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Congressional Documents

CRS memo indicates number of missed ACA deadlines

Posted on April 23, 2014

An updated memo released from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) outlines the number of deadlines the federal government has missed during implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The memo consists of three tables, each representing a year after ACA enactment, with a list of the statutory tasks intended to have been achieved that year and the actions taken by the administration on that task as of April 15, 2014. According to Politico, the administration still has about 22 outstanding deadlines on ACA implementation.

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CBO lowers ACA cost estimate

Posted on April 14, 2014

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently updated their cost estimate for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new estimate states that the ACA will cost $1.383 trillion over the next ten years, which is $104 billion less than the February estimate. The CBO states that the readjustment can be attributed to administrative changes, changes in the law, judicial decisions, new data (such as projected healthcare expenditures for both the private and public sectors), and changes in modeling.

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CRS memo explains premium subsidies for plans offered outside of Marketplaces

Posted on April 10, 2014

A memorandum from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee states that a “literal application” of the law would prohibit premium subsidies to be offered for plans sold outside of the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces. The memo also provided means by which the administration could argue they possessed the authority to offer subsidies outside of the Marketplaces.

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CBO estimate indicates impact of repealing the individual mandate

Posted on March 13, 2014

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of HR 4015 found that repealing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate would save the government $169.5 billion over the next 10 years. Doing so would also result in 13 million fewer individuals having insurance by 2018, and those with insurance would pay more for their coverage. Lifting the individual mandate is the current pay-for for the House bill to reform the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The savings from removing the mandate would arise from the decreased issuance of health insurance subsidies, or premium tax credits.

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GAO report finds states spend one-third of Medicaid dollars on few beneficiaries

Posted on February 20, 2014

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report citing how Medicaid spends a third of their funds on a small sect of high-expenditure Medicaid beneficiaries. The report, Medicaid: Demographics and Service Usage of Certain High-Expenditure Beneficiaries, found that states spent 31.6% of all Medicaid expenditures on 4.3% of the Medicaid population. Furthermore, the report stated that certain characteristics, such as residing in a long-term care facility, contributed to individuals being deemed high-expenditure Medicare beneficiaries.

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CBO FAQ clarifies recent report

Posted on February 10, 2014

A new set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) was published today by Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in an effort to clarify some of the misconceptions concerning CBO’s report released last week. The FAQ clarifies that 2.5 million Americans will not lose their jobs as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but will instead no longer feel forced to remain employed just to receive healthcare. The FAQ also addresses why CBO chose to revisit the labor market in their study.

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Federal government releases several ACA related documents

Posted on February 4, 2014

Several documents concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been recently released by different entities within the federal government. A letter from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee concerning the risk corridor provisions within the ACA surfaced today. The risk corridor was designed to aid insurance companies who may enroll a disproportionate number of less-healthy, or riskier, individuals. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides information on baseline premiums for individuals aged 19 to 64 across all 50 states. GAO used information available on healthcare.gov to assess the lowest premium amounts available to consumers in January 2014. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014-2024, which stated that 6 million Americans will receive health insurance from ACA marketplaces, 1 million less than previously anticipated. The report also claimed that full-time employment by 2016 will be reduced by nearly 2 million individuals, which the CBO is attributing to a reduction in the number of hours worked as a result of employers being required to offer health care benefits for full-time employees.

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CRS report provides FAQs on contractors and healthcare.gov

Posted on January 31, 2014

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a new report containing frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning healthcare.gov contractors. Given the rocky roll out of healthcare.gov, CRS intended to answer common questions about the role of contractor procurement and performance. The CRS report explicitly highlights that questions are answered in general terms in an effort to protect the rights of the contracted parties and avoid the specifics of each document.

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CRS issues report on Unified Agenda

Posted on January 16, 2014

The Congressional Research Service released a new report concerning the 2013 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,or Unified Agenda, for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In order to help promote congressional oversight, the Unified Agenda contains certain data points on all rules associated with a specific federal law. The Unified Agenda divides rules into three categories: active actions, completed actions, and long-term actions. The report, Upcoming Rules Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Spring 2013 Unified Agenda, covers the fifth Unified Agenda pertaining to the ACA.

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New GAO report finds similarities among state CHIP plans

Posted on January 2, 2014

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans from five states and compared these plans to each state’s respective benchmark Qualified Health Plan (QHP) offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Overall, GAO found the CHIP plans were comparable to the benchmark plans in terms of the services covered and the limitations placed upon those services. The cost of these services to the consumers, however, was generally less for the CHIP plans than for the benchmark plans. Plan usage for certain services was one difference detected between the two plans. For instance, CHIP beneficiaries reported more usage of emergency room services compared to individuals with private insurance.

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