“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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“If all states implement the Affordable Care Act, 18 million more people will be enrolled in Medicaid by the end of 2016. Even if some states opt out, the program is poised for a huge expansion. But having insurance does not guarantee access to health care. Policymakers need to explore and reduce the barriers Medicaid patients face as millions join an already overburdened system.”

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“Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces for small businesses, which have already stumbled before getting out of the gate, are facing another pressing question just months before millions can sign up for benefits: What happens if insurers don’t show up to sell? Early looks at insurance offerings on the Obamacare exchanges show that insurers aren’t exactly signing up in droves to sell on the new Small Business Health Option Program exchanges.”

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“Conservatives and Republicans in Washington — activists, strategists, politicians — are increasingly embracing a theory about Obamacare: It’s going to collapse of its own weight, and its failure could yield a sharp right turn in the 2014 and 2016 elections. That theory is probably wrong, and dangerously so. To be rid of Obamacare, Republicans will have to do more than just wait for it to go away — and more than they have done so far.”

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“The bottom line: Thousands of newly minted MDs may be unable to find work as doctors while wrestling with enormous student loans. The median debt for medical students in 2012 was $170,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. ‘We’re looking at the reality of medical students in 2016 graduating and having no residency programs available,’ said Christiane Mitchell, AAMC director of federal affairs. ‘If you can’t guarantee residencies, then our best and brightest may look elsewhere.'”

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“Obamacare may cost more than experts previously thought, according to a survey of 900 employers released Wednesday. As companies scramble to prepare for a wave of new health care rules that go into effect next year, an increasing number have become pessimistic about the cost, according to Mercer, a benefits consulting firm. Roughly one in five employers (19 percent) now expect that health care costs will rise by more than 5 percent as the result of the law.”

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“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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