KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

For Health Law Backers, Part Of Challenge Is Managing Expectations

Some Democrats worry they will face political repercussions if there are snags that can be exploited by Republicans.

The New York Times: New Worries For Democrats On Health Law
As the administration struggles to put in place the final, complex piece of President Obama's signature health care law, an endeavor on a scale not seen since Medicare's creation nearly a half-century ago, Democrats are worried that major snags will be exploited by Republicans in next year's midterm elections (Calmes, 5/6).

CQ HealthBeat: Backers Say Health Law Success Must Not Be Judged In One Year, But…
Amid growing indications that next year's expansion of coverage under the health care law could fall far short of original projections, supporters and analysts increasingly say its success must be judged over a period of years, not just by what happens in 2014. But while millions of Americans may in 2014 have access to treatments and medications they've never had before, talk about the law may be dominated by a potentially wide gap between expectations and actual enrollment gains (Reichard, 5/6).

Meanwhile, USA Today ticks through some of the key changes that consumer can expect to see -

USA Today: Next Year Heralds Major Changes In Nation's Health Care
Within the next 12 months, consumers could get a quick check-up at the pharmacy, text glucose levels to a doctor through a smart-phone app or earn bonuses for treadmill time from their employer--all as the nation grapples with growing health care costs (Kennedy, 5/6).

Also in the news, The Washington Post's Fact Checker investigates the veracity behind claims that the law is causing workers' hours to be limited and The Texas Tribune reports on the latest legal challenge to the overhaul -

The Washington Post's Fact Checker: Is Long Beach Really Limiting The Hours Of 1,600 Workers Because Of 'Obamacare'?
Just one day after the Los Angeles Times published an article titled "Part-timers to lose pay amid health act's new math," one of its factoids became a frequently-mentioned talking point for Republicans. Indeed, the Republican National Committee "War Room" e-mailed the article to subscribers on its listserve the morning it was published. … Certainly employers are trying to figure out how they are impacted by the new law, but in general politicians should be careful about drawing policy implications from anecdotes. Already, in fact, some employers, such as Darden Restaurants Inc., have pulled back from cutting hours because of a public backlash that affected sales. No one can really judge what employers do or do not do until there is some hard data after the law has been implemented. But we were curious about what’s going on in Long Beach because the Times article was a bit contradictory (Kessler, 5/6).

The Texas Tribune: Hotze To File Suit Over Federal Health Reform
Steve Hotze, a Houston-area physician and major Republican campaign donor who has built his career around alternative medicine, says he is filing suit against the federal government to try to prevent the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act in Texas. He'll announce the suit, to be filed against U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, on Tuesday morning in a press conference hosted by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (Ramshaw, 5/6).

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