GOP Opposition To Health Law Hurts Efforts To Court Hispanics


Obamacare Protest at Supreme Court

Obamacare Protest at Supreme Court (Photo credit: southerntabitha)

Topics: Health Costs, Insurance, Medicaid, Politics, Health Reform, States

Apr 01, 2013

The Los Angeles Times reports that Latinos, who have the lowest rates of health coverage in the country, are among the strongest supporters of the health law. Meanwhile, AP examines the hard opposition to the overhaul in the South, led by Republican governors representing some of the poorest and least healthy states.

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare An Obstacle As Republicans Court Latinos
As Republican leaders try to woo Latino voters with a new openness to legal status for the nation’s illegal immigrants, the party remains at odds with America‘s fastest-growing ethnic community on another key issue: healthcare. Latinos, who have the lowest rates of health coverage in the country, are among the strongest backers of President Obama’s healthcare law (Levey, 3/31).

The Associated Press: The South: A Near-Solid Block Against ‘Obamacare’
As more Republicans give in to President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, an opposition bloc remains across the South, including from governors who lead some of the nation’s poorest and unhealthiest states…So why are these states holding out? The short-term calculus seems heavily influenced by politics (Barrow, 3/31).

The Hill: GOP Seeks To Benefit From Sebelius Admission On Healthcare Cost Hikes
Republican campaign officials are claiming new momentum for 2014 after the Obama administration admitted that some consumers could see their health insurance premiums rise under healthcare reform. This week’s surprise concession from federal Health secretary Kathleen Sebelius played into the GOP’s No. 1 message against the Affordable Care Act — that it will raise healthcare costs. The remark triggered a rush of campaign messaging against vulnerable Democrats who supported healthcare reform (Viebeck, 3/31).

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What The Health Law’s Future Holds


Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Insurance, Marketplace, Health Reform, Uninsured

Mar 25, 2013

At the health law’s three-year mark, news outlets look ahead to the major provisions slated to take effect in 2014, exploring their impact on insurance premiums and who might be left uncovered.

Politico: No Simple Procedure: Putting The Affordable Care Act Into Practice
Welcome to the eye of the Obamacare storm. This year represents a deceptively calm interlude — after the partisan war whoops of “repeal and replace,” and before 2014, when millions of Americans are supposed to get covered under the health care law. It’s a year of nuts and bolts, trying to get many complicated moving parts in place for a policy that large swaths of the country still oppose (Cheney, 3/24).

The Hill: On Third Anniversary, Obama Touts Health Law‘s Benefits
President Obama on Saturday touted his landmark healthcare reform law on its third anniversary, but cautioned that there was “more work to do to implement” its provisions (Mali, 3/23).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Obamacare’s Effect On Premiums Debated
With full rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care law just months away, attention is shifting from political battles to how it will affect health insurance premiums for millions of Americans. Some experts and studies predict sticker shock for people with individual coverage, who include about 5 percent of Georgians, though others say the fears are overblown. Workers with employer-based insurance, as well as those on Medicare and Medicaid, are expected to feel less financial fallout (Markiewicz and Williams, 3/24).

MPR News: U Study: After Reform, 1 In 10 Poor Will Lack Health Plan
A University of Minnesota study says 1 out of every 10 low-income people living in the state will still lack access to government health care coverage, despite the Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law. The law expands government coverage, said researcher Lynn Blewett, but there will still be low-income people without access to coverage: illegal immigrants, who are excluded from government programs, and some residents who are in the United States legally but have not been here long enough (Stawicki, 3/24).

The Medicare Newsgroup: CMS Innovation Center Continues Testing, Waiting for Results
With the goal of improving quality and cutting costs, the Affordable Care Act established The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) in January 2011 to test new methods of care delivery. However, the Innovation Center’s initiatives remain in the early stages of implementation and testing, according the December 2012 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services‘ (CMS) “Report to Congress” on the Innovation Center’s progress (Solana, 3/22).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Smoking, Obesity, Lack Of Insurance May Be Shortening Some Americans’ Life Spans


Topics: Aging, Health Disparities, Public Health

Sep 21, 2012

The New York Times reports that the nation’s life-expectancy trend has reversed by four years since 1990 for the country’s least-educated whites.

