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8 Million - Health Care Edge

8 Million

By Sam Baker, Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger

 

OPEN ENROLLMENT CLOSES STRONG: The book is closed on Obamacare's first open enrollment period (for real this time), and the results are a big win for the White House: 8 million people picked a plan through the law's insurance exchanges, President Obama announced yesterday. There are, of course, some important questions yet to be answered about that number, but it's hard to deny that enrollment has seen a remarkable turnaround since the launch of HealthCare.gov. Whether that turnaround helps Democrats in November's midterms is still an open question, but it's certainly the best outcome they could have asked for -- and much better than almost anyone expected.

Top Health Care News

OBAMACARE SIGN-UPS REACH 8 MILLION: The president also announced at the press conference Thursday that 35 percent of the people who signed up are under 35. (Sam Baker, National Journal)

  • The president expressed his frustration with states that chose not to expand Medicaid (Associated Press/Huffington Post)

     
  • In other enrollment news, more than 3 million people got covered in California, either signing up on the state's exchange or on the Medi-Cal program for low-income residents.

  • Enrollments exceeded the president's expectations (Mark Landler and Michael D. Shear, New York Times)

OBAMACARE SUCCEEDED FOR ONE SIMPLE REASON: IT'S HORRIBLE TO BE UNINSURED: It was hard to sign up, but it's worse to be uninsured. People waited. (Sarah Kliff, Vox)

OBAMA TELLS DEMOCRATS: DEFEND MY LAW: His message to the party was to "forcefully defend and be proud" of the Affordable Care Act during the midterm elections. (Edward-Isaac Dovere and Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico)

 

Health Services

TREATMENT COST COULD INFLUENCE DOCTORS' ADVICE TO PATIENTS: Some doctors' groups are saying they can no longer ignore the cost of health care, and must consider that when making decisions about a patient's treatment options. (Andrew Pollack, New York Times)

OBAMACARE SPURS JUMP IN CONSUMERS' HEALTH SPENDING: Consumer spending climbed by $20.4 billion in February, and more than 60 percent was on health services alone, according to new Commerce Department data. (Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg News)

Politics

THE DEBATE OVER OBAMACARE IS HARDLY OVER: "Obama the Optimist cited the sign-up numbers for the Affordable Care Act, the revised numbers for premium costs, and the good news on the expected life of the Medicare trust fund. Almost in awe, he declared, 'This thing is working.' But Obama the Realist admitted the Republican opposition has been unchanged by every statistic he cited. The GOP, he suggested, is going through the stages of grief. 'Anger and denial ... we're not at acceptance yet,' he said, though he added hopefully that his critics may get there 'at some point.'" (George E. Condon Jr., National Journal)

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SEBELIUS SAYS SHE IS NOT INTERESTED IN SENATE RUN: "Secretary Sebelius is continuing her important work at HHS and is not considering a run for the Senate," a spokeswoman said. (Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times)

WHAT STATE INSURANCE CHIEFS WANT FROM OBAMACARE: Topics covered in Obama's meeting with state insurance commissioners Thursday include Sebelius's resignation as HHS Secretary, navigator issues, 2015 premium rates. (Sophie Novack, National Journal)

THE HUGE PROBLEM WITH THE LATEST OBAMACARE CONSPIRACY THEORY: It doesn't make sense for the White House to have meddled with the Census Bureau's formula. (Ezra Klein, Vox)

End-of-Life

HOW AMERICANS DIE: A visual representation. (Matthew C. Klein, Bloomberg View)

Smoking

TOBACCO LOBBY OPENS NEW PLAYBOOK ON E-CIGARETTES: "As tobacco companies jockey to expand their e-cigarette business, they're using an updated lobbying playbook that drops opposition to regulations and embraces the prohibition of sales to minors, industry lobbyists say." (Michael Catalini, National Journal)

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