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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

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.

Jan 6, 2015

Opening Republican salvo on Obamacare draws fire on both sides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first congressional Republican attempt to weaken Obamacare with legislation boasting Democratic support appeared to be headed for troubled waters on both sides of the partisan aisle on Tuesday, only days before an expected vote.

The bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeks to reduce the law’s burden on companies by requiring them to offer private health coverage to full-time employees who work 40 hours a week rather than the 30 hours stipulated by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Nov 15, 2014

Obamacare’s 2.0 health insurance enrollment period begins

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s plan to extend private health coverage to the uninsured entered a new uncertain phase on Saturday as government-backed online insurance marketplaces opened their 2015 plans to millions of potential enrollees.

The HealthCare.gov website was widely expected to avoid the mishaps of a year ago, when technical glitches paralyzed operations and drove Democrat Obama’s signature domestic policy to the brink of disaster, exposing him to criticism from Republicans who have campaigned for its repeal.

Nov 12, 2014

U.S. calls its Ebola response the right strategy at home, abroad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration tried to assure skeptical members of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday that its efforts to combat Ebola were showing progress and urged lawmakers to approve $6.2 billion in new emergency funds to contain the deadly virus.

“We believe we have the right strategy in place, both at home and abroad,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    • 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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