The Washington Post: Obama administration rewrites some health-care policies

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it has rewritten an array of far-reaching rules under the Affordable Care Act, the most significant of which will let people keep bare-bones health insurance policies for three more years.

The rule changes will touch essentially every sector affected by the 2010 health-care law. It will buffer more health plans in insurance exchanges from high patient costs, give states more time to decide whether to run their own marketplaces, and spare certain unions from a fee they have resented.

The administration also is raising the possibility that small-business workers in some states might not be given a choice of health plans — potentially undermining a significant aspect of the law that federal health officials already have delayed once.

In announcing many rules at the same time, senior administration officials portrayed it as a move to address early in the year every major issue that needed to be resolved about how exactly the health-care law will work for 2015 — in contrast to the chaos and lurching policy shifts that surrounded the launch of the exchanges last fall.

“I think we have turned the corner on that,” one official told reporters, speaking at the White House’s insistence on the condition of anonymity. “We are putting out the policies early. They are clear. People can rely on them.”

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