KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

What Is ‘Preventive’ Care? Answer Causing Patient-Doctor Friction

Access to preventive care at no charge to the patient is a tenet of the health law, but differences over just what's considered "preventive" are causing friction between doctors and patients, reports The Wall Street Journal. Other stories look at how California community clinics have yet to see increased demand for primary care doctors and how plans are targeting newly insured diabetics to avoid costly complications.

The Wall Street Journal: Discord Over What To Pay The Doctor
Access to preventive care at no charge to the patient is a key tenet of the federal health law. But questions about what qualifies as "preventive" are causing discord between doctors and patients, particularly when it comes to the traditional annual checkup. Some patients, anticipating free visits to address all their health issues -- past, present and potential -- are upset to find that only some of that qualifies as preventive care, exempt from deductibles and copays (Beck, 4/13). 

The Wall Street Journal: Odd-Hour Workers Face Loss Of Employer Health Plans
Ms. Caspersen, a waitress at Virtues Restaurant in the Summa Akron City Hospital, falls into part of the workforce that may feel the strongest effects of the Affordable Care Act: workers whose hours change on a weekly or seasonal basis. Thousands of these so-called variable-hour employees -- many of whom work on college campuses that don't operate during summer months -- could lose their benefits as employers use new formulas to classify workers as full time or part time. The distinction determines which employees are entitled to company-sponsored health coverage (Weber, 4/13).

McClatchy: 54 Percent Disapprove, 43 Percent Approve Of Health Care Law, Gallup Finds
A lot of people still don’t like the Affordable Care Act, a new Gallup poll released Friday found. “Americans continue to evaluate the Affordable Care Act negatively, and their basic opinions of the law have been fairly stable over the past year,” a Gallup analysis said. “That may suggest Americans have already made up their mind about the law, for the most part reflecting their underlying political orientation, and the law's implementation is not going to influence how they feel about the law” (Lightman, 4/11).

The California Health Report: Clinics Wait For More Patients In Obamacare Wake
St. James Health Center is ready for the onslaught. The community health clinic, one of the busiest in San Jose, sits on the corner of 2nd and Julian streets near downtown. Doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other health care providers here treat some of the poorest patients in Santa Clara County -- patients whom many expect to have newly-minted health insurance this year as the federal Affordable Care Act kicks in. But the clinic has, unexpectedly, not seen an increase in demand for primary-care physicians, whom the newly insured were expected to tap to finally treat ongoing aches and pains (Bookwalter, 4/14).

The Associated Press: With New Health Law, Insurers Target Diabetics
Insurers are calling diabetics when they don’t pick up prescriptions or miss appointments. They are arranging transportation to get them to the doctor’s office and some are even sending nurses on house calls in an effort to avoid costly complications that will have big impact on their bottom lines. Before the Affordable Care Act, some diabetics struggled to find insurance because of their pre-existing condition. But the new law no longer allows companies to refuse them or charge more, making early intervention even more critical (4/13).

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