“States that experienced severe technical problems in running their ObamaCare exchanges would have to reimburse the federal government for the cost under a Republican bill introduced Wednesday.”

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“In his Monday Think Tank post previewing political and policy battles over insurance premium increases, Drew Altman wrote that “85% of those who purchase insurance in the new marketplaces will get a government subsidy in the form of a tax credit to help defray the cost of the premium. That means that most people buying in the exchanges won’t pay much even if their premium cost goes up significantly” in 2015.”

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“Arkansas’ “Private Option” Medicaid expansion has generated significant interest among red-state policymakers and the national press. And now that more data on the potential price tag is coming to light, Razorback taxpayers are taking notice too. Cost overruns are racking up and Arkansas officials are now considering asking for a Washington D.C. bailout, forcing all federal taxpayers to pick up the tab for a poorly-designed program. The state’s Medicaid director has abruptly resigned, and the political winds are gusting strongly against the program in Arkansas, at least among Republicans.”

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“As regular NRO readers will know, one of the key races that Republicans need to win in order to retake the U.S. Senate is occurring in Arkansas, where Representative Tom Cotton is challenging Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor. The race to replace Cotton in the House of Representatives, while not nearly as consequential, is also quite interesting, because a central issue in that campaign is the fact that the Republican-led state legislature worked with the Democratic governor to implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.”

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“Of all the various Republican health care reform ideas, the most popular by far is letting people buy health insurance across state lines. It polls off the charts, provokes spontaneous applause in town hall meetings, is the talk of conservative policy wonks and state lawmakers, and features in virtually every serious Obamacare-replacement plan.”

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“Last summer, the federal government was greeted with raised eyebrows when it awarded a UK-based firm a contract worth $1.2 billion to process Obamacare applications. At the same time, the company was being investigated for overbilling the British government tens of millions of pounds.

Though it managed to work through a year of Obamacare’s implementation relatively unnoticed, the contractor, Serco Inc., is back in the spotlight—and raising questions over the validity of its work.”

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“Senate GOP leaders on Tuesday called for a vote to kill ObamaCare’s tax on medical devices, as part of a broader package to revive tax breaks that expired at the end of last year.

But the tax package is popular with members of both parties, and it’s unclear if Republicans have the leverage to win a vote on the medical device tax.

Republicans stopped short of saying they would oppose the tax package without the medical device vote.”

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‘In a line that says a lot about where health care is heading under Obamacare, an insurance executive offering plans through the law was quoted in the New York Times on Tuesday as saying, “We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has.”’

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“That brings up a question I’ve been pondering: Why did the Barack Obama administration put exchanges, and particularly state-based exchanges, at the heart of the operation? Billions have now been spent setting them up, and they will cost more money to run — more than some of these states can really afford”

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“According to a new Avalere Health analysis, 17 of the 26 states that did not expand Medicaid in the first three months of 2014 still reported growth in Medicaid enrollment, ranging from 0.1 percent in Texas to 10.1 percent in Montana. Since these states had decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility levels under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these numbers show the impact of the “woodwork effect,” which is when individuals who were previously eligible, but not enrolled in Medicaid, newly sign up as a result of increased outreach and awareness. These enrollees may place a strain on state budgets, since states are required to contribute to the cost of their coverage based on traditional Medicaid matching rates.”

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