“When I wrote last week about the slow start for Obamacare’s small business exchanges, I mentioned that some states could slow down the marketplaces’ progress even further in 2015 because of a possible delay recently created by the Obama administration.
The small business exchanges, like the law’s individual exchanges, are a virtual marketplace where businesses with 50 or fewer employees can compare health plans. Besides offering a limited tax credit, Obamacare small business exchanges, or SHOP, are supposed to offer one particular feature that changes the healthcare landscape for small companies: choice.”

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“The Obama administration is revamping HealthCare.gov and scrapping significant parts of the federal health-insurance marketplace in an effort to avoid the problems that plagued the site’s launch last fall, according to presentations to health insurers and interviews with government officials and contractors.

But the makeover—and the tight timeline to accomplish it—are raising concerns that consumers could face another rocky rollout this fall when they return to the site to choose health plans. Some key back-end functions,…”

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“Congressional budget scorekeepers estimated Thursday that only a fraction of the people without health insurance in 2016 will actually pay a penalty under ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

In a new analysis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said only 4 million of the 30 million who are expected to be uninsured in 2016 will pay a fine.”

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“For Democratic lawmakers who were hesitant to sign onto the sweeping 2010 health care law, one of the most powerful selling points was that the Affordable Care Act would actually reduce the federal budget deficit, despite the additional costs of extending health insurance coverage to the uninsured.
Four years after enactment of what is widely viewed as President Barack Obama’s key legislative achievement, however, it’s unclear whether the health care law is still on track to reduce the deficit or whether it may actually end up adding to the federal debt. In fact, the answer to that question has become something of a mystery.”

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“One in five Americans now gets their health insurance through the Medicaid program, new data released by the Obama administration Wednesday show.

Enrollment in the program has grown quickly in states expanding the public insurance program as part of Obamacare. Those states had 15.3 percent more enrollees than they did before the Medicaid expansion. Non-expansion states’ Medicaid programs have grown by 3.3 percent over the same time period.”

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“The federal health-care law was intended to create a uniform standard of health coverage across the U.S. But the law also is creating opportunities for states to pursue their own solutions.”

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“Colorado’s exchange managers have triggered confusion among their own finance committee board members on the eve of a critical vote Monday over future spending and revenues.

Health News Colorado on Thursday reported that board members were concerned that exchange managers had spent $10 million over the past year to sign up about 8,000 people through face-to-face enrollment centers.”

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“The board of Connect for Health Colorado will consider Monday whether to begin charging insurance carriers $1.25 a month for each policy on their books to generate more than $13 million for the state health exchange.”

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“Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called for the repeal of “every blessed word of ObamaCare” in a fiery speech to a crowd of conservatives in Texas on Friday.”

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“While an unprecedented 6 million people have gained Medicaid coverage since September, mostly as a result of the Affordable Care Act, more than 1.7 million more are still waiting for their applications to be processed—with some stuck in limbo for as long as eight months, according to officials in 15 large states.”

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