“A federal appeals court in Denver sided with Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. on Thursday in its legal battle against part of the Affordable Care Act. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals moved to reverse a lower court’s decision to deny Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s quest for an injunction against part of the Affordable Care Act that requires it to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives for some of its employees.”

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“The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.”

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“Small business owners’ fear of the effect of the new health-care reform law on their bottom line is prompting many to hold off on hiring and even to shed jobs in some cases, a recent poll found. ‘We were startled because we know that employers were concerned about the Affordable Care Act and the effects it would have on their business, but we didn’t realize the extent they were concerned, or that the businesses were being proactive to make sure the effects of the ACA actually were minimized,’ said attorney Steven Friedman of Littler Mendelson. His firm, which specializes in employment law, commissioned the Gallup poll.”

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“Obamacare is imposing a minimum benefit for insurance that is in excess of what many consumers purchase on their own today. And the law is imposing many new rules on what insurance companies may and may not take into account when setting premiums. There is no experience anywhere indicating that these kinds of changes will lower premiums. And there’s an abundance of evidence from state experiments indicating that these changes will increase premiums, and probably quite substantially.”

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“A program designed to help people enroll in ObamaCare could accept convicted felons as ‘navigators’ and give them access to confidential health information, GOP lawmakers charged Thursday. Republican senators redoubled their attacks on the ‘navigator’ program in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, arguing the effort is dangerous to consumers and a waste of taxpayer money.”

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“Mr. Alito pointed out that young, healthy adults today spend an average of $854 a year on health care. ObamaCare would require them to buy insurance policies expected to cost roughly $5,800. The law, then, isn’t just asking them to pay for ‘the services that they are going to consume,’ he continued. ‘The mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies . . . to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else.'”

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“The change has allowed Massachusetts to raise its Medicare payout by $257 million, forcing cuts to hospitals in 40 other states. The National Rural Health Association and 20 state hospital associations in January sent a panicked letter to President Obama, noting that the Massachusetts manipulation of the program would hand that state $3.5 billion over the next 10 years at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries everywhere. They quoted Mr. Obama’s former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick, admitting that ‘What Massachusetts gets comes from everybody else.'”

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“Government officials have missed several deadlines in setting up new health-insurance exchanges for small businesses and consumers—a key part of the federal health overhaul—and there is a risk they won’t be ready to open on time in October, Congress’s watchdog arm said. The Government Accountability Office said federal and state health officials still have major work to complete, offering its most cautious comments to date about the Obama administration’s ability to bring the centerpiece of its signature law to fruition.”

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“Those two coverage areas – the individual and small group markets – face the biggest rule and cost changes next year, when the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act finally kick in. Early rate proposals around the country are a mix of steep hikes and modest increases.”

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“Whatever the reason for the reluctance of the state created exchanges to include private business participants, the end result is that taxpayers will spend millions of dollars unnecessarily while fewer people are likely to be enrolled in qualified health insurance programs—and that is just wrong.”

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