“WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has discovered a number of defects in the online marketplace that will offer health insurance to millions of small-business employees, but federal officials said the problems could probably be fixed before the website goes live on Nov. 15.
The website, for businesses with 50 or fewer employees, was created by the Affordable Care Act and was supposed to open Oct. 1, 2013, but officials could not meet that deadline. Since then, they have been trying to build the site.”

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“Heading into the highly consequential midterm elections, voters continue to give the U.S. health care system less than stellar reviews and believe it will get worse under the national health care law.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 36% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the nation’s health care system as good or excellent, though that’s up from 32% in September and is the highest positive rating since April. Thirty-two percent (32%) still give it poor marks, showing no change from the previous survey.”

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“The Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio has a possible scoop buried in her post today on Republican efforts to peal back Obamacare after the election. Speaking of Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Ferrechio writes:
“Barrasso said the GOP would also take up legislation to block the Obama administration from reimbursing insurers who lose money in the healthcare exchanges.””

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“A lot of attention has been paid to what a shift in control of the Senate in the midterms might mean for the Affordable Care Act and other big policy issues. As ACA implementation has shifted to the states, governor’s races may be just as important, particularly when it comes to whether states expand Medicaid.
Six of the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid have toss-up governor’s races: Alaska, where Republican incumbent Sean Parnell is running against independent Bill Walker; Florida, the most closely watched race, where former governor Charlie Christ, now running as a Democrat, is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Scott; Georgia, where incumbent Republican Nathan Deal is trying to hold off Democratic state legislator Jason Carter; Kansas, where state legislator Paul Davis is challenging Gov. Sam Brownback; and Wisconsin, where Gov.

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“The Left is trying to tell us that ObamaCare has receded as a campaign issue because voters are by and large satisfied with the law.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but the White House cannot allow the actual story to be told because it would undermine their narrative that ObamaCare is becoming more popular now that it is being implemented.”

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“Call it drugs for the departed: A quirky bureaucratic rule led Medicare’s prescription drug program to pay for costly medications even after the patients were dead.
That head-scratching policy is now getting a second look.
A report released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general said the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient’s death — at odds with the program’s basic principles, not to mention common sense.”

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“Health insurers increasingly are building and staffing bricks-and-mortar retail centers to potentially expand their membership base and, most importantly for now, enhance their brand image with the public.
The retail approach represents a major pivot in insurer tactics to grow their books of business brought on by changes in how consumers get insurance thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

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“Republicans have been eerily quiet about the president’s health care law on the campaign trail lately. But that’s likely to change if the GOP is victorious and wins control of the Senate next week.Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told Fox News this week that taking aim at Obamacare is at the top of his list of priorities that he wants the Senate to address next year. If the senator wins his fiercely competitive re-election campaign and the GOP clenches a Senate majority, he will likely take over as the majority leader—having the luxury of calling as many repeal Obamacare votes as he wants.”

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“Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, said Thursday that about 42,000 customers around the state received insurance renewal letters with incorrect rates, some showing cost increases of more than 100 percent.
The Chapel Hill company has been flooded with calls since Wednesday from irate customers who began receiving their renewal notices this week. Blue Cross officials soon realized the insurance rates were incorrectly transferred from the company’s database to the computer-generated renewal notices.”

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“Remember when Democrats insisted they’d run in the midterms on the success of ObamaCare? Good times, good times. Granted, the last time Debbie Wasserman-Schultz uttered that bon mot was almost a year ago, and it was so ridiculous a notion even at that time (while the rollout melted down) that the DNC chair had to reiterate it three days later. Her Democratic colleagues in the House tried following through in January with an ad filled with anecdotes about all of the successes of the Affordable Care Act, which ran for, oh … sixty-six seconds. By April, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer backtracked to an argument that ObamaCare would have no impact on the election at all. Hoyer also said that Democrats would pick up seats in November.”

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