“A state-run health insurance exchange is unlikely to be ready for a scheduled January 2014 rollout, Pennsylvania’s top insurance regulator said Wednesday. Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine said development of the online exchange—a key element of the federal Affordable Care Act—has stalled because too many questions about its cost and other operational details remain unanswered by the federal government.”

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“In fact, if the president makes no appointments, or the Senate rejects the president’s appointees, then all of IPAB’s considerable powers fall to one person: the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The HHS secretary would effectively become an economic dictator, with more power over the health care sector than any chamber of Congress.”

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“President Obama’s plan to control Medicare spending — an expert board of cost-cutters — might have trouble even coming into existence. Obama and Mitt Romney spent a lot of time during Wednesday’s debate talking about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member panel tasked with slowing the growth in Medicare spending.”

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“Nearly half of the people ObamaCare is supposed to cover will be enrolled in the Medicaid program. Past research by Obama health advisors, Jon Gruber and David Cutler, have found that half to three-quarters of newly enrolled, Medicaid enrollees were previously insured with private coverage — often this is because employers dropped the employee health plan knowing Medicaid would pick up the slack. Studies have found Medicaid coverage is inferior to private coverage.”

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“Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says the 2010 federal health care overhaul is slowing Mississippi’s economy because business owners are confused about how much it will cost them to meet demands of the law.”

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“Recently, Sears and Darden Restaurants (the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden) revealed plans to change how they provide benefits to their workers. Instead of selecting a plan for the workers, the two companies will give them cash directly to purchase insurance from an online marketplace. Creating private insurance exchanges is a simple but potentially game-changing approach to health insurance coverage.”

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“It’s disappointing news for the architects and participants of accountable care, hoping that the alternative payment model would curb healthcare spending. A new Health Affairs study found that Medicare accountable care organizations (ACO) that improved diabetes outcomes by as much as 10 percent had little to no effect on cost savings, MedPage Today reported.”

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“Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the American Action Forum (AAF) has tracked the state of its regulatory implementation. To date, the ACA has imposed a total of $27.6 billion in new regulations – at least $20.4 billion in lifetime costs on private entities and $7.2 billion in increased burdens on state budgets. In this paper AAF examines how this $27.6 billion in new costs break down on a state-by-state level. The data show that five states will endure at least $1 billion in ACA regulatory costs.”

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“In an experiment apparently aimed at keeping down the cost of health-care reform, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has stopped offering full-time schedules to many hourly workers in at least a few Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters and LongHorn Steakhouses.”

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“President Obama’s healthcare law won’t erode employer-based health insurance — but it will raise some companies’ costs by nearly 10 percent, according to a new analysis from the Urban Institute. Although the law’s critics usually focus on small businesses, the new paper says medium-sized firms will see the biggest cost increase.”

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