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Feb 17, 2015

Obamacare rescue ruled out by some states, others weigh options

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five Republican state governors say they will not rescue a crucial part of Obamacare if it is struck down by the Supreme Court, underlining the prospect for a chaotic aftermath to a ruling that could force millions of Americans to pay much more for coverage or lose their health insurance.

The Supreme Court is due to hear opening arguments in the case known as King v. Burwell on March 4, marking the second major challenge to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) after the justices ruled in 2012 against a claim that it was unconstitutional. The latest case tests the tax-credit subsidies at the core of Obamacare.

Feb 2, 2015

Obama administration seeks to negotiate Medicare drug prices

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The Obama administration said
on Monday it would seek authority to negotiate pricing for
high-cost drugs under the federal government’s Medicare Part D
program, which offers private insurance drug coverage for senior
citizens and the disabled.

President Barack Obama’s new $3.99 trillion budget for
fiscal-year 2016 proposes allowing the U.S. Secretary for Health
and Human Services to negotiate prices for biotechnology
treatments and other high-cost drugs in Part D “to ensure access
to and affordability of these treatments.”

Jan 26, 2015

U.S. government unveils goal to move Medicare away from fee-for-service

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Monday unveiled an ambitious plan to control health costs by moving the $2.9 trillion U.S. health systems away from costly fee-for-service medicine, beginning with the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.

By the end of 2018, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters that 50 percent of traditional Medicare’s $362 billion in annual payments would go to doctors, hospitals and other providers that participate in alternative payment models which emphasize cost containment and quality of care.

Jan 26, 2015

U.S. govt unveils goal to move Medicare away from fee-for-service

WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – The Obama administration on
Monday unveiled an ambitious plan to control health costs by
moving the $2.9 trillion U.S. health systems away from costly
fee-for-service medicine, beginning with the Medicare program
for the elderly and disabled.

By the end of 2018, Health and Human Services Secretary
Sylvia Burwell told reporters that 50 percent of traditional
Medicare’s $362 billion in annual payments would go to doctors,
hospitals and other providers that participate in alternative
payment models which emphasize cost containment and quality of
care.

Jan 22, 2015

New Senate bill would overturn Obamacare’s individual mandate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading Republican senators on Wednesday introduced a bill to repeal one of Obamacare’s most unpopular provisions – the individual mandate that requires most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Lamar Alexander, who heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced the three-paragraph bill titled, the American Liberty Restoration Act, with backing from 20 other Republican co-sponsors.

Jan 21, 2015

U.S. insurance study charts huge price gaps for hip, knee surgery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hip and knee replacements, two of the fastest-growing U.S. medical procedures, are subject to huge – and apparently random – price variations within the same geographical areas, a new insurance industry study said on Wednesday.

The study by Blue Cross Blue Shield [BCBSFL.UL] health insurers adds to the evidence of massive disparities between what different hospitals and medical practices charge in the world’s most expensive healthcare system.

Jan 18, 2015

UK’s Cameron defends free speech ‘right to cause offense’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was “a right to cause offense about someone’s religion” in a free society, drawing a distinction between himself and Pope Francis in their response to the deadly Islamist attacks in Paris.

“I’m a Christian. If someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive. But in a free society, I don’t have a right to sort of wreak my vengeance on them,” Cameron said in an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation program aired on Sunday.

Jan 16, 2015

Obamacare’s lead agency chief announces resignation

WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – The Obama administration
official who oversaw the botched rollout of the Obamacare
website, Healthcare.gov, announced on Friday she will resign as
head of the agency that also manages the Medicare and Medicaid
healthcare programs.

“It is with sadness and mixed emotions that I write to tell
you that February will be my last month,” Marilyn Tavenner,
administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS), said in an email to staff that was seen by Reuters.

Jan 15, 2015

U.S. healthcare executives say Obamacare is not going anywhere

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. healthcare executives say Obamacare is likely here to stay, despite repeated calls from Republican lawmakers for repeal of the 2010 law aimed at providing health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

Top executives who gathered in San Francisco this week for the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference, say that while President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement may well be tweaked, it is too entrenched to be removed.

Jan 8, 2015

U.S. House votes to ease Obamacare employer requirements

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of
Representatives voted on Thursday to ease Obamacare’s health
insurance requirements for employers by approving the first of
an expected series of bills aimed at weakening the overall
healthcare reform law.

Only 12 Democrats broke with President Barack Obama to join
Republicans in backing a measure that would allow companies to
offer health coverage to fewer full-time workers by raising the
full-time benchmark to 40 hours of work a week, from the 30
hours currently stipulated by the Affordable Care Act.

    • 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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