest fans. They lobbied for the law because they thought it would be a financial windfall — it literally forces Tennesseans to buy their product.

But instead of finding gushers of cash, they’re drowning in red ink. Health insurers in Tennessee and across the country lost $3.2 billion in 2014 and over $10 billion in 2015. This year’s losses will be even higher.

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Only four of the original 24 Obamacare health co-ops remain standing after Maryland’s co-op announced Dec. 8 it was suspending the sale of individual health insurance policies, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has found.

With the near-collapse of Maryland’s co-op — called Evergreen Health — at least 989,000 individuals nationwide have lost their health insurance coverage when the nonprofit co-ops stopped selling insurance to customers, according to TheDCNF’s tally.

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As Republicans prepare to undo the Affordable Care Act, defenders of the law warn that repeal will leave millions of seriously ill people unable to buy health insurance. President Obama claims repeal will mean going back to discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions.

In truth, ObamaCare discriminates against healthy people who have to buy their coverage in the individual market. ObamaCare forces them to pay the same price as the chronically ill, whose medical costs are ten times as high, on average.

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The GOP isn’t killing Obamacare. The program is already dead.

Andy Slavitt will step down as the government official overseeing Obamacare on January 20. He should be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Obamacare’s individual markets are a twisted wreckage. Insurers are fleeing them, consumers are shunning them, and Democrats are looking for someone to blame.

In addition to devolving regulatory authority to the states, federal policymakers should consider providing them with resources to reform markets and subsidize coverage. Instead of writing suffocating rules and enlisting the Internal Revenue Service to distribute subsidies and exact penalties, the federal government should set states free to innovate and hold them accountable for results.

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Oscar Insurance Corp., the Silicon Valley-backed health-care startup, continued to lose tens of millions of dollars in the third quarter as the company exits some markets and works to diversify away from of its Obamacare business.

The New York-based company sells health insurance to individuals in new markets set up by the Affordable Care Act. Its attempt to reinvent the insurance business has been marked by large losses — in the third quarter, closely held Oscar lost $45 million in New York, Texas and California, according to filings with regulators. That follows losses of $83 million in those states during the first six months of this year.

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Donald Trump hadn’t been president-elect for a week when he appeared to abandon his oft-repeated pledge to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. In interviews with the Wall Street Journal and 60 Minutes, Trump appeared to want to keep, or at least to be willing to accept, the Affordable Care Act’s centerpiece: it’s supposed prohibition on discrimination against health-insurance applicants with pre-existing conditions. Ramesh Ponnuru, my friend and a senior editor of these pages, says the downside of Trump’s triangulation is that retaining those provisions “makes it much, much harder to get rid of the individual mandate” — as if the mandate were the bigger problem. On the contrary, the pre-existing-conditions provisions are the centerpiece of Obamacare.

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In an ongoing backdoor attempt to pay off insurers burned by President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is creating the framework needed to implement a “public option,” the precursor to a single-payer health-care system. Distracted by the presidential election and the news that ACA insurance premiums will increase by an average of 25 percent in 2017, many have failed to notice the administration’s plan to use a special U.S. Department of Justice fund, called the Judgment Fund, to funnel billions of dollars to insurers without congressional approval. If it successfully executes this plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will have circumvented Congress to secure a taxpayer bailout for insurers — directly contradicting Congress’s intentions as expressed by multiple spending bills, and possibly violating federal law.
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