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The New GOP Healthcare Bill Still Contains a Costly Oversight – but It'll Get Passed

GOP healthcare bill

The GOP healthcare bill is being voted on today.

We expect the measure to pass.

Though we're still concerned about one major financial oversight in the legislation...

The Hidden Player That's Jacking Up Drug Prices (Hint: It's Not Big Pharma)

drug prices

People are quick to blame big pharma for outrageous drug prices that threaten American families. However, the health insurance companies are just as conniving.

Here's what they are doing - and what American families are being forced to endure...

This Change to the GOP Healthcare Bill Will Leave Some Americans Penniless

GOP healthcare bill

The GOP healthcare bill has "evolved" into legislation that will cover the chronically ill "beautifully," according to President Donald Trump.

But this one amendment could do more harm than good to Americans who can least afford it.

Here's how both their physical and financial health will suffer...

U.S. Life Expectancy Is Shockingly Low, Despite Astronomical Healthcare Spending

Healthcare

Back in October 2016, specialty drug prices grew 18.9% - and are projected to increase another 18% this year.

Despite the staggering increase, Americans still aren't living as long as those in other countries.

And the worst part is they are paying more, too...

These 3 Charts Show How Markets Moved After Trump's Healthcare Fail

dow jones news today

Trump's healthcare fail on Friday (March 24) sent investors into a panic.

Here's a look at how markets are moving after the healthcare flop...

The One Chart That Has Everyone Freaking Out Over the GOP Healthcare Plan

GOP healthcare plan

The GOP healthcare plan is taking fire from all sides - including a surprising number of Republicans.

The latest wave of attacks stem from a new report by the Congressional Budget Office. The 10-year projections show that 24 million more people will be uninsured by 2026 under the GOP plan, called the American Healthcare Act. And premiums for some older Americans with modest incomes would skyrocket more than eightfold.

Here's the chart that has split the GOP over its healthcare proposal...

How Healthcare Costs Are Squeezing America's Middle Class

healthcare costs

In August 2016, healthcare costs in America reached their highest level since 1984.

Anxiety about paying medical bills now outpaces job and unemployment worries as well as concerns about paying everyday household bills.

Here are the factors that have pushed healthcare to the top of U.S. households' "worry" lists.

Biggest Healthcare Fraud Scheme in U.S. History Just Caught by DOJ

Yesterday, news broke of the biggest healthcare fraud scheme takedown in U.S. history.

Here's a look at how much in taxpayer dollars the scammers managed to steal...

Healthcare Disruptors and the New War on Alzheimer's

healthcare industry

New drug protocols and advancements in medicine are turning the healthcare industry into one of the most profitable sectors out there. And they're not the only game-changers around.

There are other sector "disruptors" waiting to make you a profit.

Here's what you need to look for...

Is Obamacare Creating a Part-Time America?

America has become a part-time nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that in June part-time employees in the labor force reached an all-time high of 28 million, 3 million more than when the recession began in 2007.

The economy lost 240,000 full-time jobs in June and added 360,000 part-time jobs, the BLS noted. Of the 753,000 jobs created this year, 589,000 were part time.

The real unemployment rate in June, the U6, stood at 14.3%, up from 13.8%, a figure that includes part-time workers seeking full-time jobs and those who have become discouraged and are no longer looking for work.

Now many economists and many in the financial press with sympathies to the administration have attributed the rise in part-time America to uncertainty among employers about future profitability and growth and not to the looming Obamacare mandate.

It's ironic that in trying to play down Obamacare's influence on the job market, they end up dissing the president's stewardship of the economy.

However, Obamacare has likely played a significant role in the part-time job wave. Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with 50 or more full-time workers must provide health insurance to all full-time employees, those working 30 or more hours per week.

So if your workers don't work 30 hours per week you don't have to provide health insurance. It makes economic sense to have a part-time work force in many cases. Even with the administration's recent one-year extension of implementing the employer mandate until 2015, most small companies are still preparing to it.

A reported 74% of small businesses are positioning themselves to slash hours, layoff workers or both.

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Nearly Half of Americans Say Obamacare is a Bad Idea

Obamacare critics have maintained from day one the president's signature healthcare bill is disastrous and doomed to fail.

Now with just months until the bill takes full effect, more and more Americans are beginning to think the same thing.

According to recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, support for the Affordable Care Act is slipping.

The fresh poll shows 49% of Americans say President Barack Obama's health care reform bill is a bad idea. That's the highest percentage since the poll began measuring backing and opposition for the reform in 2009. Only 37% say the plan is a good idea.

