“A four-year slowdown in health spending growth could be coming to an end.

Americans used more medical care in 2013 as the economy recovered, new reports show. Federal data suggests that health care spending is now growing just as quickly as it was prior to the recession.”

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“Ezra Klein, in his new capacity as one of the impresarios behind Vox, has written a pair of attention-grabbing posts — here, and then here — defending the proposition that Obamacare has, in some sense, “won,” and that conservatives who can’t come to terms with that victory can’t come to terms with reality itself. Reading them, it struck me that this argument would benefit from laying down some specific markers for the near future, because Klein seems to move back and forth between two definitions of success.”

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“The Census Bureau is changing the way it calculates the number of people with health insurance, a move researchers say could obscure the true impact of ObamaCare.”

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“New Hampshire’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been one of the rockiest in the nation, putting Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on the front lines of Republican efforts to make the 2014 elections a referendum on the health law.”

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“House Republicans say they remain resolute in their opposition to using federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance to as many as 400,000 low-income Virginians.”

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“The Obama administration said on Tuesday that a midnight deadline for most people to finish health-insurance applications for private coverage this year wouldn’t be extended amid signs that enrollment waits had dissipated.”

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“Some people say that bipartisanship is dead. But if rumblings in the House are to be believed, cooperation on Obamacare may yet be possible. The “Save American Workers Act of 2014,” which passed the House 248-179 (with 18 Democrats voting in favor) amends the ACA to redefine “full-time employees” as being those who work 40 hours, rather than the 30 hour definition in the law. While this would have a relatively marginal effect when all is said and done (criticism of the bill has focused on those who are expected to lose coverage as a result – on net about 1 million people), it does begin to repeal an important budget gimmick in Obamacare – the employer mandate.”

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“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who led the government’s troubled rollout of the 2010 health-care law, will step down, her spokeswoman confirmed Thursday, capping a rocky five years in the Obama cabinet.”

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“It has been interesting watching the Democrats in recent days try very hard not to learn any lessons from the rollout of Obamacare. “

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“Medicaid, originally considered an afterthought to Medicare, is today the largest health insurance provider in the United States. Under the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office projects Medicaid enrollment to increase nearly 30 percent by 2024, and federal spending on the program to double over the next decade. For the states, Medicaid is already the largest single budget item, and its rapid growth threatens to further crowd out other spending priorities.

In this collection of essays, nine experts discuss the escalating costs and consequences of a program that provides second-class health care at first-class costs. The authors begin with an explanation of Medicaid’s complex federal-state funding structure. Next, they examine how the system’s conflicting incentives discourage both cost savings and efficient care.

The final chapters address the pros and cons of the most mainstream Medicaid reform proposals and offer alternative solutions.

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