Steven Dennis, Roll Call
"It’s the tax at the heart of Obamacare, but just more than 1 percent of Americans will end up paying it, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) slashed their estimates for how many people will pay the individual mandate tax penalty in 2016 by a third — to 4 million from 6 million — citing exemptions granted by the Obama administration, including exemptions for people whose plans were cancelled because they did not meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirements."
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, Health News Colorado
"Colorado health exchange managers spent $10 million over the past year on a statewide assistance network that generated about 8,000 sign-ups for private health insurance.
Board critics pressed managers on the wisdom and sustainability of spending about $1,250 per customer for the face-to-face help centers."
Elise Viebeck, The Hill
"Congressional budget scorekeepers estimated Thursday that only a fraction of the people without health insurance in 2016 will actually pay a penalty under ObamaCare's individual mandate.
In a new analysis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said only 4 million of the 30 million who are expected to be uninsured in 2016 will pay a fine."
Spencer E. Ante, Anna Wilde Mathews & Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal
"The Obama administration is revamping HealthCare.gov and scrapping significant parts of the federal health-insurance marketplace in an effort to avoid the problems that plagued the site's launch last fall, according to presentations to health insurers and interviews with government officials and contractors.
But the makeover—and the tight timeline to accomplish it—are raising concerns that consumers could face another rocky rollout this fall when they return to the site to choose health plans. Some key back-end functions,..."
Jason Millman, Washington Post
"When I wrote last week about the slow start for Obamacare's small business exchanges, I mentioned that some states could slow down the marketplaces' progress even further in 2015 because of a possible delay recently created by the Obama administration.
The small business exchanges, like the law's individual exchanges, are a virtual marketplace where businesses with 50 or fewer employees can compare health plans. Besides offering a limited tax credit, Obamacare small business exchanges, or SHOP, are supposed to offer one particular feature that changes the healthcare landscape for small companies: choice."
Ken Alltucker, The Republic
"More than 120,000 Arizona residents signed up for private health insurance during the first year of the Affordable Care Act's marketplace.
But it's the second year that analysts will scrutinize, to see whether health insurers increase rates or discontinue selling plans over the federal exchange."
Sandra Chereb, Associated Press
"Switching to a federally supported state health exchange won't be immediate and will bring added confusion for Nevada consumers during the transition into next year's open enrollment period, an interim legislative committee was told Monday."
Paul Howard, Morning Consult
"Regardless of whether Obamacare is “repealed and replaced” or “fixed”, the future of consumer-driven health care will be defined by how comfortably consumers operate in a market where financial pressures lead them to seek out more affordable, high quality providers—in or out of network. They won’t tolerate being left sick and told to fend for themselves with nothing but their credit cards."
Ferdous Al-Faruque, The Hill
"More than 1 million people may be in jeopardy of paying back a portion of their ObamaCare subsidies because of discrepancies between their applications and federal records.
And another roughly 966,000 have discrepancies related to citizenship or immigration status, according to federal health officials."
Robb Mandelbaum, The New York Times
"When it came time to renew his company’s health plan last fall, Jerry Eledge found himself in a bind that many small-business owners know all too well.
On one hand, “it’s kind of a moral obligation” to offer insurance, said Mr. Eledge, who runs Community Quick Care, a growing chain of primary health care clinics in the Nashville area. And yet, premiums for his existing plan were going up 20 percent, while other group plans promised as much as a 50 percent increase, even as deductibles and co-pays were becoming less generous. “We found no really good alternatives for 2014 at all,” he said. “Before Gary came along, we weren’t sure what we were going to do.”