The numbers reflect a sharp increase in disapproval since July 2012 following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare overhaul. At that time, 44% of survey respondents called it a bad idea vs. 40% who called it a good one.

The latest poll also revealed 38% of participants said they and their families will be in worse shape under the new health care law, the highest negative outlook percentage toward Obamacare since it was signed into law in 2010.

Now just 19% say they will be better off while 39% say the law won't make much difference.

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California Just Gave Us a Glimpse of How Obamacare Will Fail

Turns out no one knows how Obamacare will work - not even the big-name insurers.

And now, we're starting to see the effects of uncertainty.

Today (Thursday), the Los Angeles Times reported that United Health, Aetna, and Cigna have opted out of the California insurance exchange.

UnitedHealth has adopted a wait-and-see policy: "We are simply taking the time to carefully evaluate and better understand how the exchanges will work to ensure we are best prepared to participate meaningfully in their development," explains a spokesman to the LA Times.

Cigna resolved to participate in exchanges in only half of the 10 states where it sells individual health policies, and California didn't make the cut.

Aetna referred LA Times' questions to Covered California, the state agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.

That means millions of Californians who will have to choose health insurance from exchanges or face a penalty will not be able to pick plans from those three big insurers - signaling limited options ahead thanks to Obamacare.

UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Cigna's response to the California exchange is just the beginning.

These three companies are but the first dominoes to fall to Obamacare's less-than-clear implementation.

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How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs

Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.

And the pain doesn't stop there - the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.

When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 -- as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- the sequester kicked in.

Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.

After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.

In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.

And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.

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Obamacare Ruling: Key Takeaways for Investors and Taxpayers

It's time to buy some insurance for your portfolio following Thursday's landmark Obamacare ruling.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of President Obama's controversial healthcare reform law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The chief and appellate justices upheld the core of the law which has sweeping political and economic ramifications. Many economists, analysts and healthcare experts warn it's a Pyrrhic victory at best.

President Obama and his supporters cheered the landmark healthcare decision - as Republicans reached for an aspirin, an antacid or an analgesic.

While the GOP vows to throw out the law on day one if Mitt Romney wins Election 2012, the ruling does remove some of the dark clouds that have been looming over healthcare stocks. The uncertainty of the law's passage has had many market participants staying away from the sector.

Obamacare Ruling and the Average Household

What Obamacare means for the average American working family with an annual household income up to approximately $90,000, is that starting in 2014, they will be able to purchase private insurance through new state insurance markets at prices subsidized according to income level.

Mammograms, cancer screenings and other preventative healthcare measures will be available without deductibles or co-pays.

Adult children can remain on parents' health insurance plans until they are 26. Seniors can continue to receive discounts on prescription drugs, and health insurers will continue to pay rebates on premiums not adequately targeted at healthcare services.

In addition, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to adults with a pre-existing medical condition and must stop or limit the practice of discriminatory pricing based on gender, age and current health status.

Furthermore, healthcare providers will gravitate away from the conventional fee-for-service approach toward systems that coordinate care.

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Stock Market Today: Obamacare Upheld

Volatility in the stock market today is high due to several factors both domestically and abroad.

The Obamacare ruling is the main driver causing uncertainty in the market, followed by the start of the European Union summit today in Brussels.

The Obamacare ruling had been anticipated with such fervor that reporters camped in front of the Supreme Court for days before the decision.

They finally got one - and it may come as a surprise to many.

The controversial mandate that requires everyone to purchase healthcare by 2014 or pay a small fine was upheld. The vote came in at 5-4 with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito dissenting.

Chief Justice Roberts said that the mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause, but it will survive as a tax.

Republicans had been almost certain that the mandate would be stuck down and President Obama can now breathe a small sigh of relief that his healthcare overhaul has been upheld.

Back to the EU summit, which has been awaited with such pessimism that the yield on Spanish 10-year bonds has risen above 7% again and the euro slipped to a three-week low of $1.24 versus the dollar.

There is an unusual and detrimental air of division and discord among the European leaders heading into the summit. The continent needs to work towards more integration rather than fragmentation if they are to lay down a framework for better fiscal, financial and political union.

U.S. unemployment claims fell slightly from the 392,000 initial claims reported last week to a still alarmingly high number of 386,000 for the week ended June 23. The final estimate for the first quarter's gross domestic product (GDP) came in at the expected 1.9%, but that estimate had already been lowered last week by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Looking beyond these reports, here are some stocks in the headlines today.

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