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Health Care and Insurance News Bulletin 

March 2 – March 13, 2015

The purpose of this bulletin is to compile a handful of articles relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that are most pertinent to LIUNA and its health and welfare funds. We hope you find this biweekly bulletin helpful and informative.

Newly Insured? 8 Things to Know About the Affordable Care Act
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was fully implemented in 2014, there were 30 million African Americans who lacked any kind of health insurance coverage in this country. The law hopes to bridge that gap with affordable and accessible coverage, which is now a mandate.

After 2 Years and $2.1 Billion, HealthCare.gov Is Unfinished
Though Obamacare’s biggest problem right now is a Supreme Court case that threatens the president’s subsidized health care law, federal auditors are calling attention to another problem that could present even more challenges down the road—and that’s the functionality of HealthCare.gov.

AP Analysis: 5 reasons why health overhaul drama plays on
President Barack Obama's health overhaul remains an all-consuming drama for many, even though millions of people are gaining insurance coverage through a law that's now 5 years old.

86 Percent of Health Law Enrollees Receive Subsidies, White House Says
The Obama administration said Tuesday that 11.7 million Americans now have private health insurance through federal and state marketplaces, with 86 percent of them receiving financial assistance from the federal government to help pay premiums.

Health-care law will cost taxpayers less than expected, CBO says
President Obama’s health-care law will cost taxpayers substantially less than previously estimated, congressional budget officials said Monday, in an upbeat note for a program that has faced withering criticism since its passage five years ago.

PCORI is meeting its mission under Affordable Care Act, GAO says
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute awarded 360 contracts totaling $670.8 million as of October 2014, according to a report (PDF) issued Monday by the Government Accountability Office.

JAMA Forum: Of SCOTUS and Chicken
After hearing oral arguments last week, the US Supreme Court (aka SCOTUS) is deliberating in King v Burwell, a case that has the potential to unleash a massive game of chicken around the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

STATES IN THE NEWS

Obamacare: Agents signed up 43% of new California enrollment
California fell short of its second-year enrollment goal for Obamacare, but don't blame insurance agents.

More than 289,000 buy health plans on exchange
The Maryland Health Exchange reported Monday that 289,131 people enrolled in private and government-funded plans during open enrollment that ended Feb. 28.

350,000 Kansans and Missourians signed up for coverage at healthcare.gov
Twice as many Kansans and Missourians signed up for health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act compared with the first enrollment period last year, new figures released Tuesday show.

Enrollment rose, but age distribution stayed the same in CT exchange
Although enrollment in private health plans sold through Connecticut’s health insurance exchange rose by 37 percent this year, the age distribution of customers was virtually unchanged, according to data released by the federal government Tuesday.

Federal data put state’s exchange-insurance rolls at 160,000 people
As government officials on Tuesday touted the enrollment of 11.7 million Americans in state and federal health insurance exchanges, the clear subtext of their announcement was the essential role that price subsidies played in the signups.