KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

High Court Ruling Could Have ‘Unintended Consequences’ For Medicare Payments

The Associated Press reports that a high court decision to strike down the health law could be disruptive to Medicare's payment systems.

The Associated Press: Medicare Disruptions Seen If Health Law Is Struck
Tossing out President Barack Obama's health care law would have major unintended consequences for Medicare's payment systems, unseen but vital plumbing that handles 100 million monthly claims from hospitals and other service providers, the administration has quietly informed the courts. Although the law made significant cuts to providers and improved prescription and preventive benefits for seniors, Medicare has been overlooked in a Supreme Court debate focused on the law's controversial requirement that individuals carry health insurance. Yet havoc in Medicare could have repercussions in an election year when both parties are avidly courting seniors (Alonso-Zaldivar, 5/3).

In other health law news -

Politico Pro: Advocates Worry Over Risk Adjustment
Consumer advocates say HHS's new risk adjustment guidance may further weaken health reform rules designed to prevent insurers from discriminating against sicker people. The guidance released Tuesday covered technical details of the risk adjustment program to shore up the finances of health plans covering high-cost people after the Affordable Care Act takes full effect in 2014.  ... Many consumer advocates were already disappointed that final rules issued by HHS in March left a critical step in the hands of the insurance industry. They feared this would make it easier for the health plans to game the system if they could calculate the risks scores for their covered population in states where HHS oversees risk adjustment (Feder, 5/2).

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