KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

President Says Health Reform Already Delivering ‘Real Benefits’

News outlets covered the president's weekly address.  

The Associated Press: "The new health care law already is helping millions of people through tax breaks for small businesses and assistance for families with young adults, President Barack Obama said Saturday" (Babington, 5/8).

Wall Street Journal: "He said the bill has also put more power in the hands of patients and out of the hands of insurance companies. 'For too long, we have been held hostage to an insurance industry that jacks up premiums and drops coverage as they please,' Obama said. He added, 'But those days are finally coming to an end'" (Favole, 5/8).

Bloomberg Businessweek: "The legislation has already begun to end 'the worst practices of insurance companies,' Obama said, by preventing cuts in coverage and large premium increases. The Department of Health and Human Services has urged states to investigate insurance company rate increases, Obama said. A new agency will provide federal grants to states with the best insurance-oversight programs, he said" (Johnston, 5/8).

Politico: "Obama's address comes amidst some grumbling from health reform proponents that he's not doing enough to turn around largely negative public perceptions about the legislation. Since it passed, he's done only a handful of events to play up its provisions" (Gerstein, 5/8).

New York Daily News: "The President acknowledged that the massive and hotly contested reform will play out over several years, but said it has already put insurance companies on the spot. .... Obama also said 4 million small businesses could be eligible this year for a health care tax cut and that insurers can no longer drop people from plans if they get sick" (Martinez, 5/9).

CNN has video of the president's address (Riley, 5/8).

Roll Call noted that the Republican weekly address, delivered by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., dealt with financial reform (Bendery, 5/8).

Christian Science Monitor: President Obama said that "one provision – covering children up to 26 years old under their parents' plan – will likely take effect this summer rather than the fall deadline. 'Starting this spring, young adults graduating from college will be able to stay on their parents' plans for a few more years … getting the security of knowing they can start off life with one less cost to sorry about,' Obama said. 'This is what change looks like.'"

"The decision to cover 26-year-olds under their parents' plans earlier than expected ..... [is] also a part of a push to give American voters – especially young ones – a chance to see the benefits of the plan before the November elections" (Jonsson, 5/8).

Reuters: "Polls have shown a mixed public response to passage of reform, prompting concern among some Democrats it could add to public anxiety over high unemployment that threatens their election prospects. Acknowledging that work remains to be done, Obama said, 'I've said before that implementing health insurance reform won't happen overnight, and it will require some tweaks and changes along the way.'"

"Obama said on Monday the administration would offer further details on a new rule allowing young people without insurance to be covered until 26 by their parents' health plans." (Spetalnick, 5/8).

Meanwhile, National Journal reports on the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor survey on the economic experiences and attitudes of young adults (ages 18 to 29), which found that "large numbers of the massive Millennial Generation are struggling through the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. ...  A significant number -- whether living on their own or not -- report that they still rely on financial help from their parents."

"By 46 percent to 31 percent, they also say that the comprehensive health care reform bill Obama recently signed into law is a good thing for the country" (Brownstein, 5/8).

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