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Doctor appointment availability varies by insurance type

By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People's chances of getting a new primary care doctor vary depending on their insurance, according to a new study. Researchers calling doctors' offices and claiming to be a patient with private insurance had about an 85 percent success rate for getting appointments. Their success rate was about 58 percent when they claimed to have Medicaid, the government insurance for the poor.

U.S. reports three million Medicaid enrollments under Obamacare

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three million lower-income Americans have enrolled in the Medicaid program for the poor so far during the rollout of U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, the administration announced on Friday.

Administration says health care bill has helped add 3 million to Medicaid rolls

WASHINGTON - Three million Americans signed up for Medicaid under President Barack Obama's new health care law as of the end of February, the administration said Friday, offering its first full accounting of how much the safety-net health program has grown since implementation of the law.

Medicare reform redux: How Ryan's new plan squeezes seniors

(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.) By Mark Miller CHICAGO (Reuters) - Imagine a Medicare reform plan that boosts your premiums 50 percent. If you like your doctor, you won't be able to keep her. The wealthy will subsidize healthcare for poor seniors. An Obamacare takeover of Medicare? Nope. It's the latest iteration of "premium support," the plan for Medicare unveiled this week by U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

House panel adopts GOP budget plan laced with cuts to health care spending, aid to poor

WASHINGTON - A budget plan stuffed with familiar proposals to cut across a wide swath of the federal budget breezed through the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, but its sharp cuts to health care coverage for the middle class and the poor, food stamps and popular domestic programs are a nonstarter with President Barack Obama.

U.S. says HealthCare.gov functions unavailable to new users

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. administration said key segments of its Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, were unavailable to new users for a second time on Monday, as record numbers of people tried to access the site hours before the enrollment deadline for health insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is responsible for implementing the healthcare law, said new users were unable to access HealthCare.gov's application end enrollment tools around midday.

Congress approves bill to avert Medicare pay cut for doctors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval on Monday to legislation to avert a pay cut for doctors who participate in the Medicare insurance program for the elderly and disabled. By a vote of 64-35, the Democratic-led Senate sent the measure, approved last week by the Republican-led House of Representatives, to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

Gilead says has discounted hepatitis C drug for some health plans

By Deena Beasley (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc, under fire for pricing a new hepatitis C drug at $1,000 a pill, has discount agreements with a number of health insurers, a company executive said in an interview. The medication, Sovaldi, has a list price of $84,000 for a 12-week course of therapy and is seen as a breakthrough in the treatment of the serious liver disease.

Faulty state Obamacare exchanges weigh joining HealthCare.gov

By Caroline Humer (Reuters) - A few U.S. states whose newly created Obamacare insurance exchanges were stalled by technology failures may join the federal government's HealthCare.gov marketplace for next year, while only two states that relied on the administration plan to go it alone.

Fractious Republicans struggle over defense spending, Medicare

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Republicans will unveil a 10-year budget blueprint in the next few weeks that will champion fiscal austerity, a theme party leaders hope will energize conservative voters ahead of the November congressional elections.
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