A group of outside conservative groups developing a plan to repeal Obamacare said they would ensure the final product does not allow taxpayer funding to go toward covering abortions.

“When our plan is released, it will include strong pro-life priorities as well as recommendations that focus on providing Americans relief from Obamacare’s high costs and lack of choice while helping to heal the broken private small-group and individual insurance markets,” said Marie Fishpaw, Heritage’s director of domestic policy studies, in a statement.

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A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Thursday moved to delay the health insurance tax for another year, triggering the next round of work to curb the Affordable Care Act’s taxes on the industry.

While the lawmakers aren’t proposing an all-out repeal of the tax, the measure would be the third delay of the assessment. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) co-sponsored the bill along with Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.).

Insurers have to pay the tax for 2018, though it was suspended in 2017 and Congress passed another moratorium for 2019. Insurers estimate it will cost them $14.3 billion this year.

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A Maine state judge said Thursday that Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has a “duty to enforce” a voter-passed law to expand Medicaid to low-income adults.

Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy’s comment came during oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by advocacy groups to force the LePage administration to implement the Medicaid expansion overwhelmingly passed by Maine voters last November.

The judge did not indicate when she would issue a ruling, though it’s expected she will rule within a week or so. The losing side is almost certain to appeal.

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A group of Republicans and advocacy groups will soon release a proposal intended to spark another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, resurrecting a potentially volatile issue in the months before the November midterm elections.

The proposal to topple the Obama-era health law and replace it with a plan that would give states more control over health policy is the result of eight months of behind-the-scenes work by a coalition of conservative groups.

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Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., recently introduced the “Choose Medicare Act,” which would give every American the option to buy into Medicare. Their colleagues have already rolled out three other bills that would provide for a more limited Medicare buy-in, a Medicaid buy-in, and a full-fledged, government-run, single-payer system.

All of these bills would lead to the same inevitable outcome — a federal takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Each of the government-sponsored buy-in plans could operate at a loss indefinitely. Private insurers don’t have that luxury; they’d ultimately go out of business.

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  • The price of Obamacare benchmark silver plans will rise 15 percent next year, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday in a new report.
  • The CBO also projects about 5 million more people will be uninsured in 2027 than it estimated in September, up to a total of 35 million people.
  • The double-digit premium increase would come during President Donald Trump’s third year in office and could add fuel to a heated debate over health care and the fate of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

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A nascent effort to resurrect Obamacare repeal this year in the Senate is running into the same roadblock that stymied efforts last year: not enough GOP support.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he is working on a new repeal bill that could come out in “hopefully the coming weeks, not months.” Republicans could be blamed for premium increases on Obamacare’s exchanges in 2019 if they don’t act to repeal the law, he said.

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States that have expanded Medicaid have seen strong gains in coverage and better access to care without having to sacrifice other social programs, new research has found.

But that may not last long.

An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found the 33 states that expanded their Medicaid program to 133% of the poverty line saw a 7.4% decrease in the uninsured rate from 2013 to 2017 compared to a 2.7% drop to those that didn’t.

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As unlikely as it seems that congressional GOP leaders will try once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, both Republican and Democratic political observers say there’s a small chance they refuse to rule it out.

Why? Conservatives remain furious that last year’s Obamacare repeal effort failed. And with midterm elections looming, the GOP needs to fire up right-wing voters to help maintain control of Congress.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he hopes to revive a new version of the repeal bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that narrowly failed in the Senate last fall. It’s being developed by the Heritage Foundation and the Galen Institute, working with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

. . .

Almost no one saw it coming.

In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts famously ruled the Affordable Care Act’s provision mandating most people purchase health insurance or else pay a fine constitutional on the basis that Congress has the authority to tax individuals, and the so-called Obamacare “fine” is effectively a tax.

As the now-deceased Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out in his dissenting opinion, in classifying the Obamacare penalty as a “tax,” Roberts ignored history, the language of the healthcare law, statements made by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, and common sense. (The obvious difference between a fine and a tax is that the purpose of a tax is to raise revenue, not to force people to behave in a particular way.)

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