The New York Times: Reversing Trend, Life Span Shrinks For Some Whites
The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance (Tavernise, 9/20).

In other news –

Bloomberg: Alzheimer’s Leaves Patients, Caregivers Feeling Isolated
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, and their caregivers say the illness leaves them feeling isolated and apart from family, friends and life’s typical connections, a report shows. About a quarter of people with dementia hide or conceal their diagnosis because of the stigma surrounding the disease and 40 percent say they are excluded from everyday life, according to the World Alzheimer Report 2012 released today by London-based Alzheimer’s Disease International. About 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia and the numbers will more than triple to 115 million by 2050, according to the report (Ostrow, 9/20).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Minn. Governor Moves Forward On Insurance Exchange, Shifts Oversight


Topics: States, Politics, Health Reform, Marketplace, Insurance

Sep 19, 2012

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is shifting responsibility for a key part of the federal health overhaul in his state — a health insurance exchange — to a different state agency. He’s also moving forward on implementing the exchange, he said Tuesday.

Minnesota Public Radio: Citing Potential Conflicts Of Interest, Dayton Moves Insurance Exchange To Budget Office
Gov. Mark Dayton is changing the leadership of the administration’s work on a key part of the federal health care law in Minnesota — the insurance exchange. The governor is shifting the project’s oversight from the Department of Commerce to the state Management and Budget office. The move follows complaints that the Commerce Department was too secretive in developing an the health insurance marketplace, and questions of possible conflict of interest for the department (Stawicki, 9/18).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dayton Moving Ahead On Health Insurance Exchange
Gov. Mark Dayton told legislative leaders Tuesday that he will seek federal approval to move forward on a Minnesota-made health insurance exchange, but he sought to assure Republican opponents that he will defer important policy decisions until after the November election. Dayton also said he was shifting responsibility for leading the “next phase” of the exchange to a new state agency. The actions are a sign of continued movement to set up a state-run exchange, a key component of President Obama’s health care law. The exchanges are scheduled to launch nationwide in 2014 and aim to be competitive marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to comparison shop for health insurance (Crosby, 9/18).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Health Exchange Planning Shifted To New Agency
The Dayton administration is shifting responsibility for creating Minnesota’s health insurance exchange to a new state agency. The move by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton follows weeks of criticism from business leaders that they couldn’t get enough information about the project from the Commerce Department. The planning job will now fall to Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner James Showalter, according to a Tuesday, Sept. 18, letter from Dayton to legislative leaders (Snowbeck, 9/18).

And in California —

California Healthline: Exchange Narrows Name List To Four
At yesterday’s meeting of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange board, Chris Kelly, the exchange’s senior advisor for marketing and outreach, presented the four finalists in the project to pick a new name for the exchange — the name that will be used to market the exchange’s choices and services. “We brought forward about 13 names last time [at the Aug. 23 board meeting],” Kelly said, “including Wellquest and, of course, Avocado — that is still a crowd favorite.” Kelly prefaced his presentation by reiterating that each proposed name includes a marketing package with a unique logo and tagline — “a voice of its own,” as Kelly put it (Gorn, 9/19).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

House Panel To Consider Health Law Change That Would Help Brokers


Topics: Health Costs, Insurance, Marketplace, Politics, Health Reform

Sep 19, 2012

A House committee is preparing a bill that would change the health law’s medical loss ratio provision to exclude brokers’ fees from counting as administrative costs.

The Hill: House Panel Readies Bill To Alter Health Law’s Medical Loss Ratio
A feature of President Obama’s healthcare law often touted by Democrats would change under a House bill now ready for mark-up. The measure (H.R. 1206) from Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) would alter the law’s medical loss ratio (MLR) by excluding insurance brokers’ fees from counting as administrative costs under the requirement. The medical loss ratio mandates that insurers spend no less than about 80 percent of their premiums on medical care rather than administrative costs or profit, or rebate the difference to policyholders. Democrats and the Obama administration have praised the policy for producing more than $1 billion in consumer rebates this year (Viebeck, 9/18).

