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Healthcare Law

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.
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BUSINESS
March 5, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
A Republican state lawmaker sued California's health insurance exchange, saying it overstepped its authority by refusing to allow more than 900,000 people to keep their existing health policies. In his suit, state Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) said the Covered California exchange violated federal and state laws by requiring participating health plans to cancel policies by Dec. 31 that didn't comply with new requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The issue of cancellations for about 900,000 individual policyholders in California and several million nationwide has sparked widespread criticism of President Obama's healthcare law. Many consumers got new, improved coverage at lower rates as a result of federal premium subsidies.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
A new federal report estimates that 65% of small firms will pay more for employee health insurance as a result of the federal healthcare law while the remaining 35% will see premiums drop. Those increased healthcare costs will probably be passed on to workers and their families, according to estimates from the Office of the Actuary at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report said roughly 11 million of the 17 million people who have health plans through a small employer will see their premiums increase, while 6 million individuals will reap lower premiums.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Luis Rios, who lost his job at a filling station in December at the age of 56, is newly eligible for Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor. Following the advice of state-trained medical insurance enrollment workers, he filled out the paperwork required to get coverage - but has a nagging fear that he may have put his family's financial assets at risk. That's because, in certain cases, Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid, will be able to collect repayment for healthcare services from the estate after a recipient dies, including placing government liens on property.
BUSINESS
February 14, 2014 | By Soumya Karlamangla and Chad Terhune
Some California politicians are turning up the heat on the state's health insurance exchange to boost Latino enrollment in Obamacare before a March deadline. U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) held a sign-up event Thursday in Orange County and prodded the Covered California exchange to do more to reach the area's large population of uninsured. Statewide, about 1.2 million, or 46%, of the 2.6 million Californians eligible for federal premium subsidies under the healthcare law are Latino.
NEWS
February 13, 2014 | By David Lauter
A Democratic candidate who has explicitly defended Obamacare holds a slight lead in a special congressional election in Florida that both parties are eyeing as a test of the political impact of the healthcare law. A poll released Thursday by the Tampa Bay Times shows Democrat Alex Sink leading her Republican opponent, David Jolly, 42% to 35% among people considered likely to vote in the March 11 special election. Another 14% of respondents said they were undecided in the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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.
OPINION
February 9, 2014
Re "Death penalty in Boston?," Editorial, Feb. 2 Thank you for your clear rationale declaiming the death penalty even for such a horrid crime as targeting innocent runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon. Vengeance is clearly no good reason for taking anyone's life. The death penalty is, as you so aptly point out, not only barbaric but immoral. As a Catholic, it is against the principle that I respect life from birth to death. Other stringent methods to punish a person exist and are more effective, such as life without parole.
NEWS
February 5, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON--Many Senate Democrats facing tough reelection battles this fall aren't welcoming President Obama to the campaign trail, given his low approval ratings. But Wednesday night they'll roll out the red carpet for former President Clinton, hoping the Comeback Kid can offer some tips for the upcoming midterms. Clinton is delivering the dinnertime keynote talk at the Senate Democrats' retreat Wednesday in what is likely to be part strategy session, part pep talk as the former president's party engages in an uphill struggle to retain control of the Senate this fall.
NEWS
February 4, 2014 | By David Lauter
WASHINGTON - President Obama's healthcare law will reduce the ranks of the uninsured by roughly 13 million this year and 25 million once the law is fully phased in, but will also result in the equivalent of 2-million people reducing their work hours because of the availability of insurance subsidies, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The latest projections from the nonpartisan budget analysts immediately produced talking points for both sides in the deeply polarized debate over the Affordable Care Act. Republicans seized on the projected reduction in work hours, roughly a 1% to 2% decline, to boost their claim that Obamacare will harm the economy.
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