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Health law changes take hold but acceptance eludes "Obamacare" as sign-up season winds down

WASHINGTON - As a roller-coaster sign-up season winds down, President Barack Obama's health care law has indeed managed to change the country. Americans are unlikely to go back to a time when people with medical problems could be denied coverage. But Obama's overhaul needs major work of its own if it is to go down in history as a legacy achievement like Medicare or Social Security. Major elements of the Affordable Care Act face an uncertain future:

'Obamacare' sign-ups top 6 million: White House

More than six million Americans had registered for health insurance under US President Barack Obama's reform by Thursday, fewer than initially hoped but in line with revised projections. Obama announced the numbers in a telephone call from Italy to health care officials and volunteers, the White House said, marking a surge in enrollments before a March 31 deadline.

U.S. to extend some Obamacare enrollment past March 31 deadline: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will grant an extension to people who say they are unable to enroll in the new healthcare program by next Monday's deadline, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, quoting federal officials. The Post said people who started to apply for Obamacare coverage through the website but cannot finish by Monday would have until about the middle of April to seek an extension. The administration is scheduled to announce the change on Wednesday, the newspaper said.

Supreme Court signals support for corporate religious claims

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court signaled on Tuesday it may allow corporations to mount religious objections to government action, possibly paving the way for companies to avoid covering employees' birth control as required under Obamacare.

U.S. justices take up religious challenge to Obamacare provision

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday considers whether business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control. In one of the biggest cases of the year, the nine justices will hear an extended 90-minute oral argument, with the extra 30 minutes the court added to the usual hour-long session hinting at the complexity of the legal issues involved.

U.S. to allow some people to enroll in Obamacare after deadline

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will soon issue new Obamacare guidelines allowing people to enroll in health coverage after a March 31 deadline, but only under certain circumstances, according to sources close to the administration.

South Carolina lawmakers fail in attempt to undo Obamacare

By Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - South Carolina lawmakers failed to derail implementation of President Barack Obama's signature health care law in the state when a measure was defeated in the Republican-controlled Senate. Last year, the state House passed a bill that nullified the law by calling for criminal penalties for anyone who sought to enforce it. Late Wednesday night, however, Senators voted 33-9 to defeat an amendment regarding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Some companies are seeing higher costs because of law, while others are saving money

The health care overhaul affects businesses both big and small in ways that are as wide-reaching as the law itself. Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. private employer, expects $330 million in additional health care costs this year in part because it thinks more employees are signing up for its insurance to meet the law's requirement that most Americans have coverage.

Republican wins Congress seat in 2014 'Obamacare' test

Republican David Jolly won a special congressional election in Florida, in an important early test of President Barack Obama's health care reforms as lawmakers gear up for November's mid-term elections. "We had a big win last night in Florida," House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Wednesday, crediting the outcome to his party's focus on job creation as well as opposition to the health care law known as "Obamacare." Jolly narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a race to replace Republican Bill Young, who died in October after four decades in office.

U.S. House votes to delay Obamacare's individual mandate

By David Morgan and Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to delay for one year the tax penalty Americans will pay under President Barack Obama's healthcare law if they decline to enroll in health coverage for this year. The measure passed by a vote of 250-160, with 27 Democrats joining with 223 Republicans to back the legislation. But the bill is expected to go nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate and would face a White House veto even if it succeeded.
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