The Senate spending bill to fund the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department in 2017 will maintain Affordable Care Act funding, according to a senior GOP aide.
“We will fund all of the things we need to fund to try to keep it bipartisan,” the aide told Morning Consult, adding that this means some Republicans, specifically Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), will accuse appropriators of funding Obamacare.
The Senate’s Appropriations subcommittee on labor and health will vote on the proposal Tuesday. The full committee is slated to advance the bill on Thursday.
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The top Justice Department official who defended the president’s health care law at the Supreme Court is leaving his job.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is ending his five-year tenure as the administration’s chief lawyer at the high court, President Barack Obama said in a statement Thursday.
Verrilli, 58, made the principal argument in defense of the health law against a major challenge in 2012 and an attack on subsidies for low-income Americans last year. The 2012 case took place in the midst of Obama’s re-election campaign, with the signature domestic achievement of his first term essentially on trial at the Supreme Court.
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Insurance companies participating in Delaware’s health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act are seeking average rate increases of about 24 percent or more for next year, state officials revealed Thursday in acknowledging the potential sticker shock for consumers.
In a rate filing with the Delaware Department of Insurance, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is asking for an average rate increase of 32.5 percent for individual plans. Rate increases would vary by plan and would range from 24.1 percent to 35.8 percent.
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The Senate will begin work thisweek on its health-related appropriations bill, which it hopes will make it to a floor vote this year.
The health panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), will meet Tuesday to mark up its spending bill. That bill, which includes funding for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, passed out of committee last year, but ultimately did not make it for a full floor vote.
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The IRS raised concerns in early 2014 about the legality of certain ObamaCare payments that Republicans are now challenging in a lawsuit, according to a deposition from a former agency official.
David Fisher, who was the IRS’s chief risk officer, told the House Ways and Means Committee that agency officials questioned whether the Affordable Care Act provided the authority to make certain payments to insurers without an appropriation from Congress.
Most senior IRS officials ended up concluding that the payments were legal after a meeting with the White House to hear its legal justification, and the administration eventually went ahead with disbursing the funds.
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina sued the federal government, becoming the latest health insurer to claim it is owed money under the Affordable Care Act.
The suit, filed on Thursday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., says the U.S. failed to live up to obligation to pay the insurer more than $147 million owed under an ACA program known as “risk corridors,” which aimed to limit the financial risks borne by insurers entering the new health-law markets.
The suit argues that the federal government violated the language of the health law, as well as a contractual obligation to the North Carolina insurer.
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With almost half of the U.S. population using prescription medications, expensive sticker prices on certain medications have led policymakers to address drug prices through proposed legislation and regulation. This paper examines the various factors that influence how drugs are priced–including regulatory burdens and health care payment models–in order to provide an understanding of these prices in the larger picture of American health care.
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The implementation of ObamaCare has caused private health insurance to increase premiums and deductibles to meet both shifting market demand and regulatory compliance, largely passing on these added costs to the American people. Continuing to expand the program, as Hillary Clinton suggests, will most certainly force greater government control into our health care system. With this we will not only see a serious reduction in private sector insurer options, but also the introduction of longer wait times, wait lists, and limits on pharmaceutical innovation as evidenced in closed, government-run health care systems around the globe.
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A few weeks back, I noted that a judge had ruled against the Obama administration in a dispute over health-insurance subsidies. Some background: Obamacare makes insurers reduce out of pocket costs, like deductibles, to low-income people who purchase qualifying plans; the government is supposed to reimburse the companies directly. However, Congress didn’t appropriate any money to pay for these subsidies. When the administration went ahead and paid the insurers anyway — distributing about $7 billion without congressional approval — House lawmakers sued.
Now it appears that House Republicans, and Judge Rosemary Collyer, aren’t the only folks who thought the administration’s actions were questionable. A report in the New York Times this weekend says that IRS officials raised concerns that the administration had no legal authority to spend the money.
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California is moving to become the first state to allow unauthorized immigrants to purchase insurance through the state exchange. The state Assembly voted Tuesday to open up Covered California to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who want to purchase a health plan with their own funds.
SB 10, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara from southeast Los Angeles County, would authorize the state to apply for a federal waiver to make the change. The state Senate voted to pass the measure last June and an April staff report from Covered California also expressed support for the move.
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