OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Premiums lower than expected

Only a handful of states have released their cost estimates so far, but none of them has shown a dramatic increase in premiums. Several expect small increases basically in line with the pre-ObamaCare trend.

Healthwatch has more data from California's filing.

Waxman pleased: One top Democrat wasted no time highlighting the rate filings. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) touted the fact that, among the 13 plans participating in his state's exchange, Californians will have access to about 80 percent of the state's doctors and hospitals.

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“Today’s announcement shows that Californians buying coverage on their own will now have access to the same quality coverage that people get through their employers at the same or lower rates," Waxman said in a statement. "This is a really positive sign that insurers are eager to enter this market and compete."

Enroll America's White House ties: Yes, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is raising money for the nonprofit group Enroll America. But that's not all. The White House also orchestrated a leadership change in which one of its own officials ended up in the top job at Enroll America. Nancy-Ann DeParle, formerly a deputy chief of staff, is also making fundraising calls — and she, unlike Sebelius, is able to raise money from entities that the HHS regulates.

All in all, folks in the insurance industry say the White House is a lot more than an ally of Enroll America. Rather, the nonprofit has come to feel like "just an arm of the administration," as one industry official put it.

Be sure to read the Healthwatch story.

No Medicaid for immigrants: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed Thursday that taxpayers will not cover healthcare costs for illegal immigrants who gain a pathway to citizenship under immigration reform.

"It is stated very clearly in the Affordable Care Act, [and] it is our position in the immigration bill: no access to subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. Secondly, no access to Medicaid; no cost to the taxpayer," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "That has always been the Democratic position." 

Healthwatch has more.

AARP on Part D: We mentioned yesterday that the pharmaceutical industry had some kind words for Medicare's prescription drug benefit during a Senate hearing. AARP, the nation's largest seniors' lobby, also praised the program, saying it has expanded access to prescription drugs. But AARP expressed some concerns about the program's cost structure, as well as proposals to shift more costs onto seniors — including bipartisan proposals to charge wealthier seniors a higher premium.

"Seniors in Medicare have already paid into the system through payroll taxes — and those with higher incomes paid more into Medicare over their lifetimes ... AARP is also concerned that those with higher incomes may simply choose not to participate in the Medicare Part D program if asked to pay too much. This kind of risk selection could fundamentally change the nature and quality of the Medicare Part D program," the group said.


State by state

Maine lawmakers, governor in standoff on Medicaid expansion

Utah data available in advance of Medicaid expansion decision

Ariz. governor confident Medicaid proposal will pass

Iowa lawmakers have deal on low-income healthcare

UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna opt out of Calif. insurance exchange

Audit: NC Medicaid claims system untested, flawed


Lobbying registrations


M. J. Simon & Company / Vasomedical

Hogal Lovells / City Commission of the City of Harlingen


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Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523

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