Hillary Clinton has officially joined the hue and cry for repealing the “Cadillac tax,” a controversial but important Obamacare provision slated to take effect in 2018.

Despite the cutesy vehicular nickname, this tax is actually on high-cost health insurance plans (those costing at least $10,200 for a single person and $27,500 for families). It’s no wonder that Clinton, like other poll-sensitive or perhaps misguided politicians, has come out against it: This tax, like so many other taxes, has proved hugely unpopular, repelling an unholy alliance of unions, businesses and the public at large.

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Like premiums, the Cadillac tax will be entirely borne by workers. Whether it is passed on as a hike in premium or a reduction in wage growth is a secondary matter.

The Employer Benefits Survey, which the KFF has sponsored for many years, continues to be an important and excellent resource. The whole survey is worth reading.

– See more at: http://healthblog.ncpa.org/health-plan-deductibles-grew-seven-times-faster-than-wages/#sthash.Xt2a7Gif.dpuf

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It’s time for the Affordable Care Act to join a long list of oxymorons. Why? Because rather like “military intelligence,” “cat proof,” “government organization,” and “simple calculus,” the law better known as Obamacare turns out to be an inherent contradiction. For a sizeable part of the population, anyway.

The ACA is just not affordable to a big chunk of those it was most meant to serve: The previously uninsured. In fact, many are worse off than before, according to a new study. That fact could also unravel part of the program’s foundation, which could be a problem for healthcare insurers.

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Health insurers will lose about $2.5 billion because patients covered through President Barack Obama’s health law last year were sicker than expected, according to government figures released late Thursday.

The Department of Health and Human Services released updated numbers for a program that helps stabilize premiums in the health care law’s insurance markets, which offer taxpayer-subsidized private plans. Under that program, insurers whose medical claims costs were lower than expected pay in money to help insurers whose costs were higher.

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A congressional oversight committee recently renewed its request for documents from an ethically suspect Internal Revenue Service, which ignores such requests with impunity. But this time, the Supreme Court has taken away the agency’s excuse for not cooperating.

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The Senate passed legislation on Thursday intended to protect small and midsize businesses from increases in health insurance premiums, clearing the bill for President Obama’s expected signature.

The action by Congress was a rare example of bipartisan agreement on how to revise the Affordable Care Act.

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An Affordable Care Act program meant to ease risks for health insurers in the law’s new marketplaces will initially pay many companies less than they expected, likely putting financial strain on some.

Federal authorities said that insurers will at first receive only about 12.6% of the money that they requested from the program, known as risk corridors, for 2014, its first year of operation. Insurers have requested approximately $2.87 billion in payments from the program based on their 2014 results. But the pool available to make those payments is just $362 million, which came from collections from other insurers that did relatively well on their marketplace business.

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The goal of all insurance plans is to provide the right services to the right patient population. Insurance eligibility is a big factor, and companies spend a lot of time and effort determining if their patients qualify for coverage. The question of eligibility is also critical to the operation of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces, and a recent OIG report found problems within the New York state marketplace that potentially led to ineligible enrollees.

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Representatives from the 18 nonfederal initiatives GAO reviewed described a variety of efforts they are undertaking to achieve or facilitate electronic health record (EHR) interoperability, but most of these initiatives remain works in progress. EHR interoperability is the ability of systems to exchange electronic health information with other systems and process the information without special effort by the user, such as a health care provider. These initiatives’ efforts include creating guidance related to health data standards, encouraging the adoption of certain health data standards or policies that facilitate interoperability, and operating networks that connect EHR systems to enable interoperability.

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On the same day Hillary Clinton backed killing ObamaCare’s “Cadillac tax” on high-cost plans, Paul Ryan’s House Ways and Means Committee voted to kill it too.

The real news will be if a politician not named Obama comes out in favor of it. It’s so unpopular among unions that even Vice President Joe Biden, if he enters the race, will likely run from it.

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