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The cost to taxpayers of flaws in Maryland's online health insurance exchange is coming into focus, with officials estimating at least $30.5 million in unnecessary Medicaid spending and conceding that they have no idea how much it will take to get a system that works. The state has paid $65.4 million to the contractor hired to build the system and fired this week because of the protracted problems. Costs are likely to keep rising as Maryland figures out how to fix or replace the system.
The Obama administration on Wednesday released a broad set of regulatory changes to the health law that would give some consumers additional time to stay in plans that do not comply with all its coverage requirements and all consumers more time to enroll in coverage come 2015.
Drug testing for welfare benefits has been a subject of debate since Congress overhauled welfare in 1996. And, now from written tests designed to flag drug users to singling out people with recent drug convictions, state lawmakers across the country are pursuing novel strategies to deny welfare benefits to drug users without running afoul of a recent federal court ruling.
Florida lawmakers backing expansion of the state's Medicaid program plan to mount a new argument this legislative session: That voting against extending the program would deprive low-income U.S. citizens of access to insurance that's available to some legal immigrants.
Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and local officials say. The cuts to public sector employment, which has failed to rebound since the recession, could serve as a powerful political weapon for Republican critics of the health care law, who claim that it is creating a drain on the economy.
A fierce battle is brewing over Detroit's bankruptcy restructuring blueprint, as the financial community decries the plan's treatment of bondholders, labor groups blast the plan as unfair to pensioners and Judge Steven Rhodes nonetheless exhorts all sides to negotiate in earnest. Rhodes proposed an aggressive time line for approval of the city's bankruptcy plan, potentially limiting the bickering and forcing all sides to consider concessions.
Mississippi's Board of Education approved new Common Core-aligned English and math courses Friday, but not before some board members objected, saying they believe teachers and students need another year to prepare.
n the news media and in popular culture, the notion persists that millennials — born after the overt racial debates and divisions that shaped their parents' lives — are growing up in a colorblind society in which interracial friendships and marriages are commonplace and racism is largely a relic. But interviews with dozens of students, professors and administrators at the University of Michigan and elsewhere indicate that the reality is far more complicated.
South Dakota's House of Representatives rejected Medicaid expansion Monday afternoon. The vote came as an amendment to an alternative health care bill. The amendment would have expanded Medicaid to South Dakotans earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, $15,521 for an individual or $31,721 for a family of four.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Voting rights for felons on the table

Kentucky could be heading for a historic change this year as it moves closer to abolishing its law banning felons from voting, thanks to a bipartisan effort in the state Capitol and a big assist from Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul. The state has long had among the most restrictive felon voting rules, thus disenfranchising a high percentage of its voting-age population.