“The race for people to #GetCovered through Obamacare’s state and federal health insurance exchanges has officially crossed the wire. In its sixth and final enrollment report released late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services disclosed that a total of 8 million individuals have signed up for an Obamacare compliant plan within the individual health insurance market.”

“A few months into Obamacare’s coverage expansion, there’s been plenty of debate about where the millions of newly insured have obtained coverage — whether through the law’s exchanges, directly from an insurer, through expanded Medicaid or through an employer. The health-care law’s immediate impact is a little more clear in hospitals, which are starting to report who’s coming through their doors during the first months of expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act.”

“Two of the most controversial questions in health care reform are whether government-sponsored expansions of health insurance coverage like ObamaCare and RomneyCare save lives, and if so whether other policies could save more lives per dollar spent. “Changes in Mortality After Massachusetts Health Care Reform,” published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, presents evidence suggesting RomneyCare may have saved lives, but at a very high cost.”

“As you may know if you’re a regular reader of The Apothecary, the left has systematically ignored the mountains of clinical evidence showing that the Medicaid program doesn’t actually make people healthier. Given that Obamacare is designed to achieve half of its coverage expansion via Medicaid, you can understand why: if Medicaid doesn’t make people healthier, a significant chunk of Obamacare is wasted money. But the other chunk of Obamacare—the one that expands coverage using subsidized private-sector coverage—could indeed have an impact on health outcomes. An important new study, following the health outcomes of Romneycare in Massachusetts, shows us how.”

“Over the past several years, a major debate has broken out among health policy watchers as to whether expanding insurance actually saves lives. About a year ago, I reported on a landmark study in Oregon that found no real improvement in physical health among those who had gained access to Medicaid.”

“Celeste Castillo, a Guatemalan immigrant, was invited to a news conference with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius early last year to help promote enrollment in the country’s new health insurance marketplaces…Fourteen months later, the 57-year-old nanny was still uninsured.”

“New poll: Majority Oppose #ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in VA under .@GovernorVA. Why? @josharchambault explains:
New polling out of Virginia is sure to disrupt the media’s narrative on ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion that the public overwhelmingly supports it. The results could even have a ripple effect far beyond the Commonwealth’s borders as 24 other states still debate expansion.”

“In recent opeds for the Los Angeles Register and the Orange County Register, I explain how ObamaCare’s requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions at the same price as healthy people dramatically reduces the risks associated with not having health insurance, and therefore creates a perverse incentive for people to drop their coverage and wait until they get sick to re-enroll.”

“Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is considering expanding health coverage for the poor without the approval of the state legislature, a move that would muscle his top priority past Republican opponents but also throw his young administration into a partisan firestorm and uncertain legal territory.”

“My mother is not one to seek attention by complaining, so her recent woeful Facebook post caught my eye: “The poor get poorer.” It diverged from the more customary stream of inspirational quotes, recipes and snapshots from her tiny cottage in Pierce County, Wash. The post continued: “I just received a notice: ‘In order to comply with the new healthcare law, your current health plan will be discontinued on December 31, 2013.'”