Health

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Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Health Care Law

For the second time in three years, the federal Affordable Care Act went before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. And before a packed courtroom, a divided group of justices mostly picked up right where they left off the last time. Once again, commentators and experts were left to wonder where Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered swing votes in the case, stand. A decision is expected by the end of June. Unlike in 2012, the current case, …

5 Things to Know About the Obamacare Court Case

The Affordable Care Act is once again before the Supreme Court. On March 4, the justices will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case challenging the validity of tax subsidies helping millions of Americans buy health insurance if they don’t get it through an employer or the government. If the court rules against the Obama administration, those subsidies could be cut off for everyone in the three dozen states using healthcare.gov, the federal exchange website. A decision is …

Tax Time Reprieve for Obamacare Procrastinators

The Obama administration said Friday it will allow a special health law enrollment period from March 15 to April 30 for consumers who realize while filling out their taxes that they owe a fee for not signing up for coverage last year. The special enrollment period applies to people in the 37 states covered by the federal marketplace, though some state-run exchanges are also expected to follow suit. People will have to attest that they first became aware of the …

Government Nursing Home Ratings Getting Tougher

Starting immediately, the federal government is making it harder for nursing homes to get top grades on a public report card, in part by increasing scrutiny of their use of antipsychotic drugs and raising the bar on an array of quality measures. Those grades — in the form of one- to five-star ratings — are part of Nursing Home Compare, a government website to help consumers evaluate nursing homes. While the star ratings, which debuted in December 2008, are lauded …

Study: Suffering Increasing at the End of Life

It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care. So has dying in America gotten any less painful? Despite efforts to build hospice and palliative-care programs across the country, the answer seems to be a resounding no. The number of Americans experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly …

Poll: If Court Rules Against Obamacare Subsidies, Most Want Them Restored

A new poll finds that most people think Congress or states should act to restore health insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court decides later this year they are not permitted in states where the federal government is running the marketplace. The court in March is set to hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit arguing that the wording of the Affordable Care Act means that financial assistance with premiums is available in only the 13 states that created and are running …