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Health Care Reform

News coverage, opinion and information on health care reform and health care policy including the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama speaks during a news conference in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington on Dec. 18, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obama vetoes measure to repeal Obamacare

By Dave Boyer - The Washington Times

As expected, President Obama vetoed legislation Friday that would have repealed Obamacare and defunded Planned Parenthood, saying the Affordable Care Act "is working." Published January 8, 2016

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the fiscal 2017 HHS budget. Burwell has ashes on her forehead, Wednesday being Ash Wednesday.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

HHS: Look at uninsured rate, not Obamacare signups

- The Washington Times

President Obama's top health official told Congress Wednesday that Obamacare is making "historic" strides, even if 2016 enrollment on its web-based exchanges amounted to little more than half of what budget scorekeepers initially projected.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 4, 2016, as he announces the formation of six committee-led task forces charged with developing agendas on national security, tax reform, jobs, health care reform, elimination of poverty, and more. Ryan also pledged that House Republicans will schedule time this year to vote on legislation reforming the criminal justice system. (Associated Press) **FILE**

GOP eyes Obamacare replacement by summer

- The Washington Times

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has instructed his health care task force to "go big and go bold" in its push to replace Obamacare with a clear GOP alternative for voters this year -- preferably before Congress breaks this summer for the 2016 party conventions, a powerful House Republican said Wednesday.

President Barack Obama meets with members of this national security team and cybersecurity advisers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington,Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. At right is Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama uses budget to bolster his health care legacy

- The Washington Times

President Obama used his final budget proposal Tuesday to try and shore up his health care legacy before he leaves office, tweaking Obamacare's contentious "Cadillac" tax and enticing holdout states to expand Medicaid even as he targets a devastating heroin epidemic that's got the attention of both parties.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., talks at a news conference in Rockville, Md., on Monday, March 9, 2015 after announcing endorsements for his candidacy for U.S. Senate.   Van Hollen announced last week he would seek the Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who announced last week she won’t run for re-election in 2016.  (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Democrats foil GOP repeal of Obamacare

- The Washington Times

House Democrats sustained President Obama's veto of an Obamacare repeal Tuesday, defeating the GOP's deepest salvo yet against the controversial health law but delivering a rallying cry to conservative Republicans in a pivotal election year.

President Barack Obama speaks to mayors from around the country, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. They visited the White House as part of the Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington this week. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obamacare enrollment projections down nearly 40 percent

- The Washington Times

Obamacare enrollment is lagging far behind what economists had projected, the Congressional Budget Office said in a new report that cuts the total number of customers expected to buy plans on the exchanges from 21 million down to just 13 million this year.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this May 12, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo, File)

Top Obamacare official pledges action on failing co-ops

- The Washington Times

The man in charge of implementing Obamacare told Congress he will take a proactive approach toward nonprofit co-op plans that have failed at a startling rate, pledging to both help co-ops that survived and leverage the Justice Department to seek repayment of taxpayer loans from those that did not.

This Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, file photo, shows a portion of The UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s  campus in Minnetonka, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

UnitedHealth still down on Obamacare exchanges

- The Washington Times

The nation's largest insurer said Tuesday it still might withdraw from the Obamacare marketplace by 2017, citing losses on the law's Web-based exchanges despite a stronger-than-expected earnings report buoyed by its Optum division and other lines of business.

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington. A major survey out Jan. 7, 2016, finds that progress has stalled on reducing the number of uninsured Americans under President Barack Obama’s health care law. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

HHS reports slight uptick in HealthCare.gov signups

- The Washington Times

About 8.7 million customers had selected a plan on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange as of Jan. 9, according to a government update Wednesday that showed only a slight uptick in consumer interest between crucial deadlines to get covered under Obamacare in 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at the Charles and Romona Myers Center at University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, on Jan. 12, 2016. (Nicki Kohl/Telegraph Herald via AP)

Hillary Clinton has Bernie Sanders on defensive over health care plan

- The Washington Times

Hillary Clinton over the past two days has launched an all-out assault on presidential primary rival Sen. Bernard Sanders' health care plan, arguing that voters in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire deserve answers from the senator on how he'll guarantee health care to all Americans without raising middle-class taxes.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, about his 2016 agenda. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Members of Congress ask Supreme Court to shield religious groups from Obamacare

- The Washington Times

More than 200 members of Congress asked the Supreme Court Monday to protect faith-based colleges, charities and other nonprofits from Obamacare's birth control rules, citing an American track record of religious liberty that extends from the Pilgrims' landing in Massachusetts to a 1993 law designed to protect the faithful from government mandates.

