In October 2013, Oregon was just another state whose Obamacare exchange failed to achieve lift-off when its Democrat governor attempted to abet the President in the launch of his “signature domestic achievement.” Shortly thereafter, Governor Kitzhaber earned two additional distinctions not enjoyed by Obama’s other accomplices: He was the first to abandon his constituents to Healthcare.gov, and resigned pursuant to an ethics scandal. Before leaving office, however, Kitzhaber made what may be the most outrageous decision of his tawdry tenure—he sicced his Attorney General on the IT firm that built the exchange as well as some of its employees.Details
A judge has approved a plan to partially pay hundreds of medical providers who are owed money by a Seneca-based health insurer that shut down due to fraudulent letters of credit. A state Insurance Department receivership has paid a “quarter on a dollar” to about 1,700 providers stuck with claims totaling $11.1 million from the collapse of the S.C. Health Cooperative.
A circuit judge in Columbia signed the “rehabilitation plan” Friday in the receivership that was prompted by a discovery last year that the cooperative used two letters of credit totaling $8 million that turned out to be fraudulent. In December, a judge appointed state Insurance Director Ray Farmer to be receiver of S.C. Health Cooperative finances after an audit showed the insurer to be financially insolvent, with $10.6 million in liabilities and $250,000 in assets.Details
On Tuesday, a Senate subcommittee is set to hear testimony from the chief executives of Aetna Inc., which plans to acquire Humana Inc., and Anthem Inc., which is seeking to buy Cigna Corp., as well as the head of the American Hospital Association.
The other big insurer, which isn’t testifying, is UnitedHealth Group Inc.Details
Forget “repeal and replace.” An obscure Obamacare provision that takes effect in 2017 could empower a Republican president to unravel Obamacare — without a single vote from Congress.
The provision allows the executive branch to waive big chunks of the law for a state that chooses a different approach to expanding health coverage. It was designed to allow progressive states to go further than Obamacare.
Obamacare is back in court.
This month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has standing to sue the Obama administration over how it spent federal money implementing the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit, brought by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), challenges billions of dollars the administration gave to insurers to reduce out-of-pocket costs for almost 6 million low-income Americans.Details
Health insurance premiums are rising because of Obamacare. And there is still one year left of the assorted reinsurance programs designed to mask premium increases, suggesting next year’s jumps will be even more eye-popping. That’s a political and logistical disaster for the Democrats who wrote the law and tied their political fortunes to its success. But rather than admit their law is too restrictive and come to the table to negotiate bipartisan reforms, Democrats and their insurance industry allies have decided on a cynical strategy: scapegoating drug companies.Details
Some Republicans are eyeing repeal of Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax” as part of a larger plan to roll back some of the law’s most unpopular and unworkable provisions. It is certainly a good idea to move legislation this year that begins to push back against Obamacare’s many excesses. But the Cadillac tax is the last provision Republicans should be targeting for repeal right now, and they certainly shouldn’t repeal it without replacing it with something more sensible.Details
Members of Congress from both parties, as well as some employers, insurers and state insurance commissioners, are calling for changes in the Affordable Care Act to prevent premium increases that are expected to affect workers at many small and midsize companies next year.
Lawmakers see the potential for a rare bipartisan agreement on the issue, after five years in which Republicans have repeatedly tried to repeal the law and Democrats have blocked their efforts.Details
A U.S. appeals court has ruled that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law violates the rights of religiously affiliated employers by forcing them to help provide contraceptive coverage even though they do not have to pay for it.
Parting ways with all other appeals courts that have considered the issue, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on Thursday issued a pair of decisions upholding orders by two lower courts barring the government from enforcing the law’s contraceptive provisions against a group of religiously affiliated employers.Details
More than a year after launching, state-run health insurance exchanges, including Connecticut’s, still hadn’t fully completed key information technology functions, federal auditors said in a report released Wednesday.
The Government Accountability Office’s report, which noted that states have spent close to $1.45 billion in federal funds on IT systems for the insurance marketplaces created by the federal health law, rated the 14 state-run exchanges’ capabilities as of February in four categories.Details