The Republican assertion that the administration is spending on health insurance subsidies without required congressional authority hasn’t gotten much news coverage. Many people dismiss it as yet another time-wasting attempt by Republicans to undermine the president’s signature domestic policy achievement.

But the central issue goes beyond health care to the fundamental division of federal power, particularly in a time of deep fissures between the legislative and executive branches.

Congress is supposed to approve every penny of federal spending. But the institution is in such partisan disarray that the appropriations process barely functions, giving rise to the temptation for presidents to assert greater power over the purse, marginalizing Congress.

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In 2013, one Affordable Care Act component taking effect — a medical device excise tax — imposed a new financial burden on American Laboratory Products Co.

The 2.3 percent tax on revenue took a bite out of the company’s bottom line, “no question about it,” said Sean Conley, president of the family-owned-and-operated Alpco. “This obviously has an impact on where our funds go and makes it a bit more challenging to continue to create new jobs.”

The controversial medical device tax was a focus of conversation Friday when U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte visited the company for a discussion and tour.

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The battle between congressional Republicans and the White House over the Affordable Care Act is again escalating—in court and on Capitol Hill.

The administration on Wednesday appealed a federal trial judge’s ruling that the government is improperly reimbursing insurers under a program to cover discounts for low-income consumers.

And House Republicans on Thursday began two days of hearings to hammer away at the issue. They released a report that said the administration distributed the funds even though it was aware it needed Congress’s approval.

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An investigation by House Republicans argues that the Obama administration is illegally making certain payments under ObamaCare and that officials initially recognized they did not have authority to do so before reversing course.

House Republicans argue that the administration is unconstitutionally making ObamaCare’s “cost sharing reduction” payments to insurers — which help lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs for low-income ObamaCare enrollees — without a congressional appropriation.

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Obamacare enrollment has a smoking problem.

A new study from the Yale School of Public Health finds that an anti-smoking provision in the health law is discouraging people from signing up for insurance while simultaneously failing to get them to kick the habit.

Under the Affordable Care Act, individual health insurance plans sold on statewide marketplaces can only set how high their premiums are based on three factors: a customer’s geographic region, age, and smoking status. This is meant to let health insurers adjust their prices for how much medical care an enrollee may wind up using.

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House Republicans on Thursday released an investigative report and held the first of two hearings questioning the legality of Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction program. That program is also the subject of a House lawsuit against the administration.

At issue is whether the cost-sharing program is legally funded. House Republicans, through an investigation conducted by the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees, concluded that the health care law does not provide funding for the cost-sharing program.

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It’s policymaking 101: When a policy delivers benefits to people, support for the policy grows. Political scientists call situations like these “policy feedback loops,” and they are a big part of the story of how Social Security and Medicare became so entrenched in American life. But what happens if hyper-partisanship stops the loop? Consider the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over the past four years, some 20 million people have gained health coverage and the already-insured have received new protections. But public opinion of the ACA has remained mixed.

The numbers are stark. Monthly tracking polls show that 49 percent hold unfavorable views of the ACA versus just 38 percent holding favorable views.

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Republicans and Democrats continued to talk at each other Friday about Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction program in an Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee hearing.

The hearing was the second in two days following the release of a GOP report claiming that payments to the administration’s program were made illegally.

Republicans suggested that the way the payments have been handled sets a dangerous precedent for the future and nullifies Congress’s power of the purse. Democrats chalked the investigation up as yet another GOP attempt to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. They also said since there is already a court case on the matter, Congress doesn’t need to do its own investigation.

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Employees contribute far below the maximum amount allowed to an individual-coverage or family-coverage health savings account (HSA), a sign consumers aren’t taking full advantage of the account’s tax benefits, according to a new analysis of consumer records.

Managing health costs, particularly for consumers in or approaching retirement, is considered a growth area for insurance agents and advisors doing comprehensive financial planning. HSAs are primed to play a key role.

More than 20 million Americans have access to health plans with HSAs, according to the trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Congress recently passed bipartisan legislation expanding the use and contribution limits for HSAs.

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During the first year of Obamacare’s implementation, the individual insurance market became less healthy while the uninsured and Medicaid populations became healthier, according to a new analysis.

A Health Affairs data analysis released Wednesday underscores the often stated observation that the Affordable Care Act has brought sicker, more expensive enrollees into the individual marketplace while healthier people have tended to resist enrollment.

The analysis uses information in the National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. It was conducted by officials from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Congressional Budget Office, and Social and Scientific Systems.

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