“The Great Debate, you see, is not a debate but, rather, dueling monologues, spoken in mutually unintelligible languages that use the same words, grammar and syntax.”

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“California’s insurance marketplace for small businesses has attracted just a fraction of eligible companies, with most being deterred by technology glitches, paperwork delays and customer service problems.”

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“The most important, and uncertain, provision of Obamacare remains the individual mandate.

Obamacare’s authors believed it was crucial to the viability of the law to impose a new obligation on U.S. citizens and legal residents to enroll in government-approved health insurance. This new obligation was to be enforced by a penalty on the non-compliant, collected through the income tax.”

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“The White House’s new pick to run Obamacare will kick off her confirmation battle Thursday with the first of two grillings from Senate Republicans.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell has a very strong chance of getting confirmed with strong support of Senate Democrats and even some Republicans who have indicated that they could vote for her, barring a significant gaffe or a skeleton discovered in her closet.”

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“President Barack Obama’s nominee to take over the federal health care agency — and assume responsibility for his health care overhaul — is making her first appearance before senators who will help decide her confirmation.”

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“Insurance company executives on Wednesday told Congress that high proportions of people signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act paid their first month’s premium, fueling the partisan fight over the impact of the health law.”

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“Top health insurance companies told members of Congress Wednesday that more than 80 percent of people who’ve signed up under the president’s new health care law have gone on to pay their premiums — a necessary step for the enrollment figures touted by the Obama administration to hold up.”

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“There’s already a mountain of problems waiting for Sylvia Mathews Burwell at HHS. And that mountain will probably grow even bigger by the time she’s confirmed.”

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“While health policy observers are mainly focused on the number of people enrolled in the new federal and state marketplaces, fewer are keeping a close eye on fairly big changes in the estimates and projections for enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans. The number of Medicare beneficiaries in Medicare private plans reached an all-time high this year of nearly 16 million beneficiaries, 6.3 million higher than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had projected in 2010 soon after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted (Figure 1). The CBO now projects Medicare Advantage enrollment will reach 22 million beneficiaries by 2020, more than double the number projected shortly after the ACA was enacted.”

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“Don Berwick – who, as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, oversaw large chunks of the early implementation of the Affordable Care Act – is trying to shake up the health policy world again. He ran CMS from July 2010 to December 2011, and left because Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation to lead the agency permanently. Now, more than two years later, he is a long-shot Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts and the heart of his platform is a single-payer health plan.”

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