“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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“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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