In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

HHS: 11.3 million Obamacare signups nationwide

- The Washington Times

Roughly 11.3 million people have selected private plans on Obamacare's exchanges, according to a government update released Thursday that for the first time includes 2016 signup data from all of the states.

Congress sends Obamacare repeal to president's desk for first time

- The Washington Times

Six years after President Obama rammed Obamacare through a Democrat-run Congress, Republicans used their own majority to take a "monumental" step toward scrapping the overhaul Wednesday, approving a bill to ax the onerous mandates that penalize Americans who refuse to comply with the health care law's demands.

President Obama stands with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 9, 2015, during an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Congress set to send Obamacare repeal to president

- The Washington Times

Congress is poised to dispatch an Obamacare repeal bill to President Obama's desk Wednesday, fulfilling a long-standing but elusive goal for Republicans who seized the House in 2011 and reaffirmed their vow after taking control of the Senate last year.

FILE - In this June 25, 2015, file photo, students cheer as they hold up signs, outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, supporting the Affordable Care Act after the Supreme Court decided that the ACA may provide nationwide tax subsidies. Republican foes of President Barack Obama’s health care law may be able to get more by chipping away at it than trying to take the whole thing down at once. That’s the lesson of the budget deal passed by Congress and signed by the president on Dec. 18. It delayed a widely-criticized tax on high-cost employer health insurance plans that hasn’t taken effect yet. And it temporarily suspended two taxes on industry already being collected, which are also part of the health law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

HHS: 3 in 5 Obamacare customers shopped around for 2016 plan

- The Washington Times

A greater share of Obamacare customers logged back onto HealthCare.gov to shop around and select a new plan for 2016 than in last year's renewal period, the administration said Wednesday, casting it is as a sign that more people are heeding its advice to seek out the best deal in the federal marketplace.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell speaks in Washington on July 28, 2014. (Associated Press) **FILE**

HealthCare.gov grabs 6 million customers

- The Washington Times

Roughly 6 million people selected a health plan on HealthCare.gov in time to be covered on Jan. 1, the Obama administration said Friday, boasting of a "very strong start" to the Obamacare signup season that outpaces last year's effort to beat a crucial mid-December deadline.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin looks out over the audience before giving his speech after taking the oath of office to become the 62nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky during a public ceremony, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Frankfort, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

7 in 10 Kentuckians want to keep Medicaid expansion

- The Washington Times

More than 70 percent of Kentuckians don't want Gov.-elect Matt Bevin to scale back the state's Medicaid program, according to a survey released Friday that paints a complex portrait of Obamacare politics as the Republican takes charge.

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Talks on a massive, government-wide spending bill hit a snag Wednesday as Republicans pressed demands to block new power plant rules, weaken financial services regulations and make it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Republicans fast-track Obamacare repeal to president's desk

- The Washington Times

Senate Republicans brushed aside five years of frustration Thursday and fast-tracked an Obamacare repeal bill to President Obama's desk, fulfilling their pledge to hold Democrats and the White House accountable for a 2010 law they still view as fiscally ruinous and politically misguided.

President Obama had enjoyed historically low increases averaging 3.7 percent a year during the first five years or his tenure, but spending rose 5.3 percent, to reach $3 trillion, in 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated. (Associated Press)

Health spending spikes more than 5 percent as Obamacare takes full effect

- The Washington Times

Health spending spiked by more than 5 percent last year as Obamacare took full effect, according to a new government analysis Wednesday that said the low-growth trend that had prevailed for most of President Obama's time in office changed as new prescription drugs came on the market and Americans started using more services.

