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Tag Archive: Affordable Care Act

Rule behind the ‘Hobby Lobby’ case was the most commented

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scales of justiceToday, the Supreme Court announced that it agreed to hear two cases around the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The SCOTUSblog writes:

The Court granted review of a government case (Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 13-354) and a private business case (Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, 13-356). Taking the Conestoga plea brought before the Court the claim that both religious owners of a business and the business itself have religious freedom rights. The Hobby Lobby case was keyed to rights under RFRA.

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How Much Did Healthcare.gov Actually Cost?

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The new healthcare exchange site has been the topic of several news stories these past few weeks. Many of them are quoting vastly different numbers for how much it cost to build. You'd think that sites like USASpending.gov or the Federal IT Dashboard1 would be able to give us some idea. But in reality, that's just not how federal spending is reported. healthcare_ladyMuch of government spending is bundled into huge contracts called IDIQs (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) that are meant to span many years and may go to multiple recipients. They're a lot like regular contracts except they can have very vague requirements and once the IDIQ itself has been competed, the government no longer has any requirement to compete any contract within that IDIQ. CGI Federal has one of these IDIQ contracts with the Department of Health and Human services. It was signed in 2007, long before the Affordable Care Act became law, and lasts until 2017. Within each IDIQ, the government creates purchase or task orders for specific services, which you can find in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). You can see a list of all the task orders for the CGI Federal IDIQ here. Given a few constraints (was the task order post-ACA? does the description sound like it might contribute to healthcare.gov?) I highlighted in blue my guesses at what task orders might be related to healthcare.gov. I think my guesses err on the over-inclusive side. Even so, if you add them up, it's about $70 million. That's not unheard of for a government website and it's certainly far lower than the $600 million cost that has been reported in some places. But the fact that we can't figure it out shows the dire state of federal spending transparency.

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Good enough for government work? The contractors building Obamacare

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The Obama administration dreamed that its health insurance exchanges--the websites that were supposed to make it easy to buy health insurance--would function as smoothly as online consumer sites like Expedia or Amazon.com. But as head-scratching continues about how a famously web-savvy administration could have flubbed its Internet homework so badly, an examination by the Sunlight Foundation shows the administration turned the task of building its futuristic new health care technology planning and programming over to legacy contractors with deep political pockets.

One result: Problem-plagued online exchanges that make it all but impossible for consumers to buy insurance and ...

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Contraceptives remain most controversial health care provision

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Contraceptives

Three years after Congress approved President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA), contraceptive care remains its most controversial provision, drawing not only more comments than any other regulatory proposal on any subject government-wide, according to an analysis of federal regulations on Sunlight's Docket Wrench.

More than 147,000 people and organizations have made their voices heard over the debate, most of them opposing the provision that requires that federal agencies have interpreted to mean that women have access to preventive services--including contraception--at no cost. The Catholic Church has led the charge, urging parishioners to write with messages such as ...

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