Many American conservatives oppose universal health insurance because they see it as fundamentally antithetical to a free society. “If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price,” wrote a guest editorialist in the ]Wall Street Journal in 2009. But according to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage. It turns out that the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.

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The strange, twisted journey to the Supreme Court of a case that threatens to unravel President Barack Obama’s namesake heath care legislation began five years ago in the quiet of a Greenville, S.C., law office.

It was summer 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had been signed into law a few months before on March 23. Tom Christina had been asked by his firm to study it and assess its implications for clients.

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Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist whose comments about the health-care law touched off a political furor, worked more closely than previously known with the White House and top federal officials to shape the law, previously unreleased emails show.

The emails, provided by the House Oversight Committee to The Wall Street Journal, cover messages Mr. Gruber sent from January 2009 through March 2010. Committee staffers said they worked with MIT to obtain the 20,000 pages of emails.

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The fiscal year 2016 budget resolution passed by Congress in May requires the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to include the macroeconomic feedback effects of changes in policy on the budget when evaluating major legislation (CBO and JCT are the official number crunchers of Congress).

Specifically, Section 3112 of the resolution requires CBO and JCT to “incorporate the budgetary effects of changes in economic output, employment, capital stock, and other macroeconomic variables resulting from such major legislation.”

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Voters will weigh many factors when assessing the Republican candidates for president in 2016, including their professional experience, leadership qualities, political dispositions, and other important attributes. These are all important considerations, of course. But governing is mainly a question of deciding on a policy and then implementing it. And so voters will be eager to hear what the candidates would actually do if elected.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420039/who-will-be-candidate-plan-james-c-capretta

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Health insurance premiums are poised to go up for 220,000 Oregonians who buy their own coverage, according to the state’s proposed rates unveiled Thursday.

In some cases, insurance companies proposed rates that were similar to or better than the current rates, but they were told by the state that they must be raised. The state says the cost of medical care has far outstripped revenue, forcing insurers to dip into reserve funds.

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The House on Thursday voted to repeal a medical device tax that Minnesota’s medical technology sector lobbied extensively to kill.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., the bill’s lead sponsor, expressed delight at the lopsided 280-140 vote. “I knew support was broad and deep” to get rid of the 2.3 percent tax on device sales, Paulsen told the Star Tribune.

Minnesota’s other Republican representatives, John Kline and Tom Emmer, voted to kill the tax, as did three of the state’s five Democratic congressmen — Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz. Concerns about the tax’s impact on jobs and innovation drove their votes.

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More than 220,000 Oregonians who buy their own health insurance are poised to pay higher premiums next year — some of them a lot higher.

State regulators on Thursday announced rates for people who aren’t covered by their employers or government programs. And the news is not good.

While some insurers proposed rates similar to or better than this year’s, officials are ordering them to be raised — saying they need to close a sizable gap between what insurers have collected and what they spend on claims.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pushing back against the idea of Republicans simply continuing ObamaCare subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law.

At a press conference Thursday, Boehner was asked why a House GOP plan included repeal of the individual mandate, which would just be “veto-bait” for President Obama, and why Republicans would not just extend subsidies through the presidential election while looking for concessions elsewhere in exchange.

“Clearly, we’re interested in protecting those millions of Americans who could lose their subsidies. But, as I said, we are not interested in protecting a fundamentally broken law,” Boehner said.

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The House defied a White House veto threat and voted Thursday to abolish a tax on medical device makers as a group of Democrats uncharacteristically joined Republicans in moving to kill part of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Thursday’s 280-140 House vote was exactly the two-thirds margin that supporters would need to override a presidential veto. The real suspense will come in the Senate, which voted overwhelmingly to repeal the levy in 2013, but in a nonbinding roll call lacking the political pressures of a veto showdown.

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