KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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As Increasing Numbers Gain Coverage Under Obamacare, GOP Faces Dilemma

The Associated Press looks at the difficult choice for Republicans who oppose the president's health program but haven't offered much to replace it for the millions of people who would be uninsured without it. Other health law news includes reports on broadening transgender rights, administration efforts to promote the law and possible changes to a program to help insurers deal with outsized risks.

The Associated Press: Health Insurance Gains Due to Obama's Law, Not Economy
There’s growing evidence that most of the dramatic gain in the number of Americans with health care coverage is due to President Barack Obama’s law, and not the gradual recovery of the nation’s economy. That could pose a political risk for Republicans running against “Obamacare” in the GOP primaries as they shift to the general election later this year. While the health care law remains highly unpopular in the party, the prospect of taking away health care coverage from millions of people could trigger a backlash if the eventual GOP nominee’s plan to replace it is seen as coming up short. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/21)

The Associated Press: Disputed Health Law Rule Would Broaden Transgender Rights
Big companies are pushing back against proposed federal rules they say would require their medical plans to cover gender transition and other services under the nondiscrimination mandate of President Barack Obama's health care law. Civil rights advocates representing transgender people say the regulation, now being finalized by the Health and Human Services Department, would be a major step forward for a marginalized community beginning to gain acceptance as celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner tell their stories. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/22)

STAT: The Next Obamacare Sales Pitch: How Medical Care Will Get Better
The Obama administration is trying once again to address a criticism that has dogged the president ever since his health care bill passed six years ago: they need to sell it better. And this time, they’re paying a lot more attention to the medical side — the parts that no one outside of a narrow circle of health care wonks really understands. (Scott, 3/22)

Modern Healthcare: Changes To Risk-Adjustment Program Are Coming, Now Or Later
A controversial federal health program that helps insurers withstand the ebbs and flows of the new insurance exchanges will be put under the microscope this week with the hope of making it fairer in the long term. The CMS will host a public meeting Friday in which health insurers, state officials and others will offer their input on how to change the Affordable Care Act's risk-adjustment methodology for 2018 and beyond. Under the permanent risk-adjustment program, which is a zero-sum game, the federal government redistributes money from plans that have lower-cost, healthier members to companies that have higher-cost, sicker members. (Herman, 3/19)

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