KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate Leader Reid Exempting Some Staff From Buying Health Insurance On Exchanges

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is exempting some of his staff from buying health care coverage on the health law's exchanges, a move the law allows but one that few if any top congressional leadership figures have made. Elsewhere, Rep. Darrel Issa says could cost $1 billion when the site is finally fully operational.

CNN: Some Reid Staffers Exempt From Obamacare Exchanges 
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare's architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law's new exchanges. Reid and his personal staff will buy insurance through the exchange. But it's also true that the law lets lawmakers decide if their committee and leadership staffers hold on to their federal employee insurance plans, an option Reid has exercised (Frates, 12/4).

Fox News: Reid Exempts Some Staff From Having To Buy Insurance On Obamacare Exchange 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is allowing some staffers to keep their health insurance instead of making them buy it through an Obamacare exchange, although he was one of the strongest Capitol Hill supporters of the 2010 law. The Nevada Democrat is exercising his discretion under the president's signature law to designate which staffers can keep their federal insurance plan and which must now purchase a policy through the District of Columbia's health care exchange (12/4).

Politico: Darrell Issa: Health Site May Top $1 Billion 
Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) on Wednesday said he believes the troubled website will cost taxpayers more than $1 billion before it is fully operational. "The fact is, eventually they'll get this website working, at the cost of probably over a billion dollars," Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News’' Bill Hemmer. "They're probably closer to $700 million now and they're going to spend a lot more doing the hard parts on the back end" (Delreal, 12/4).

And top Democrats discuss how Obamacare will play in next year's elections -

The Hill: WH-DSCC Obamacare Powwow
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough held an unpublicized meeting with Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign arm, amid anger and anxiety that Obamacare's botched rollout could cost the party its majority next year. In the meeting, requested by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), McDonough and Bennet discussed what the White House could do to help vulnerable Senate Democrats and "talked about developing a stronger relationship with the White House," according to one senior Democratic aide familiar with the conversation (Parnes, 12/5).

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