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OPINION
February 9, 2014
Re "Patients struggle to find covered doctors," Feb. 5 The article points out a major gap in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act: Many specialty providers and hospitals that cancer patients rely on are being left out of insurance exchange plans. Because out-of-network expenses do not count toward a patient's out-of-pocket maximum, cancer patients enrolled in some exchange plans could be responsible for thousands of dollars of medical expenses. The article also raises a larger issue: the lack of transparency by payers in these insurance marketplaces.
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OPINION
April 20, 2014
One of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that President Obama often touts is the limit it places on medical bills: no more than $6,350 annually per insured individual or $12,700 per family. The insurance industry's idea of an "out-of-pocket maximum," however, doesn't deliver on the promise implicit in its name, as I learned when my insurer told me I might owe half of a $54,000 ambulance bill. My coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is exempt from the new limits because it predates the ACA, but it still has annual spending caps.
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NEWS
July 18, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey
President Obama, facing a new Republican push to dismantle his healthcare law, redoubled his efforts to sell his signature achievement Thursday at a White House event with Americans who have benefited from the law. The president pledged to “blow through” GOP attacks on the law and continue working to implement it. Obama touted recent news from New York, California, Oregon and other states that have reported that insurance companies will...
OPINION
April 16, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act ended this week with roughly 7.5 million people obtaining policies through the new state insurance exchanges, including more than 1.3 million at Covered California. That's an amazing and welcome result, considering how badly many of the exchanges stumbled when sign-ups began in October. Nevertheless, it's far too early to judge the success or failure of the healthcare law, given that key tests of the program's sustainability have yet to be passed.
NATIONAL
September 27, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Orange County, the senior California Republican in Congress, was in office during the 1995-96 government shutdowns. He acknowledges that it hurt the GOP, but he sees the risk of another shutdown as "part of the game" of negotiating changes to the healthcare law he hates. "There's never any progress without risk," he told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a freshman Democrat from the San Francisco Bay Area, was 15 when the federal government last shut down.
NEWS
June 28, 2012 | By David G. Savage, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama 's healthcare law Thursday, ruling the government may impose tax penalties on persons who do not have health insurance. The court's long-awaited ruling rejected a broad legal attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought by Republican state officials and the National Federation of Independent Business. The legal challenge focused on the law's so-called mandate that all must have insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.
NATIONAL
June 8, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
If the Obama administration had any doubt that its signature healthcare law faces a severe challenge in court, it was erased soon after Chief Judge Joel Dubina opened the proceedings here. "I can't find any case like this," Dubina said. "If we uphold this, are there any limits" on the power of the federal government? Judge Stanley Marcus chimed in: "I can't find any case" in the past, he said, where the courts upheld "telling a private person they are compelled to purchase a product in the open market....
NEWS
June 28, 2012 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. upheld the heart of President Obama's healthcare law Thursday, ruling that the government may impose tax penalties on those who do not have health insurance. The decision came on a 5-4 vote, with the court's four liberal justices joining with the chief justice. On one hand, Roberts agreed with the law's conservative critics who said Congress does not have the power to mandate the purchase of a private product such as health insurance.
NEWS
June 28, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- House Republican leaders set a vote in two weeks to repeal the nation's healthcare law -- a largely symbolic act that is not be expected to go anywhere in the Democratic-led Senate. House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the vote will be July 11. "The House will once again vote to repeal ObamaCare," the leader said in a tweet. House Republicans already voted to get rid of the law in one of their first acts after taking the majority in 2011. They had promised another vote after the Supreme Court decision.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
California could lose more than 26,000 jobs as a result of a tax provision in the federal healthcare law, a small-business advocacy group said. A study by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation found that employment in the Golden State may see a loss of from 14,322 to 26,296 jobs by 2022 because of the Health Insurance Tax provision. The NFIB is one of the biggest opponents of the federal healthcare law and joined in the Supreme Court lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.