Meanwhile, a Senate subcommittee releases a report questioning the oversight of disability benefits –

The Hill: Report: Disability Benefits Wrongly Awarded
Lax oversight is leading the government to approve disability benefits for people who can’t prove that they’re disabled, according to a report released Tuesday by a Senate subcommittee. The report, spearheaded by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), says more than a quarter of disability claims are approved despite inadequate or conflicting information. That doesn’t necessarily mean all of those claims should have been rejected, Coburn said at a hearing Tuesday — but some unfounded approvals are surely slipping through the cracks of an inadequate review process. The report does not address people who might have been wrongly denied disability benefits (Baker, 9/18).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Polls Offer Windows Into Campaign Challenges, Dynamics


Topics: Health Costs, Women’s Health, Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform, Politics

Sep 19, 2012

A new round of polls indicates that, with seven weeks left of campaigning, President Barack Obama appears to be edging out GOP candidate Mitt Romney. However, the findings also highlight the political forces that could work for and against each candidate.

The New York Times: Wisconsin Offers Window Into Challenges Confronting Romney
Rob Jankowski, an independent voter who supported Mr. Obama four years ago but has been disappointed by his economic leadership and disapproves of his health care plan, is among the 3 percent of voters in the survey who say they are still undecided. He said he did not feel loyalty to Mr. Obama simply because he supported him last time, but he said Mr. Romney had not made his case. … The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac and CBS News, is tracking the presidential race with recurring polls in six states (Zeleny and Connelly, 9/19).

The Washington Post: Obama Up 8 Points Over Romney In Virginia
With just seven weeks of campaigning left before the November election, President Obama holds a clear lead over Mitt Romney in Virginia, buoyed by growing optimism about the state of the country and fueled by a big gender gap working in his favor, according to a new Washington Post poll (Vozzella, Balz and Cohen, 9/18).

In other presidential campaign news –

The Associated Press: Celebrities To Attend AARP Conference in N.O.
More than a dozen celebrities are participating in talks and activities for aging Americans at the national conference of the AARP this week in New Orleans. It will also be a presidential campaign stop for Republican Mitt Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. President Barack Obama is expected to address attendees via satellite. Both are speaking Friday about Social Security, Medicare, jobs and finances (9/18).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Number Of Physicians In Congress Could Grow By 50 Percent


Congress House

Congress House (Photo credit: stevecadman)

Topics: Politics, Medicare, Health Reform

Sep 18, 2012

In other congressional-election news, The New York Times reports on a New Jersey race in which Medicare is a key issue.

Medpage Today: More Docs Hope To Call D.C. Home
Depending on how the votes add up this November, the number of physicians roaming the halls of Congress could grow by half — from 20 to 30. A total of 28 physicians have their names on the ballot. That includes 17 incumbents and 11 challengers. Of the 20 physician members of Congress, 17 are in the House and three in the Senate. All of the physician House members, except for Rep. Ron Paul, MD, (R-Texas), who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House, are running for reelection. Two senators — Rand Paul, MD, (R-Ken.) and Tom Coburn, MD, (R-Okla.) — are not up for reelection (Pittman, 9/17).

The New York Times: Widow Takes On Congressman Who Ousted Her Husband
[Shelley] Adler and her Democratic allies have pounded away at [Republican Jon] Runyan for supporting a House Republican budget proposal that would overhaul Medicare, the health care program for older Americans. The Democratic attacks, which claim that the Republican budget would gut Medicare, have grown more persistent since the architect of that budget, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, was chosen as Mitt Romney‘s running mate. Mr. Runyan has argued that Ms. Adler and her Democratic allies are not only distorting the issue but are actually the ones who would endanger Medicare (Hernandez, 9/17).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.