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May 8, 2014

Obama health secretary nominee pledges bipartisan approach

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – Sylvia Mathews Burwell pledged
on Thursday to take a fresh bipartisan approach to Congress on
the law known as Obamacare, one of the most divisive issues in
American politics, if confirmed by the Senate as the new U.S.
health secretary.

At a hearing expected to be charged with congressional
election rhetoric about President Barack Obama’s healthcare law,
Burwell said she would build on her record as the current White
House budget director by working closely with lawmakers on “our
shared priorities” and finding solutions to issues that
“transcend parties.”

May 8, 2014

Senate panel to grill Obama’s nominee for U.S. health secretary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sylvia Mathews Burwell takes center stage on Thursday for the first of two Senate hearings that will determine whether the loyal White House insider will become the next public face of the controversial law known as Obamacare.

The path to confirmation as U.S. health secretary is expected to be a smooth one for Burwell, a 48-year-old technocrat who was nominated on April 11 by President Barack Obama to replace outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Last year, Burwell sailed through the Senate on a 96-0 vote to become Obama’s budget director.

May 7, 2014

Obama health nominee’s first task? Ward off new crises

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – Sylvia Mathews Burwell,
President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. health secretary, will
need all her skills as a crisis manager to steer the law known
as Obamacare away from troubled waters during this year’s
congressional election campaign.

If confirmed by the Senate, her first task would be to get
the upper hand on two issues that could spiral out of control
for Democrats just before the November elections: rising health
insurance costs and the potential for a new wave of policy
cancellations for small businesses.

Apr 22, 2014

U.S. official responsible for reforming Medicare is leaving post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday announced the departure of the top health official responsible for reforming Medicare under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Jonathan Blum, Medicare director and principal deputy administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has presided over a range of reform initiatives during a five-year tenure including efforts to move the $635 billion healthcare program for the elderly and disabled away from costly fee-for-service medicine.

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.

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      "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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