“During last week’s State of the Union address, one item curiously went almost unmentioned. We heard all about President Obama’s past triumphs and future plans, but his health-care-reform law was strangely missing. Sure, there was one throwaway line about how Obamacare was reducing health-care costs, but the seminal achievement of the president’s first term was almost ignored. Perhaps that is because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has brought little good news of late.”

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“Cuts to Medicare Advantage will disproportionately hurt poor seniors and minorities, the health insurance industry said Thursday. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has pushed back hard against a proposed cut to private Medicare Advantage plans. The Obama administration proposed the 2 percent cut late last week.”

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“Federal and state officials and consumer advocates have grown worried that companies with relatively young, healthy employees may opt out of the regular health insurance market to avoid the minimum coverage standards in President Obama’s sweeping law, a move that could drive up costs for workers at other companies.”

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“Less than a year before Americans will be required to have insurance under President Obama’s healthcare law, many of its backers are growing increasingly anxious that premiums could jump, driven up by the legislation itself.”

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“Congressional opponents of Obamacare need to do two things in the months ahead. First, they need to pursue legislation that can contain and minimize Obamacare so that a future president and Congress can still change direction if they choose to do so. Second, Congress needs to continue to cultivate public opposition to Obamacare by highlighting strong bipartisan opposition to its worst features.”

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“On Wednesday Florida Republican Rick Scott became the latest GOP Governor to volunteer to shoulder some responsibility for ObamaCare, which has liberal sages gloating about a resistance-is-futile shift in the GOP. The media don’t want to discuss the substance, only the politics, so allow us to report how the flippers are justifying their flips.”

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“Spurred by the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of pilot programs called Accountable Care Organizations have been launched over the past year, affecting tens of millions on Medicare and many who have commercial health insurance… We believe that many of them will not succeed. The ACO concept is based on assumptions about personal and economic behavior—by doctors, patients and others—that aren’t realistic.”

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“Facing increasing losses in federal courts over Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, the Department of Health & Human Services last week promulgated a rule to expand exemptions for religious nonprofits. That sounds good, but what the government is actually doing is a sort of accounting shell game: employers will no longer have to pay for the products/services to which they objects, but the government requires them to contract with an insurance company that the government then requires to provide these products/services to employees who want them ‘for free.'”

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“For instance, the Obama team unilaterally decided to phase-in the guaranteed issue requirements of child-only policies, even though the law required this provision to be fully implemented by the fall of 2010. The administration delayed and then limited the W-2 reporting provisions for employers. These are just two examples.”

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“Gov. Scott Walker announced Wednesday that he won’t propose expanding Medicaid services in Wisconsin, joining other Republican governors who have decided to reject federal money for covering more low-income residents under the health care overhaul law. Instead, Walker outlined a hybrid approach that would allow more adults into the state health program, which he said would help cut the state’s uninsured rate of 14 percent in half.”

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