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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

"The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act," the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry's consensus about next year.


"It's pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs," said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

In Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus in the nation and has a competitive Senate race this year, rates are expected to rise 100 percent on the exchange and by double digits on the larger, employer-based market, according to a recent article in the Business Record.


Monday, March 17, 2014

In 2011, while the rest of America argued the merits of the president's Affordable Care Act, Vermont jumped the progressive curve, promising to launch the nation's first health single-payer system, in which state government pays providers to care for all residents.

Now, even Democrats say that plan, called Green Mountain Care, isn't ready for its proposed 2017 rollout, and Rep. Jim Condon told Vermont Watchdog it's time for Gov. Peter Shumlin to shelve the ambitious plan immediately.

"The deadlines for proposing financing have been missed two years in a row now, so to me that's very disappointing. It's becoming clearer and clearer that there is no financing plan," Condon told Vermont Watchdog.

Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Avalere Health concluded that the costs of Green Mountain Care would require Vermont to raise tax revenue roughly equal to the state's tax collections from all sources today.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

The special interests behind national curriculum and testing mandates are pouring millions into public relations and lobbying this spring after parents across the country began to oppose and destabilize their big project. Friday, Politico reported that the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce are buying pricey ads on Fox News and mobilizing their state chapters to keep lawmakers in line. The same day, Bill Gates joined George Stephanopoulos to continue branding the Common Core mandates as a catalyst for improving U.S. education. Gates has joined with left-leaning philanthropies on a communications push worth more than $2.35 million.

Through the Common Core testing organizations it exclusively funds, the feds spend at least $9.9 million to promote Common Core, largely through locating teachers who like the project and training them as spokespeople. The Fox News ads will also feature teachers, since focus groups have found them to be well-received pitch-men.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

In what might be the death knell for ObamaCare's most controversial component -- the individual mandate to buy insurance -- the administration has added a mega-exemption that critics say would allow virtually anybody to skirt the rule.

"This is a huge public policy decision that could affect millions of Americans," House Speaker John Boehner said, adding that the latest change, made ahead of the March 31 enrollment deadline, applies to "essentially everyone."

The most recent exemption was included in an ObamaCare application document. There already had been 13 distinct exemptions, but this document added one more -- apparently it was added in late December.

The document said that individuals can now qualify for a "hardship exemption" -- meaning they would not have to pay a penalty for not buying insurance -- if they "experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance."

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) -- An independent commission led by a former U.S. surgeon general has concluded there "is no compelling medical reason" for the U.S. armed forces to prohibit transgender Americans from serving and that President Barack Obama could lift the decades-old ban without approval from Congress, according to a report being released Thursday.

The report said Department of Defense regulations designed to keep transgender people from joining or remaining in the military on the grounds of psychological and physical unfitness are based on outdated beliefs that require thousands of current service members either to leave the service or to forego the medical procedures and other changes that could align their bodies and gender identities.

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Comments

Congresswoman: Obama admin rule change lets insurance companies keep more profits, pay less for care

Republican Tennessee Rep. Diane Black says that the Obama administration's most recent Obamacare rule change will result in insurance companies keeping more profits while paying less for customers' health care needs.

"I am writing to express my concern with the proposed rule change released on Friday, March 14th that would allow insurance companies to keep an additional two percent of premiums for purposes other than medical care…your department is now proposing to increase the amount of money that insurance companies will be allowed to retain for profit," Black wrote in a letter Tuesday to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

"I am writing to express my concern with the proposed rule change released on Friday, March 14th that would allow insurance companies to keep an additional two percent of premiums for purposes other than medical care…your department is now proposing to increase the amount of money that insurance companies will be allowed to retain for profit," Black wrote in a letter Tuesday to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

HHS' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quietly introduced the new rule Friday, which relieves insurance companies of some of the damage about to be levied on them by Obamacare-related administrative costs.

Read more: dailycaller.com

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