KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Politics Swirl Around Scandal Reports, Implementation Frustrations

Some of the political ebb and flow is exactly as expected, with news reports noting that Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a staunch opponent of the overhaul, is focused on linking the Internal Revenue Scandal with the health law. However, in other coverage, The Associated Press reports that some labor unions, which were strong advocates, have become increasingly frustrated with some aspects of the law, and The Hill notes that some business groups are voicing concerns about the measure's wellness program.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Care Overhaul Faces Backlash From Once Supportive Labor Unions
When President Barack Obama pushed his health care overhaul plan through Congress, he counted labor unions among his strongest supporters. But some union leaders have grown frustrated and angry about what they say are unexpected consequences of the new law — problems that they say could jeopardize the health benefits offered to millions of their members (Hananel, 5/24).

The Hill: Businesses Share ObamaCare Wellness Program Worries With White House
Business groups are weighing in on an ObamaCare proposal governing incentives for employees to stay healthy. The White House is currently reviewing a proposed rule for wellness programs that give workers incentives to take part in healthy habits such as joining a gym, signing up for a weight-loss plan or participating in a scheme to stop smoking (Hattem, 5/23).

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Bachmann's Absurd Claim Of A Vast IRS Health Database Of 'Sensitive, Intimate' Information
With the Internal Revenue Service in the news, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has taken the opportunity to marry that scandal with her ongoing battle against the president’s health care law, a.k.a. "Obamacare." The picture she has sketched is pretty frightening — that the "most personal, sensitive, intimate, private health care information is in the hands of the IRS" via a vast database. Indeed, even though our colleagues at PolitiFact and FactCheck.Org have beaten us to the punch on this language, the issues she has raised have generated enough buzz on the blogosphere that we believe we should weigh in as well. What is Bachmann talking about? (Kessler, 5/24).

McClatchy: Scandal Draws Questions About IRS Role In Enforcing Obamacare
The blossoming IRS scandal over the targeting of conservative groups is provoking new scrutiny and terse questions about the agency’s role in shaping and implementing the controversial new national health care law, with the biggest changes set to begin next year. The Internal Revenue Service is an important cog in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, commonly shorthanded as Obamacare. The tax agency must act on 47 provisions of the new law, more than half of those already in effect, including the more controversial ones taking effect in 2014 such as the requirement that nearly all non-elderly adults have health care coverage (Hall and Lightman, 5/23).

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