President Obama speaks during a news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Obama discussed the COP21 climate change summit. (Associated Press)

White House says it will veto Obamacare repeal bill

- The Washington Times

The White House formally signaled President Obama's intent Wednesday to veto a Republican bill that would dismantle his signature health overhaul, saying Congress should work to promote the law instead of making a political statement ahead of the 2016 elections.

Obamacare repeal bill likely to get to president for first time

- The Washington Times

Senate Republicans put themselves on track to pass a long-sought bill this week to dismantle Obamacare and strip funding from Planned Parenthood for one year, finalizing a measure Tuesday that will put a major repeal of the Affordable Care Act on President Obama's desk for the first time.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to the Catholic Hospital Association Conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Tuesday, June 9, 2015.  Obama declared that his 5-year-old health care law is firmly established as the "reality" of health care in America, even as he awaits a Supreme Court ruling that could undermine it. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Nation's largest insurer may drop out of Obamacare, citing losses

- The Washington Times

The nation's largest insurer said Thursday it may drop out of Obamacare's exchanges within two years, adding to a particularly gloomy outlook for the law as it enters its third year of full operation with customers facing rising premiums and the collapse of most nonprofit co-ops.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., speaks after a press conference at a Planned Parenthood office in Portland, Ore., Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.  Wyden's support of Planned Parenthood comes amid a heated debate among Oregon politicians over how Planned Parenthood uses the $3.6 million it gets from Oregon.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Sen. Ron Wyden checks in on Obamacare innovation program

- The Washington Times

A leading Democratic senator asked the administration Thursday to update him on its efforts to implement a piece of Obamacare that allows states to waive parts of the law in 2017 if they find ways to outdo the federal health law in terms of the affordability and quality of coverage and how many people get insured.

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington. A study out Wednesday finds that this year's most popular health law plans are raising premiums an average of 15 percent in 2016. You'll have to switch if you don't want to pay more.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

More than 1M have selected plans on Obamacare website

- The Washington Times

More than 1 million people selected health coverage on the federal Obamacare website through the second week of open enrollment, the administration said Wednesday in a snapshot that shows the number of plan selections nearly doubling since the first week's tally.

Despite a failed attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act at the Senate level, Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell insisted the GOP will find a way to undercut President Obama's signature health care law after Thanksgiving. The Senate's parliamentarian ruled the previous attempt didn't abide by legislative rules. (Associated Press)

GOP's efforts to overturn Obamacare stalling in Senate

- The Washington Times

The GOP's long-sought bid to dismantle Obamacare has hit another snag in the Senate, flustering House Republicans who thought they'd figured out a way to get a bill to President Obama's desk without having to face a Democratic filibuster.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during an interview with The Associated Press during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, on June 16, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Va. slated to spend $1 billion more on Medicaid

- The Washington Times

Virginia faces a $1 billion increase in Medicaid spending through fiscal 2018, according to a two-year forecast Tuesday that state Republicans swiftly used as a cudgel against Gov. Terry McAuliffe's bid to expand the program under Obamacare.

The White House decided under intense political pressure in late 2013 to let people with substandard plans keep that coverage instead of forcing them to enter the marketplace and buy plans that met Obamacare's standards. The about-face was an attempt to fulfill Mr. Obama's promise that people who liked their plans could keep them under his signature law. The result was hundreds of thousands of low-risk customers who stayed with their plans. Meanwhile, customers with higher health risks switched to co-op plans, unleashing a tide of claims. (Associated Press)

Obamacare co-op flops have many running for coverage

- The Washington Times

When Amy Grech, a freelance Web consultant and horror story author in New York, was looking for health insurance, a broker pushed her toward Health Republic, the state's co-op under Obamacare. It had the doctors she needed, and the price seemed right.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell speaks in Washington on July 28, 2014. (Associated Press) **FILE**

500K picked plans in Obamacare's first week

- The Washington Times

More than a half-million people selected a health plan through the federal Obamacare website during the first week of open enrollment, according to a government update Thursday that said two-thirds of the customers were renewing coverage they already had.

