Articles on the implementation of ObamaCare.
President Donald Trump has found one part of the federal health law palatable: He’s allowing Obamacare rules that require chain restaurants to post calorie counts to go into effect Monday.
The rules, which are among the final pieces of the 2010 Affordable Care Act to be implemented, require restaurants to list calories on all menus and menu boards. Restaurants will also have to provide on-site additional nutritional information, such as fat and sodium levels.
The law, intended to nudge Americans to eat healthier, applies to chains with at least 20 stores.
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House lawmakers quickly voted to continue New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid program Thursday, spending almost no time debating one of the session’s biggest policy issues.
The current program uses Medicaid funds to purchase private health plans for about 50,000 low-income residents, but it will expire this year if lawmakers don’t reauthorize it. The bill approved Thursday would continue the program for five years but change its structure to a more cost-effective managed care model. The plan also would impose new work requirements on enrollees and use 5 percent of liquor revenues to cover the state’s cost as federal funding decreases.
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Supporters of Medicaid expansion sued Maine on Monday to force state officials to implement the voter-approved law that has been held up by Gov. Paul LePage, who has stalled it for months while imploring the Legislature to first fund it on his terms.
In doing so, they put Attorney General Janet Mills on the hot seat, with a lawyer saying the suit will end quickly if the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and frequent foe of the Republican governor agrees with them because she controls the state’s legal representation.
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Idaho is poised to allow a vote on Medicaid expansion after an activist group said it has collected enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.
Reclaim Idaho said it has collected the required 56,192 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot. The deadline to turn in the signatures is Monday.
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Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) is proposing to test automatically enrolling people in ObamaCare plans as a way to cut the uninsured rate.
Bera unveiled a bill that would give grants to states to set up pilot programs to automatically enroll eligible people in ObamaCare plans or Medicaid.
People would still have 60 days to opt-out if they wanted to, so they would not be forced to buy coverage, but Bera says the idea is that people are more likely to sign up if the default is to be signed up and they need to actively opt-out of coverage.
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There are already more than a dozen reasons people can use to avoid paying the penalty for not having health insurance. Now the federal government has added four more “hardship exemptions”. Under the new rules, people can apply for a hardship exemption that excuses them from having to have health insurance if they:
- Live in an area where there are no marketplace plans.
- Live in an area where there is just one insurer selling marketplace plans.
- Can’t find an affordable marketplace plan that doesn’t cover abortion.
- Experience “personal circumstances” that make it difficult for them to buy a marketplace plan, including not being able to find a plan in their area that gives them access to specialty care they need.
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This year could mark a significant shift for Medicaid programs across the country, as some states look to expand the government insurance program to more poor Americans while others seek to add more requirements for people who benefit.
Initiatives to get Medicaid expansion put on the November ballot are underway in Utah, Nebraska, Idaho and Montana. And Virginia lawmakers appear on the verge of securing an expansion deal, after years of rejecting the idea.
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Connecticut lawmakers are considering two bills that would impose fines on people for choosing not to buy health insurance.
The Connecticut state House Insurance and Real Estate Committee sponsored House Bill 5379 (H.B. 5379), which would require residents who do not purchase health insurance to pay a fine of $10,000 or 9.66 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher.
Connecticut state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) sponsored House Bill 5039 (H.B. 5039), which would levy a fine of $500 or 2 percent of annual income on individuals who decide not to buy health insurance.
H.B. 5039 was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Insurance and Real Estate Committee in March and made available for consideration in the full House of Representatives on April 9. The committee also held a March 2 public hearing on H.B. 5379 but did not vote on the bill.
The Connecticut House has not yet scheduled a vote on either bill.
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The federal contractor that operates ObamaCare call centers was accused of wage theft totaling more than $100 million over five years in complaints filed Monday.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) brought the complaints with the Department of Labor, alleging that the contractor, General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), has been underpaying its workers.
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Louisiana’s health insurance market for individuals has been plagued in recent years by insurers fleeing the market and double-digit rate increases — prompting a proposed fix that would tack a fee on policies across the state to create a safety net against insurers’ losses and hold the line on runaway premiums.
The state Department of Insurance is pushing a bill through the Legislature that it says would lower premiums in the individual market by an average of 15 percent next year. The bill would put a roughly $1.25-a-month fee on every health-insured life in the state. That money, which one critic labeled a tax on business disguised as a fee, would go into what is called a reinsurance pool designed to protect insurers against high-cost patients.
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