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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.

In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a computer screen in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ** FILE **

Uninsured rate rose in Trump's first year: Gallup poll

By Tom Howell Jr. - The Washington Times

An estimated 3.2 million Americans became uninsured during President Trump's first year, Gallup said Tuesday in a survey that says rising premiums, declining competition in Obamacare markets and confusion over the GOP's repeal plans drove the losses. Published January 16, 2018

Recent Stories

While Obamacare enrollment is a distant memory in much of the country, the bluest areas are still hitting the pavement. (Associated Press/File)

Blue America keeps enrollment rolling to save Obamacare

- The Washington Times

While Obamacare enrollment is a distant memory in much of the country, the bluest areas are still hitting the pavement. They have sign-up periods well beyond the six-week enrollment that President Trump allowed for the 39 states that rely on the federal HealthCare.gov site.

President Donald Trump, right, and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, left, talk during a prison reform roundtable in the Roosevelt Room of the Washington, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Trump administration OKs Medicaid overhaul in Kentucky

- The Washington Times

The Trump administration on Friday said Kentucky can require Medicaid recipients to work as a condition of coverage, barely pausing for a breath after it laid out a welcome mat Thursday for states that want to force able-bodied people off the rolls unless they find jobs, volunteer or meet other conditions.

Alex Azar testifies during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, to consider his nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

HHS pick cautious on drug price jawboning

- The Washington Times

Powerless to stop his nomination, Senate Democrats on Tuesday attacked President Trump's pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department for his tenure at a major pharmaceutical company, saying he oversaw dramatic price hikes without ever blessing a decrease.

Alex Azar, President Donald Trump's nominee to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) **FILE**

Trump, GOP seek actions to undercut Obamacare

- The Washington Times

President Trump and his GOP allies are charting a new course in their push to undercut Obamacare, kicking off 2018 by eyeing actions the administration can take on its own, while avoiding a messy congressional fight ahead of the November elections.

On health care, Democrats are shifting to offense

- Associated Press

Democrats are shifting to offense on health care, emboldened by successes in defending the Affordable Care Act. They say their ultimate goal is a government guarantee of affordable coverage for all.

The HealthCare.gov website is photographed in Washington on Dec. 15, 2017. A burst of sign-ups is punctuating the end of a tumultuous year for former President Barack Obamas health care law. Strong consumer interest around Fridays enrollment deadline for 2018 was seen as validation for the programs subsidized individual health insurance. But the Affordable Care Acts troubles arent over. Even if full repeal now seems off the table, actions by the Republican-led Congress and the Trump administration could undermine the ACAs insurance markets. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick

Idaho reports 95K in Obamacare signups

- The Washington Times

Nearly 95,000 Idahoans selected a 2018 health plan on the state's Obamacare exchange -- a drop from last year's tally that nonetheless thrilled state officials, citing headwinds from Washington, and adds to previously reported totals from dozens of states that used the federal HealthCare.gov website.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, joined by from left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., as he praises the Republican tax bill at an enrollment ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The fatal blow to Obamacare

Campaigning is always easier than governing. There's unanimity at a campaign rally, but in Congress, not so much. From 2010 onward the Grumpy Old Party won election after election on the promise to pull up Obamacare, root and branch, and start over with health-care reform.

Obamacare signups reach smooth finish

- The Washington Times

Obamacare's sign-up deadline came and went this weekend with nary a peep from President Trump, who instead championed a GOP tax bill that repeals a key piece of the 2010 law, leaving it to Democrats and former Obama officials to cheer the embattled program across the finish line.

In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a computer screen in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ** FILE **

HealthCare.gov signups hit 4.7M heading into final week

- The Washington Times

Obamacare's main website will need a crush of last-minute signups to match last year's tally, according to an government update Wednesday that says HealthCare.gov is still millions of customers shy of what it needs to expand its customer base.

House GOP files bills to delay Obamacare taxes

- The Washington Times

The House GOP's tax writers announced a flurry of bills to delay Obamacare's taxes on health insurers and medical devices and lift penalties on employers, saying Americans need "targeted relief" from the levies while they work to repeal and replace the law outright.

Obamacare signups hit 3.6 million

- The Washington Times

Signups on Obamacare's main website remained strong in their fifth week, reaching 3.6 million, though enrollees aren't coming in fast enough to expand the program's pool of enrollees, according to government figures released Wednesday.

President Donald Trump, center, walks with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump backs Obamacare payments as part of tax cuts deal

- The Washington Times

President Trump on Tuesday told Senate Republican that he was committed to restoring critical Obamacare payments to insurers as part of a year-end budget deal -- but only if Congress approves a tax cut bill that eliminates the individual mandate.

A draft copy of the 21-page of a Health and Human Services Department form proposed for use to apply for low-cost insurance from Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program is photographed in Washington on March 12, 2013. The government's application for health insurance, which uninsured people will use to get taxpayer subsidized coverage starting next year. Applying could get complicated, with multiple questions about income, household composition, employer coverage and even race and ethnicity. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Colorado warns CHIP families: Research other coverage options

- The Washington Times

Colorado officials sent out letters Monday urging families who rely on the Children's Health Insurance Program to research other coverage options in case Congress fails to renew federal funding for the program by Jan. 31, when the state will run out of money to cover children.

