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Enrollment Countdown For Obamacare

One week to the March 31st sign-up deadline for Obamacare. We’ll look at where the big health plan stands.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defends President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, as she answers questions from Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee during its review of President Obama’s budget requests, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defends President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, as she answers questions from Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee during its review of President Obama’s budget requests, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

One week from today, March 31st, is the deadline for signing up this year for Obamacare.  Health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  Miss March 31, and the doors are closed for a year.  It’s been a tumultuous rollout for the controversial health care program.  But America has had a big problem with millions of uncovered citizens.  And now, millions are signing up.  Is it the right millions to make the new system work?  Is it enough?  Is the whole thing holding together?  Working?  This hour On Point:  We’ll ask.  We’re looking at Obamacare, with one week to go for sign-up.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jenny Gold, health care reporter for Kaiser Health News. (@jennyagold)

Noam Levey, national healthcare reporter for the Los Angeles Times. (@NoamLevey)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Republic: The Latest Obamacare Doom Prediction—and What to Think About It — “Insurance companies may have expected a better mix of beneficiaries—in other words, more healthy people and fewer sicker ones. If so, the companies could discover that the premiums they set for this year are too low to cover the medical bills they must pay to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and the like. If that happens, the insurers could respond by raising premiums next year, perhaps substantially. Serious, honest people are worried about this scenario unfolding, based in part on rumblings they are picking up from within the insurance industry. ”

Los Angeles Times: In healthcare, what makes Maine different? — “Northern Maine ranks high on national measures of health, according to a yearlong review of healthcare data from communities around the country that The Times conducted with help from public health researchers. Residents of the region receive recommended screenings and medical care more often than other Americans. They suffer fewer complications in nursing homes and are less frequently prescribed risky medications. And they are nearly half as likely to die from preventable diseases as residents of other low-income areas, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan research foundation that studies healthcare systems.”

Reuters: In U.S. contraception case, a question of corporate rights — “The U.S. Supreme Court could dodge the contentious question of whether corporations have religious rights when it weighs objections to an Obamacare requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for contraception. The court, which hears oral argument in two consolidated cases on March 25, could rule that individuals who own closely held companies, rather than the corporations themselves, can argue their religious rights have been violated. Such a ruling would allow the court to avoid criticism that it favors corporate rights too much.”

The Supreme Court Hears A Contraceptive Health Care Case

Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate, where she writes about law and the courts.  (@DahliaLithwick)

Washington Post: Here’s what you need to know about the Hobby Lobby case — “The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, two highly anticipated cases that deal with the Affordable Care Act, religious freedom and women’s access to contraception. The case won’t be decided Tuesday, but we could get a clear indication of which way the justices are leaning.”

 

 

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