START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

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Friday Short Cuts

No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the King v. Burwell challenge to the Affordable Care Act, Vermont lawmakers say they are optimistic about their state’s health exchange.

State Republican leaders are ratcheting up the pressure on Congress to overhaul the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court this month rules that subsidies on the federal exchange are invalid.

Republicans from 33 states have written to Congress as part of a coordinated message urging federal legislators to develop a plan that would free states from the pressure of setting up their own exchanges to salvage subsidies, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank.

California's Obamacare exchange awarded its executive director a $65,000 bonus Thursday four months after giving him a 24% raise.

​Starting July 1, Peter Lee will have a base salary of $333,120 as head of Covered California. The exchange's board granted him a 24% raise in February and it gave Lee another 2.5% increase Thursday.

Covered California's board chairwoman, Diana Dooley, said Lee deserved the additional compensation for his work building the state-run marketplace and his continued commitment to serving consumers statewide.

(Note: This sounds a bit excessive to me...then again, some private insurance company CEOs receive millions, so...)

The exchange, which will transition to the federal exchange this fall, is awaiting approval from the federal government for approximately $10 million to assist with the transition, according to Alborg.

The state and federal funds will go to personnel, IT licensing, maintenance and operations, the contact center, and some outreach costs to cover the next fiscal year while the Connector winds down its operations, he said.

There were so many ways the Affordable Care Act could have been derailed since lawmakers and the administration started crafting it in 2009. Any one of the five congressional committees that wrote the bill could have inserted language dooming the package in either chamber. Senate Democrats, with just enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, could have failed to finish their work before Republican Scott Brown unexpectedly captured the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, who had spent much of his 47 years in the Senate fighting for health care reform. The U.S. Supreme Court could have invalidated the individual mandate in 2012, destroying a key pillar of the law. And one of the 50-plus efforts by House Republicans to repeal the law might have succeeded.

Three health-related Massachusetts companies are expected to go public next week, according to a release from a company that manages IPO-focused exchanged traded funds.

It is D-Day once again for Obamacare, the President's hard-won health law, which stands again before the Supreme Court.

Opponents are asking the Supreme Court to determine a critical question: does the text of the law authorize tax subsidies for 6.4 million Americans who have already received help to afford health coverage?

As the justices work toward a self-imposed June deadline, they will seek to answer that question, knowing that if they side with the challengers the ruling could severely destabilize the structure of the entire law. Here are five questions to understand what is going on:

Insurers and government officials in Wyoming are bracing for an impending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a challenge to the Affordable  Care Act that could leave thousands of state residents without health coverage.

The House voted Thursday to repeal an ObamaCare tax on medical devices that is intended to generate billions of dollars for the law.

The final vote was 280-140, with 46 Democrats voting in favor.

Supporters of the bill say the 2.3 percent tax, which affects about 7,000 manufacturers nationwide, is holding back innovation on important devices like X-ray machines and ventilators.