District residents who want to purchase individual insurance plans on the city’s health exchange will have fewer options next year.

In fact, individuals searching for more flexibility than that offered by health maintenance organizations will have just one carrier to choose from — and the cost for some of its plans may jump by double digits.

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For a Southern state where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular and Republicans dominate federal elections, Kentucky stands out for having created a well-regarded health exchange and having expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That dynamic will be put to the test in November’s gubernatorial election.

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Get Covered Illinois, the state Obamacare exchange, which has been housed in the governor’s office, will be moving to the Illinois Department of Insurance on Aug. 1.

The announcement comes one day after the exchange confirmed plans to lay off most of its employees on July 31.

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The Obama administration issued new rules on Friday that allow closely held for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby Stores to opt out of providing women with insurance coverage for contraceptives if the companies have religious objections.

Women enrolled in such health plans would still be able to get birth control at no cost, the administration said. Insurers would pay for contraceptive services, but the payments would be separate from the employer’s health plan.

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The Obama administration on Friday set final rules for contraception coverage in workers’ health insurance plans, putting in place rules that are unlikely to satisfy some religious employers who object to birth control.

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The cost of covering people who qualified for Medicaid as part of the federal health law was significantly higher than expected in 2014, federal actuaries said Friday.

Adults who became eligible for Medicaid as a result of the health law’s expansion of the program to include most low-income Americans incurred average medical costs of $5,517, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services office of the actuary said.

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A top House Republican on Friday vowed to keep fighting to repeal ObamaCare through budget reconciliation even as the tactic is losing support from some within the GOP.

“We want to use reconciliation to go after ObamaCare,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Friday.

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The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make insurance, well, more affordable. But now hard results are starting to emerge: premium surges that often average 10% to 20% and spikes that sometimes run as high as 50% or 60% or more from coast to coast. Welcome to the new abnormal of ObamaCare.

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Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) wants to exempt schools from the employer mandate under ObamaCare.
The healthcare law’s employer mandate requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance.
The South Dakota senator and chairman of the Senate Republican Conference is including his proposal as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate’s overhaul of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

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For the first time, the Obama administration has deployed an important new power it has under the Affordable Care Act: proposing to pay doctors and hospitals based on the quality of care they provide, regardless of whether they want to be paid that way.

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