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NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON -- Same-sex spouses must be provided equal access to family healthcare plans offered by insurers in the Affordable Care Act marketplace exchanges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday. Beginning next year, “insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage,” Matthew Heinz, the agency's director of provider and LGBT outreach, said in a blog post. According to the guidelines, insurance companies that provide family plans to heterosexual couples will not be allowed to deny similar plans to same-sex married couples.
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NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Jon Healey
The House is set to vote Friday on an important healthcare bill that has either been sabotaged by anti-Obamacare Republicans or (unwittingly) rescued by them. House Republicans have teed up a bill that would make a crucial change in Medicare, preventing a deep cut in doctors' fees scheduled to go into effect April 1. But it would pay for it by postponing Obamacare's requirement that all adult Americans buy health insurance until 2019 -- a move that, perversely, could drive up premiums in the individual market and leave even more people without coverage.
NEWS
March 11, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey, This post has been corrected. See bottom for details.
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 will probably fall short of the 7 million signs-ups they had hoped to get in 2014. The report also shows that health insurance sign-ups continued to recover in February from the disastrous launch of the federal HealthCare.gov website.
NEWS
March 11, 2014 | By Jon Healey
Is Barack Obama the nation's first hipster president? Obama appeared Tuesday in an episode of "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis," a recurring comedy sketch on the Funny or Die website. Maybe it was just good prep work by his aides, but Obama's grasp of the "Two Ferns" conceit - the mutual antagonism between host and guest - suggested that he was actually familiar with the cringe-worthy series. The president was on "Two Ferns" ostensibly to promote the Affordable Care Act and urge people to sign up for a health plan at HealthCare.gov, the new federal insurance-buying site.
NATIONAL
March 11, 2014 | By David Lauter
Republicans scored a significant victory in a special congressional election Tuesday, holding on to a seat in a swing district in Florida that Democrats had high hopes of capturing after a campaign that focused heavily on President Obama's healthcare law. With all precincts reporting, Republican David Jolly held a 3,400-vote margin over Democrat Alex Sink in the district, which stretches along the Gulf Coast north of St. Petersburg. The returns remain unofficial until final mail-in and provisional ballots can be counted, but Sink conceded defeat in a statement to supporters shortly after the polls closed.
NEWS
March 11, 2014 | By David Lauter
Republicans scored a significant victory in a special congressional election Tuesday, holding onto a seat in a swing district in Florida that Democrats had high hopes of capturing after a campaign that focused heavily on President Obama's healthcare law. With all precincts reporting, Republican David Jolly held a 3,400-vote margin over Democrat Alex Sink in the district, which stretches along the Gulf Coast north of St. Petersburg. The returns remain unofficial until final mail-in and provisional ballots can be counted.
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.
BUSINESS
March 11, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
Enrollment in Obamacare coverage slowed last month in California, hurt by a recent website outage. New federal data show 868,936 Californians signed up for health insurance in the state's exchange through March 1. But that's a modest gain of about 40,000 people since mid-February. More than 100,000 people had picked a health plan during the first two weeks of February, according to the Covered California exchange. The rate of enrollment fell from about 7,000 a day to less than 3,000 a day. California is a key state for the rollout of President Obama's signature law. Full coverage: Obamacare rolls out Covered California attributed much of the drop-off to a five-day outage for its online enrollment system in late February, which frustrated many consumers, enrollment counselors and insurance agents.
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 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.
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