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California officials announce enrollee tally, note last-minute surge

Covered California, the state's online health insurance marketplace, signed up 200,000 people for coverage during the two-week deadline extension -- bringing the state's total to 1.4 million. The state's initial goal was about 815,900 for the six-month enrollment period that began Oct. 1, 2013. [More]
Benzodiazepines may contribute to respiratory problems in people with COPD

Benzodiazepines may contribute to respiratory problems in people with COPD

A group of drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues "significantly increase the risk" that older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, need to visit a doctor or Emergency Department for respiratory reasons, new research has found. [More]

Percentage of uninsured adults in Texas declined since September 2013, survey reveals

The percentage of uninsured adults ages 18 to 64 in Texas declined from 24.8 to 23.5 between September 2013 and March 2014, according to a report released today by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation. The decrease in uninsured appears to be attributable to an increase in employer-sponsored health insurance. [More]

UnitedHealth cites health law, costly hepatitis drug in reporting lower earnings

The health law's effect was mixed, officials said, because the company did not participate in many of the online marketplaces, but it did see more customers for its Medicaid plans. Officials are considering a bigger role in the marketplaces next year. [More]

Sign-up figures trigger new round of health law political spin

President Barack Obama uses the new enrollment numbers to urge Democrats to be proud of the health law and call on Republicans to back off in their push to repeal the measure. GOP leaders, though, did not appear to soften their positions [More]

Obama presses scrutiny of 2015 health insurance rates

The president made his appeal to state insurance commissioners at a meeting Thursday. Elsewhere, consumer spending related to the health law jumps, the GOP again demands to know the White House's involvement in the rollout, and hospitals try their hand as insurers. [More]

At 8 million sign-ups, health law enrollment surpasses target

President Barack Obama hailed the latest tally of people who gained insurance as a result of the health law. News outlets also look inside this latest round of data to find out what information the administration is providing and what is still to come. [More]

Healthbox closes $7M in funding to execute new business priorities

Today Healthbox announces it has closed $7 million in funding to expand on its accelerator model and launch three new business verticals that will continue to drive actionable innovation through collaboration between entrepreneurs and the healthcare industry. [More]
Longer Looks: HIV epidemic in the Deep South; planning for Alzheimer's; Obamacare conspiracy theory

Longer Looks: HIV epidemic in the Deep South; planning for Alzheimer's; Obamacare conspiracy theory

One of the strangest things about the H.I.V. epidemic in the Deep South-;from Louisiana to Alabama to Mississippi-;is how easily most Americans have elided it, choosing instead to imagine that the disease is now an out-there, elsewhere epidemic. [More]

Viewpoints: Obamacare still has more challenges; GOP needs to help make law work; census change is not Obama's decision

The first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act ended this week with roughly 7.5 million people obtaining policies through the new state insurance exchanges, including more than 1.3 million at Covered California. [More]

UnitedHealth's 1st quarter profit falls 7.8%

Officials blame part of the downturn on reductions in federal funding for the Medicare Advantage program and new taxes resulting from the health law. [More]

Actuary says stats point to smaller premium increases next year

Also, the disparities in insurance coverage between states that embraced the health law and those that did not are more closely examined. And many Iowans will get to keep their pre-health law coverage. [More]

MNsure picks Deloitte to revamp exchange

Other state developments include the District of Columbia's decision to extend enrollment until April 30, New York's announcement that nearly 1 million residents enrolled in coverage and a Georgia report that only about half of the 220,000 enrollees in that state have paid their first month's premiums. [More]
First Edition: April 17, 2014

First Edition: April 17, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about emerging political strategies related to the health law and the upcoming congressional elections. [More]

UnitedHealth Group reports strong revenue growth in Q1 2014

UnitedHealth Group today reported first quarter results, highlighted by Optum's strong growth in revenues, operating earnings and revenue backlog and UnitedHealthcare's continued strong, diversified performance despite the negative impacts of newly effective ACA taxes and regulatory provisions and sequestration cuts to Medicare. [More]

Viewpoints: Cooking the Census books; immigrants left off health law; abortion still a 'tripwire'

You can't manage what you don't measure, as the great Peter Drucker used to say, and for the White House that seems to be the goal. Out of the blue, the Census Bureau has changed how it counts health insurance-;at the precise moment when ObamaCare is roiling the insurance markets (4/15). [More]
State highlights: Mass. can't ban painkiller, judge rules; Kan. and health care compact bill

State highlights: Mass. can't ban painkiller, judge rules; Kan. and health care compact bill

A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, Kansas, Florida, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri and Georgia. [More]

Uninsured rate drops more in states that expanded Medicaid, run own exchanges

News outlets also provide updates on Medicaid expansion efforts and debates in Colorado, Virginia, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Indiana. [More]

A heavy lift? legal challenge to Medicare's 'two midnight' rule

Modern Healthcare reports that some legal experts say it will be tough to convince judges to overturn the controversial rule on classifying Medicare in-patients. [More]

Census changes will make it hard to gauge health law's impact

The revisions are intended to make the survey more accurate, but specific questions will be so different that the results will not be comparable to previous years. [More]