“The race for people to #GetCovered through Obamacare’s state and federal health insurance exchanges has officially crossed the wire. In its sixth and final enrollment report released late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services disclosed that a total of 8 million individuals have signed up for an Obamacare compliant plan within the individual health insurance market.”

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“Yesterday Massachusetts officials announced plans to default to Healthcare.gov, but also announced a quixotic sprint to try first try to rebuild the entire site in five months with a brand new, no-bid taxpayer-paid contract to health care software developer hCentive. This move comes eight months into open enrollment, after launching the worst performing exchange in the country, spending most of the $180 million from Washington and announcing that original contractor CGI would be fired—even though it is still working on the project. The announcement should leave taxpayers and policymakers scratching their heads and wondering about the lack of accountability, government management and procurement.”

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“Health care costs are too damn high—and they’re only getting worse. Last week, researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth released a report estimating that health care costs will continue to grow faster than the economy for at least the next two decades. This is a tremendous burden on average Americans, who already spend nearly a fifth of their average annual pre-tax income on health care.”

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“Remember Cash for Clunkers? That program gave car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in less fuel-efficient vehicles for new vehicles with better gas mileage. But because most of the vehicles garnering such rebates would have sold anyway, taxpayers ended up paying about $24,000 per additional car sale these incentives produced.[1] Obamacare appears to be in a fierce race to beat Cash for Clunkers to become the poster child for mismanagement of federal taxpayer resources.”

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“A new investor report predicts that Standard & Poor’s 500 companies could shift 90 percent of their workforce from job-based health coverage to individual insurance sold on the nation’s marketplaces by 2020.”

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“Republicans are redoubling their effort to halt future cuts to private Medicare plans under the Affordable Care Act, arguing the reductions would harm vulnerable seniors.

In a letter Monday, GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged the Obama administration not to implement further Medicare Advantage cuts ordered by the healthcare law.”

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“Despite Obamacare’s strong national enrollment numbers, several states are at risk for big premium hikes.

Each state is its own insurance market, and they had wildly different experiences during Obamacare’s first open-enrollment window. So although nationwide statistics are important for judging the law’s political success, the substantive tests for the law’s future mostly lie with the states—and some of them aren’t looking so hot.”

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“The first suggested Obamacare premium prices for 2015 don’t look so scary, but a few states could soon be in for some nasty sticker shock.

Health insurers that are still processing enrollments from Obamacare signups are at the same time setting their premiums for 2015 individual policies—and setting the stage for more debate about the Affordable Care Act.”

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“Massachusetts pioneered universal health care in 2006. Under then-Governor Mitt Romney, it was the first state to guarantee access to insurance — and drove its uninsured rate down to just 4 percent.

Which makes it baffling that Massachusetts did arguably the worst of any state in implementing Obamacare. Like a handful of ardent Obamacare supporters in other states, Massachusetts officials tried to pull off an ambitious launch — and failed badly.”

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“There’s been a dramatic turnaround in some Democrats’ thinking about Obamacare and the 2014 elections. Where lawmakers once sought to avoid blame for their national health care overhaul, they are now confident, energized and ready to rub the supposed success of Obamacare in their Republican opponents’ faces.”

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