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BUSINESS
March 11, 2014 | By Noam Levey
WASHINGTON - With less than a month remaining in the first enrollment period, more than 4.2 million Americans have signed up for health insurance on marketplaces created by President Obama's health law, administration officials announced Tuesday. The new enrollment report confirms that the administration and its allies probably will fall well short of the 7 million sign-ups that they had hoped to get in 2014. Administration officials would not even say if they believe they will enroll 6 million people, as projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
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NEWS
March 10, 2014 | By David Lauter
WASHINGTON -- Evidence has begun to resolve one of the odder controversies surrounding Obamacare: The new law appears to be achieving its top goal of reducing the number of Americans who lack health insurance. The dispute over that question is a strange one because the answer would seem to be fairly obvious: Under the Affordable Care Act, the government will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize families who decide to buy insurance, a product that the vast majority of Americans value highly.
BUSINESS
March 9, 2014 | By Chad Terhune and Eryn Brown
A pair of new drugs to treat hepatitis C offer a cure for millions of Americans afflicted with the disease - but at a potentially staggering cost to taxpayers and health plans. Until now, therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and posed numerous side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, anemia or depression. In comparison, clinical trials of Sovaldi and Olysio have shown cure rates of 80% to 90% with far fewer complications. That progress, though, comes at a price.
BUSINESS
March 9, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I just received my tax forms from my employer for last year. I was originally a W-2 employee, paid hourly, as a receptionist. But it seems that at some point during the year, my employer changed me to a 1099 employee without telling me or having me fill out paperwork. After researching the characteristics of a 1099 employee, I found I do not qualify at all. I am upset that I will have to pay taxes on this income, since I thought they were being withheld from my pay. Do I have any recourse?
BUSINESS
March 7, 2014 | By Soumya Karlamangla
With time running short to sign up for Obamacare, California officials have recruited labor activist Dolores Huerta to urge Latinos to get health insurance. The state's move comes amid struggles at enrolling Latinos, who represent about 60% of the state's uninsured population. Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act ends March 31. Huerta is co-founder of the United Farm Workers union and worked for years alongside the late Cesar Chavez. She is featured in new radio and online ads for Covered California airing statewide.
NATIONAL
March 5, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Wednesday that some Americans with health insurance policies that don't meet consumer standards set by the president's new healthcare law would be allowed to keep their plans into 2017, three years later than originally envisioned. The delay, which could put off the final cancellation of some health plans until after President Obama leaves office, may have limited practical impact. Senior administration officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said they believed that only about 1.5 million consumers nationwide currently were covered under such plans, about 500,000 of which were purchased by individuals and the rest by small businesses.
NEWS
March 5, 2014 | By Noam Levey
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration announced Wednesday that some Americans with health insurance policies that don't meet consumer standards set by the Affordable Care Act will be allowed to keep their plans into 2017, three years later than originally envisioned. Allowing some consumers to keep old insurance plans past the end of the President Obama's term in office marks the latest effort by the administration to get out from under one of the most damaging controversies shadowing the launch of the healthcare law. Senior administration officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said they believe that about 1.5 million consumers nationwide currently are covered under such plans, about 500,000 of which were purchased by individuals and the rest by small businesses.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., obviously is a great adherent of the adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. " On Monday his committee released another attack on Medicaid, one of the linchpins of the Affordable Care Act and one that for some reason is especially detested by conservatives, like the majority members of Ryan's committee. The attack is buried within the Ryan committee's 204-page assault on the War on Poverty , which has just observed its 50th anniversary, as we reported in January . If you want to skip to the meat, the Medicaid section starts on Page 103. Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll have done the heavy lifting of dismantling the Ryan attack point by point.
NEWS
February 27, 2014 | By Maeve Reston
As the Hawaii Legislature weighs bills that would make sweeping changes to the state's Obamacare program, the interim director of Hawaii's healthcare exchange on Wednesday laid out a grim financial picture facing the agency. With anemic enrollment by individuals and little interest among small-business employers, the state's nonprofit exchange -- known as the Hawaii Health Connector -- is unlikely to have enough money to pay its bills , even under the best of circumstances, when federal grant money dries up in 2015.
NEWS
February 25, 2014 | By Joel Silberman, guest blogger
In four months, I will observe a strange anniversary: 20 years since the day I almost died.  I was 11 years old and being treated for a severe case of Crohn's disease , an autoimmune digestive disorder. I could barely hold down food and was checking in and out of Johns Hopkins Hospital for stays of two to six weeks, my medication weakening my bones until my spine compressed and fractured. Eventually the doctors installed a catheter just above my heart that delivered nutrition intravenously, bypassing my digestive system.
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