“Oregon and Washington state strongly embraced Obamacare and opened their own health insurance exchanges. The states are similar, not just geographically but politically, economically and demographically. As the first enrollment season winds down, Washington has some of the best results in the country. Next door, Oregon’s exchange website is still broken.”

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“A few weeks ago the Obama Administration reported that enrollment in the new insurance marketplaces topped four million through the end of February, then five million by mid- March, showing steady progress since the website woes of October. News organizations jumped on the numbers. Would they get to six million enrollees this year, a target many use for the law? If they do, do they have enough young adults to balance the risk pool? If they don’t, won’t premiums skyrocket? The scorecards were out.”

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“The Obama administration’s decision to let some consumers enroll in health plans beyond Monday’s deadline sparked concern among insurers and prompted fresh attacks from opponents of the health law.

A surge of consumers is expected to hit HealthCare.gov before Monday’s deadline to sign up for insurance and avoid a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. In the past, heavy traffic has stalled the federal site.”

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“The ACA gave states a number of choices in how to implement the broad coverage changes it required. As such, health reform looks different from state to state, and the impact of the ACA may or may not differ because of these state decisions. This Data Brief examines a number of choices related to the establishment and running of the new health insurance marketplaces, and their potential impact on enrollment rates to date. We use existing data sources as well as a new database, HIX 2.0, which provides a rich array of state-level variables to provide an ongoing picture of ACA implementation. HIX 2.0, developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, documents and codes state-level variation in the political setting, institutional structures, and operational decisions likely to affect outcomes on the marketplaces.”

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“The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.”

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“U.S. consumers eligible for Obamacare health plans could see double-digit price hikes next year in states that fail to draw large numbers of enrollees for 2014, including some states that have been hostile to the healthcare law, according to insurance industry officials and analysts.”

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“The Obama administration announced they hit their revised goal of 6 million enrollees on the Affordable Care Act exchanges this week, several days before enrollment closes tomorrow. Politically, hitting this benchmark is an important symbol for the administration, as it has struggled to recover from the disastrous rollout of the insurance exchange websites this fall. But policy-wise, it doesn’t mean nearly as much. And it may take until 2016 to really see if the law is successful at consistently getting lots of Americans affordable health insurance.”

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“The Fact Checker has written often about the problems with claims based on the number of new insurance enrollees under the Affordable Care Act. Yet here is the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate trotting out the same tired talking point. So let’s review what’s wrong with this figure, especially if someone is using it to claim that these people are all newly insured.”

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“Health insurance reform was long overdue. But did it need to be done the way the architects of the Affordable Care Act did it?

Obamacare was enacted, and the private health insurance market fundamentally changed, so that we could cover millions of people who previously couldn’t get coverage.”

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“House Republicans have called the White House’s bluff on Obamacare’s mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance. And Democrats are mad.

On Friday, House Republicans approved a bipartisan deal to end the threat of a 24 percent pay cut for physicians treating Medicare patients. After a decade of delaying ever-increasing reductions called for by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, it is clear that Congress will find some way to avoid hitting doctors this hard in an election year.”

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