KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sebelius Appeals To Civil Rights Groups For Health Law Support

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked civil rights activists to help defend the health law. Meanwhile, other news outlets report on specific aspects of the law, including how contractors have been preparing for its implementation, and the latest on accountable care organizations. 

Reuters/Chicago Tribune: Sebelius Seeks Civil Rights Support For U.S. Healthcare Law
A top U.S. administration official asked civil rights activists on Thursday to help defend President Barack Obama's embattled healthcare law, saying the reform package faces an "enemy" determined to set American health policy back half a century. The remarks in a charged election year come two months before the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling that could make or break the law (Morgan, 4/12).

Politico: Kathleen Sebelius: We Don't Have A Health Care Backup Plan
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that it would "probably" be a good idea for the department to have a backup plan in case the Supreme Court strikes down the health reform law, but the department isn’t working on one (Feder, 4/12).

The Washington Post: As Supreme Court Weighs Health Care Reform, Contractors Await Their Fate
Government contractors like PCG are involved in every aspect of setting up the new health insurance exchanges — the "marketplaces" for health plans that the Affordable Care Act established. But depending on the outcome of March’s Supreme Court case, which will be revealed in June, the exchanges — along with the rest of the law— may be scrapped, leaving some health insurance contractors uncertain about the end result of their labor (Khazan, 4/12).

Chicago Tribune: Many Seniors Unaware Of Benefits Now At Risk
As the Supreme Court decides the fate of the Affordable Care Act, seniors may want to grab the law's perks while they can. Opinion is mixed on whether other provisions in the law will stand if the mandate on individuals to purchase insurance is struck down. Prescription drug cost relief and free wellness exams are two key provisions under way, and they affect millions of seniors, said Howard Bedlin, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the National Council on Aging (Kidd Stewart, 4/13).

Politico Pro: Pioneer ACOs Find CMS's Speed Needs Work
There's an important skill CMS will need if it wants its accountable care organizations to succeed. It will have to be able to give them good information on their patients — and it will have to do it fast. So far, though, the experience of the Pioneers — the 32 fast-track accountable care organizations that were set up first — suggests CMS may have to work on the "fast" part. Executives with several of the Pioneer ACOs report two- to three-month delays in getting historical data on their beneficiaries — including what services they use — that they were promised in January (Feder, 4/13).

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