“Florida Democrats hoping the fight over Medicaid expansion and the sequester would win them support with those who depend on federal funding won’t find much encouragement in Tuesday’s special election for House District 2. In the first referendum since House Republicans bypassed more than $50 billion in federal aid for health care, Mike Hill, a 55-year-old tea party Republican insurance agent, won 57.9 percent of the vote in a Northwest Florida district that has an economy dominated by hospitals as well as the military — which is weathering a sequester deal rife with budget cuts forced by congressional Republicans.”

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“Ohio Department of Insurance officials announced last week that average premiums in the Buckeye state would soar 88 percent once President Obama’s health care law kicks in. The news added fuel to an already raging debate over Obamacare’s effect on insurance costs. Ohio’s insurance department disclosed that a total of 14 insurance companies had proposed rates on 214 plans to be offered through the federally run insurance exchange set to open on Oct. 1 and begin providing benefits in January.”

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“It’s called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama’s health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels. That might seem strange since the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer ‘affordable’ coverage or face fines.”

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“For years I have been writing about the failures of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service as a warning for what the Affordable Care Act will do to health care here in the U.S. London’s Daily Mail has chronicled the problems with the NHS, which include declining quality of care and availability of services coupled with increased costs. This is what is in store for us, if Congress does not repeal Obamacare.”

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“Teams of technology experts are racing to finish building government websites that will allow people to shop and sign up for health insurance this October. People involved in the effort say to expect some problems, at least initially. The functioning of the websites—which will enable people without health insurance to enroll in plans offered through a federal or state insurance exchange—will play a major role in determining whether the Affordable Care Act is deemed a success or failure, since the 2010 law’s prime objective was to bring coverage to those who lack it.”

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“A closer examination of these health plans reveals a less rosy picture. Although the premiums are lower than some anticipated, this has been achieved by designing the plans around much more limited provider networks and including greater cost-sharing than the typical commercial health-insurance plan. The premiums for the policies that will be offered on the states’ exchanges are much higher than analogous plans being sold today.”

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“The Affordable Care Act was sold as a tool to lower health costs. In case you missed it, the claim is right there in the law’s title. The new Democratic position is that the entitlement will do the opposite but never mind, which is at least more honest. But we wonder how long this new candor will last. If the public reacts badly to these higher premiums, the authors of ObamaCare will soon be back to blaming insurance companies and Republicans.”

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“The health law’s supporters are now admitting that premiums will go up for some young and health individuals buying health insurance through the exchange. But they say it’s not entirely fair to make a comparison between individual plans bought on an exchange and today’s plans, because exchange plans offer a far richer set of benefits. Nor should this really come as a shock to anyone, because this is what people were told to expect.”

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“The IRS has put a top official in charge of implementing Obamacare on administrative leave after it was discovered he had accepted $1,162 in free food and other items during a 2010 conference. In a statement, the IRS confirmed that two employees have been placed on administrative leave — which is paid — and have begun the process of removing them.”

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“Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) on Wednesday said he was poised to unveil a wide-ranging replacement plan for the president’s healthcare reform law… The bill will not require individuals to buy insurance, something called for under the president’s healthcare reforms. Instead, the bill will offer tax deductions and advanced tax credits to purchase insurance.”

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