In this May 18, 2017, file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

CBO: Repealing Obamacare mandate saves $338B

- The Washington Times

Repealing Obamacare's mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance would save the federal government $338 billion over the next decade as 13 million people would forgo coverage, freeing the government from having to subsidize them, scorekeepers said Wednesday in an analysis could reshape the Republican push to overhaul the tax code.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, walks to speak with reporters outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 13, 2017, after President Donald Trump signed H.J. Res. 43, which allows states to withhold federal funds from facilities that provide abortion services. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ** FILE **

Trump admin. signals states can tie Medicaid to work

- The Washington Times

The Trump administration encouraged states Tuesday to get Medicaid recipients into the workforce, saying President Obama's refusal to set tougher conditions on able-bodied enrollees strained state budgets and failed to prioritize the truly needy.

Catherine Reviati reviews Affordable Care Act enrollment options in Florida. States that run their own Obamacare markets say they are seeing a surge of interest this year. (Associated Press/File)

Obamacare enrollment 'alive and kicking' after death knell from Trump

- The Washington Times

States that run their own Obamacare markets say they are seeing a surge of interest by Americans checking plans, asking questions and signing up for coverage since the 2018 enrollment period opened last week, suggesting fears of a collapse as a result of Trump administration indifference may have been premature.

In this May 18, 2017, file photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a laptop computer in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Pediatric patient visits increased after Obamacare, study shows

- The Washington Times

The number of pediatric patients visiting their doctors increased after passage of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, particularly among minority and low-income adolescents, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Democrats devise health care plans for 2018

- The Washington Times

Congressional Democrats are rolling out bills to patch holes in Obamacare and expand the federal footprint in health care, saying they want to have options ready to go if they win majorities in Congress next year.

Recent Opinion Columns

Illustration on the unfairness of paying for preexisting conditions by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

America's sickly health insurance system

I'm beginning to wonder whether anyone in Washington or in the media has the slightest clue what insurance is? Here is a standard dictionary definition of the term: "Insurance -- A promise of compensation for specific potential future losses in exchange for a periodic payment. Insurance is designed to protect the financial well-being of an individual, company or other entity in the case of unexpected loss."

FILE - In this July 23, 2013 file photo, Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., testifies at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Moderate Republicans face intense pressure on their party's latest attempt to scrap Democrat Barack Obama's health care law, from President Donald Trump, House GOP leaders, medical professionals and outside political groups. If the GOP bill became law, congressional analysts estimate that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026, including 14 million by next year. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Reloading repeal-and-replace

Some things are worth an extra wait. Better health care could be one of them. Voters are about to see whether Obamacare repeal-and-replace is finally ready for prime time. If congressional Republicans who couldn't find common ground to pass the American Health Care Act a month ago can do it now, a major drag on President Trump's first hundred days won't be a drag on the second hundred. It would tell the Democrats, loud and clear, that resistance and insurrection are not working.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., leaves a closed-door strategy session as he works to get past last week's failure to pass a health care overhaul bill and rebuild unity in the Republican Conference, at the Capitol, in Washington, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Collapse and replace

Congressional Republicans have tried to turn the page on the Obamacare debacle, but the next page has another dismal message. Instead of repeal and replace, Americans face collapse and replace of Barack Obama's health care system. The only uncertainty is how soon and how bad it will be. While the humbled party leaders snipe at each other over what could have been, the nation's health-care system continues to wither at the edges, and sometime soon someone had better be ready with something better.

Recent Blog Entries

From The Vault

President Barack Obama gestures as he answers questions during his news conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 20, 2016. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obama's IRS 'misled' Obamacare customers: Audit

- The Washington Times

The Obama administration "misled" Americans into thinking signing up for Obamacare would be cheaper than it really was, according to an inspector general's report Thursday that said the IRS dramatically understated the actual cost of enrolling.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017, as the Republican majority in Congress remains stymied by their inability to fulfill their political promise to repeal and replace "Obamacare."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Republicans slam Senate after health care vote

- The Washington Times

Some House Republicans gathered on Capitol Hill Friday slammed the Senate for failing to pass its health care repeal bill earlier in the morning, saying they took care of business a few months ago and upper chamber colleagues didn't hold up their end of the bargain.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017. The Senate voted decisively to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the popular bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after weeks of intense negotiations. The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. McCain said the bills passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

McCain 'no' vote kills Obamacare repeal effort in Senate

- The Washington Times

Drained by self-inflicted wounds, shifting aims and unrelenting protests, Republicans' push to kill off President Obama's signature health law sputtered out of gas early Friday, as Senate leaders failed to rally the votes for a significantly pared-down repeal bill in a vote after midnight.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump ready to roll on Day One, blasts media for 'fake news'

- The Washington Times

President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday that he has a slate of orders ready to sign in the days after his inauguration, promised to nominate a Supreme Court justice by early February and vowed to make good on his campaign promise to build a wall -- not just a fence -- on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) **FILE**

Obamacare customers overpaid $8M by IRS

- The Washington Times

The IRS mistakenly overpaid more than $8 million to HealthCare.gov customers and Obamacare users in California, and cheated tens of thousands of others out of nearly $2 million in 2015 because the government relied on incorrect information to figure their taxes, an audit revealed Tuesday.

** 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.

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House on May 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

Obama: Health care law is 'here to stay'

- The Washington Times

Amid growing concerns about the implementation of President Obama's health care law, Mr. Obama stepped up promotion of the law by pegging its benefits to this weekend's Mother's Day celebration.

Multimedia

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.