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Over the last seven months, shoppers in the new health insurance marketplace have become patients, using their new plans for the first time.

By the time Mark Horner signed up for insurance on Healthcare.gov in March, the furor over the site's botched rollout had largely been replaced with news that millions of people were flooding the site to enroll.

Erlanger Health System trustees passed what the hospital CEO is calling an “aggressive” budget for the upcoming year, which includes a 2.2 percent increase in patients.

Using the words “disgraceful” and “atrocious” to describe long delays in the TennCare application process, three legal advocacy groups say they hope a federal class-action lawsuit filed against the state agency will put more pressure on state officials to overhaul the system.

Three legal advocacy organizations filed a federal class action lawsuit today against TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, saying that the state has “broken a decades-old promise to its most vulnerable residents” by implementing new policies the groups say deprive thousands of eligible people — including newborns, pregnant women and the elderly — from coverage.

More than 120,000 Tennesseans who bought health insurance plans off the new federal marketplace this year — 80 percent of those who bought such plans — made the purchase with the help of federal tax credits.

A Chattanooga family backed by a state disability advocacy group has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Erlanger Health System claiming the hospital did not provide the husband and wife — both deaf — with a medical interpreter during crucial health procedures and for prolonged periods while they were patients at the hospital.

One year after budgeting for a bottom line in the red for the first time, Erlanger Health System officials are aiming for a much higher mark.

Erlanger Health System officials are budgeting for a $10.8 million profit this year — a more "aggressive" budget than what officials aimed for last year, when the hospital budgeted for a deficit for the first time.

As patients, doctors and health analysts look to see how the Affordable Care Act plays out, the emergency room is one of the closely watched stages.

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