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Apr 15, 2014

CBO lowers U.S. deficit estimates as health subsidies fall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will cost slightly less than previously thought, helping to slow down the forecast growth of U.S. deficits over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.

The non-partisan CBO, in revisions to its annual budget estimates, said the reduced subsidy cost estimates partly reflect lower premiums now being charged in government-run “Obamacare” exchanges and accommodations that allow previously canceled health plans to be extended.

Apr 14, 2014

CBO slightly lowers U.S. deficit estimates as health subsidies fall

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) – Health insurance subsidies
under the Affordable Care Act will cost slightly less than
previously thought, helping to slow down the forecast growth of
U.S. deficits over the next decade, the Congressional Budget
Office said on Monday.

The non-partisan CBO, in revisions to its annual budget
estimates, said the reduced subsidy cost estimates partly
reflect lower premiums now being charged in government-run
“Obamacare” exchanges and accommodations that allow previously
canceled health plans to be extended.

Apr 14, 2014

CBO sees relatively modest premium hikes for Obamacare benchmark plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The average premium for an Obamacare benchmark plan will rise slightly in 2015 and increase about 6 percent a year during the rest of this decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said on Monday in a report the White House trumpeted as proof its healthcare reform was working.

The forecast, contained in a new CBO report on President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law, suggests that insurance premium hikes under Obamacare may not be as severe as predicted by Republican opponents and some health insurers.

Apr 13, 2014

Obama’s new health secretary nominee draws early Republican fire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s new nominee for health secretary drew some early political fire from Republicans on Sunday in what could foreshadow a stormy election-year confirmation debate in the U.S. Senate over the future of the law known as Obamacare.

Two days after Obama nominated his budget director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Republican lawmakers alleged the new nominee could help the White House exert political control over Obamacare enrollment numbers and other data showing how well the reforms are working.

Apr 10, 2014

Obamacare enrollment to surpass 7.5 million: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 7.5 million people are expected to sign up for private health coverage this year under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the top U.S. health official said on Thursday.

The number, which surpasses the 7.1 million total Obama announced just last week, includes 400,000 people allowed to sign up for private health plans through a federal marketplace after a March 31 deadline because they had not been able to complete their enrollment applications on time.

Apr 8, 2014

US has not determined legal authority to delay Obamacare mandate

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. administration has
not determined whether it has legal authority to delay
Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires most Americans to
enroll in health insurance or pay a tax penalty, a senior
Treasury official said on Tuesday.

Mark Iwry, senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew,
told U.S. lawmakers the administration sees no reason for delay
given that the law allows for exemptions and provides financial
assistance for those unable to afford health coverage on their
own. He said the provision also underpins reforms that protect
sick people from discriminatory market practices.

Apr 7, 2014

U.S. government rolls back proposed Medicare Advantage cut

By Caroline Humer and David Morgan

(Reuters) – The Obama administration on Monday rolled back some of the more controversial cuts proposed for privately managed Medicare health plans used by the elderly following pressure from insurance companies and lawmakers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that on average, reimbursement for such Medicare Advantage plans in 2015 would rise 0.4 percent, reversing what is said was a 1.9 percent average reduction proposed in February.

Apr 4, 2014

U.S. reports three million Medicaid enrollments under Obamacare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three million lower-income Americans have enrolled in the Medicaid program for the poor so far during the rollout of U.S. President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, the administration announced on Friday.

That brings to more than 10 million the number of people who have signed up for both public and private health coverage since the October 1 launch of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. This week, the White House announced there were 7.1 million sign-ups as of March 31 for private health plans through new electronic insurance marketplaces now operating in all 50 states, a total that exceeded most expectations.

Apr 2, 2014

Obamacare numbers offer glimmer of hope for Democrats in elections

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A rare burst of good news on President Barack Obama’s healthcare program has given Democrats their first glimmer of hope in months on an issue that has helped drag the party down ahead of November’s U.S. congressional elections.

A better-than-expected enrollment of 7.1 million people in healthcare exchanges under Obamacare gives Democrats a positive argument to counter relentless Republican calls for repeal of the law, and could help them change the topic to the bread-and-butter economic and job issues Democrats prefer to talk about.

Apr 2, 2014

U.S. senator urges budget neutrality on Obamacare risk provisions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a prominent Republican critic of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, unveiled legislation on Tuesday to make sure Obamacare would not add to the deficit by compensating insurance companies for possible losses.

The 2010 healthcare law includes provisions to safeguard insurers against losses if they saw unexpectedly high enrollments of sick or older people, who are costlier to insure than young, healthy consumers.

    • About David

      "David Morgan has covered news from Wall Street and Fleet Street to the White House, the Pentagon and Congress, including politics, macroeconomics, military affairs, corporate finance, U.S. intelligence, national security and the international markets. He has also reported from Atlanta on the rise of American conservatism, civil rights, homegrown terrorism and the Olympics, and helped chronicle the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath from Philadelphia, New York and Washington."
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