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington.  The government's insurance website is faster and easier to use, but as a third sign-up season gets underway, President Barack Obama's health care law is approaching limits.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Obama kicks off media blitz for health law

- The Washington Times

President Obama kicked off a media campaign in support of his signature health law Wednesday by cheering on "navigator" groups tasked with rooting out the millions of Americans who failed to sign up during the first two rounds.

President Barack Obama shares a humorous moment with a group of doctors from around the country in the Oval Office, Oct. 5, 2009, prior to a health insurance reform event at the White House.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

More than half of Obamacare co-ops fail

- The Washington Times

More than half of Obamacare's nonprofit co-op plans have failed, with Michigan becoming the latest to announce it will not offer plans for next year, prompting Republicans to label the program a disastrous waste of taxpayer money.

Recent Opinion Columns

Medicaid SGR Caduceus Screw Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

How to reform Medicare

Every year, Medicare physician payment rates spark a legislative fire drill. The complex formula for updating doctors' reimbursements, the sustainable growth rate formula, routinely threatens Medicare physicians with draconian payment cuts. Next year, the formula mandates a 21 percent pay cut.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday, Nov. 7, 2014,  to hear a new challenge to President Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Supreme Court can stop Obamacare deceit

Deception abounds in Obamacare. A video of MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, the "architect" of the Affordable Care Act, is all over the Internet, showing his admission that the entire measure was based on deceit, "written in a tortured way" to be deceptive so it could pass thanks to "the stupidity of the American voter."

Emanuel

Zeke Emanuel reveals the progressives' death wish

When Zeke Emanuel writes a provocative, 5,000-plus-word polemic on why he — and by extension the rest of us — should hope to die at 75 in order to ease the burden on family, friends and society, it can't be written off as the ravings of a rogue intellectual.

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From The Vault

Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, before the House Ways and Means Committee on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Obamacare website chief apologizes for poor rollout

- The Washington Times

The head of the agency in charge of the new health care law apologized Tuesday to people who've tried to use the flawed federal Obamacare website, but she said she still has faith that the site will be working for most Americans by the end of November.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arrives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, for and event with President Barack Obama on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul. Obama acknowledged that the widespread problems with his health care law's rollout are unacceptable, as the administration scrambles to fix the cascade of computer issues. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Sebelius to appear before House on Obamacare on Oct. 30

- The Washington Times

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday put off Republican lawmakers who want to question her about the disastrous rollout of Obamacare this week, instead agreeing to testify about the program's computer problems next week.

** FILE ** In this Aug. 22, 2013, file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks during an event discussing the federal health care overhaul in Philadelphia. With new health insurance markets launching next week, the Obama administration is unveiling premiums and plan choices for 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Premiums unveiled for health overhaul plans

- Associated Press

With new health insurance markets launching next week, the Obama administration is unveiling premiums and plan choices for 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents.

** FILE ** Linda Norman (right) and Joanna Galt, both from Florida, hold their banners during a "Exempt America from Obamacare" rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

Obamacare has been amended or delayed 19 times: study

- The Washington Times

President Obama has already signed 14 laws that amend, rescind or otherwise change parts of his health care law, and he's taken five independent steps to delay the Affordable Care Act on his own, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, released Wednesday.

Bev Veals (left), accompanied by her husband, Scott, undergoes chemotherapy treatment at Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Patient's health insurance bill soars as Obamacare falters

- Associated Press

Coping with advanced cancer, Bev Veals was in the hospital for chemotherapy this summer when she got a call that her health plan was shutting down. Then, the substitute insurance she was offered wanted her to pay up to $3,125, on top of premiums.

Tea party asks its grass roots to help kill health care law

- The Washington Times

Tea party Republicans are girding for a fight with the White House — and members of their own party — over how to block President Obama's health care law, saying Congress must not miss the chance to use this year's funding bills to try to starve Obamacare to death.

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Obama chats up health care

Obama chats up health care

Gallery: 6 Photos
President Obama speaks about the Patient's Bill of Rights and health care reform in the backyard of a private residence in Falls Church, Va.