NATIONAL
April 15, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court next week will consider for the first time whether states may enforce laws that make it a crime to knowingly publish false statements about political candidates. The justices will hear an antiabortion group's free-speech challenge to an Ohio law that was invoked in 2010 by then-Rep. Steve Driehaus, a Democrat. He had voted for President Obama's healthcare law and was facing a tough race for reelection. The antiabortion group Susan B. Anthony List launched a campaign to unseat Driehaus, preparing to run billboard ads saying, "Shame on Steve Driehaus!
NEWS
April 11, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli, This post has been corrected. See note below.
WASHINGTON - President Obama named White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to take over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on Friday, saying there was "no manager as experienced and competent" to run the next phase of his signature domestic program. "Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand on the wheel" as the administration dealt with the government shutdown last year, Obama told a crowd gathered in the White House Rose Garden for the announcement. "Once the government was allowed to reopen, Sylvia was vital to winning the two-year budget agreement that put an end to these manufactured crises that we had seen here in Washington so that we could keep our full focus on growing the economy and creating new jobs and expanding opportunity for everybody who's seeking opportunity.
NATIONAL
April 11, 2014
By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli WASHINGTON - President Obama named White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to take over the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, saying there was "no manager as experienced and as competent" to oversee the next phase of his signature healthcare law. "Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand on the wheel" as the administration dealt with the government shutdown last year, Obama told a...
BUSINESS
April 8, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The long-awaited Rand Corp. study of Obamacare's effect on health insurance coverage was released Tuesday and confirmed the numbers that had been telegraphed for more than a week : At least 9.3 million more Americans have health insurance now than in September 2013, virtually all of them as a result of the law. That's a net figure, accommodating all those who lost their individual health insurance because of cancellations. The Rand study confirms other surveys that placed the number of people who lost their old insurance and did not or could not replace it -- the focus of an enormous volume of anti-Obamacare rhetoric -- at less than 1 million.
NATIONAL
April 7, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- In a victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from a New Mexico photographer who claimed a free-speech right to refuse to shoot a wedding album for a same-sex couple. The photographer was charged with violating the state's anti-discrimination law, which requires businesses to serve customers and clients without regard to their race, religion or sexual orientation. The case of Elane Photography had drawn wide attention because it posed a religious-freedom challenge to state anti-discrimination laws.
NEWS
April 1, 2014 | By Maeve Reston
Although the Obama administration appears to have surpassed its goal of enrolling more than 7 million people in the new healthcare program this year, some of the states that have struggled with technology problems are headed into an intensive new phase of fixes as they try to shepherd final enrollees through the process. After spending $125.5 million to operate and run its exchange, which has struggled with technical glitches , the board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is expected to vote Tuesday on moving to Connecticut's technology platform, which has worked smoothly throughout the enrollment period.
NEWS
March 28, 2012 | By David G. Savage
The Supreme Court's conservative justices said Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama's healthcare law entirely. Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law's controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it. The court's conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the...
NEWS
April 1, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - A surge of interest on the last day of open enrollment pushed Obamacare well over the administration's target of 7 million sign-ups, according to preliminary figures that put the White House into a celebratory mood  Tuesday. But the president's messaging machine was also shifting into gear for the next big challenge: persuading Americans of the healthcare law's success before congressional elections this fall. While previously uninsured Americans are getting used to their new access to healthcare, the White House wants to drive home the message that the benefits may be at risk if Republicans are in charge.
NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli and David Lauter
WASHINGTON - Faced with a strong prospect of losing control of the Senate in November, Democrats have begun a high-stakes effort to try to overcome one of their party's big weaknesses: voters who don't show up for midterm elections. The party's Senate campaign committee plans to spend $60 million to boost turnout. That's nine times what it spent in the last midterm election, in 2010. The Democratic National Committee has begun to make the sophisticated data analysis tools developed to target voters in the 2012 presidential campaign available to all the party's candidates.
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