KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Survey: Employers ‘Pessimistic’ About Health Law Costs

The Wall Street Journal reports on a survey that finds companies increasingly "pessimistic" they can avoid health care cost increases they believe will stem from the overhaul. Politico reports that insurers are showing little interest in small business exchanges. Also in the news, Indiana House Republicans worry that schools are cutting employee hours to avoid health law penalties.

The Wall Street Journal's Risk & Compliance Journal: Employers Coming To Grips With Health Reform Costs: Survey
Companies have grown more pessimistic about their ability to avoid higher health-care costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act as the time draws near when all individuals will be required to have health insurance, according to a survey released on Wednesday by benefits consultant Mercer. Just 9% of companies feel the ACA will add less than 1% to their costs next year, compared to 25% that felt in 2011 they would see little or no impact come 2014, Mercer said. Beth Umland, director of research for health and benefits in Mercer’s health and benefits business, said 20% felt so sanguine last year (Murphy, 6/12).

Politico: Small-Business Exchanges Draw Few Insurers
Obamacare's new insurance marketplaces for small businesses, which have already stumbled before getting out of the gate, are facing another pressing question just months before millions can sign up for benefits: What happens if insurers don't show up to sell? (Millman, 6/13).

The Hill: GOP: Schools Cutting Workers' Hours To Avoid ObamaCare Penalty
A group of House Republicans criticized the Obama administration Wednesday over news that schools are cutting their employees' hours to avoid providing health insurance. Republican lawmakers from Indiana said several school districts in the state have cut the weekly hours of employees, including cafeteria workers, bus drivers and teachers' aides (Baker, 6/12).

Politico: Obamacare? We Were Just Leaving…
Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting. The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive (Palmer and Sherman, 6/13).

In other news related to the health law's implementation -

California Healthline: Could This Little-Watched Court Case Sink Obamacare?
Innovare may be Latin for innovate, but the values at Innovare Health Advocates are traditional: An "Old School" commitment to delivering "Healthcare the Way it Ought to Be."  The Missouri-based health practice is run by Dr. Charles Willey, a staunch tea party conservative who's been mentored by former Sen. Jim Talent, one of his patients. "I've personally, for a long time, been interested in politics," he told a radio show in 2010, noting that he'd been leading efforts "to get doctors excited about resisting Obamacare." But Willey's doing more than just resisting the health law these days -- he's become an active player in Halbig et al v. Sebelius, a lawsuit that threatens a key element in the Affordable Care Act: Whether the tax subsidies slated to help many Americans purchase coverage through many insurance exchanges are even legal under the ACA's language (Diamond, 6/12).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.