KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study Finds Health Law Offers Income Boost To Poorest People; Insurers’ Experiences Are Mixed

News coverage offers different looks at how the health law is impacting consumers and insurers.

USA Today: Obamacare Increases Incomes Of Poorest, Study Finds
The Affordable Care Act will "significantly" increase the incomes of Americans who fall in the bottom one-fifth of the income levels, while slightly decreasing — by .8% — the incomes of senior citizens, a new study finds. Those in the bottom one-fifth will see income measurements rise 6%; those in the bottom one-tenth will see an increase of more than 7%, according to researchers at the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan think tank (Kennedy, 1/27).

Politico Pro:  Brookings Study Sees ACA Affecting Income Distribution
The Obama administration never billed the Affordable Care Act as tool for redistributing income, but that’s one effect it will have, according to a new study from The Brookings Institute. Americans with incomes in the bottom fifth of the distribution will see an average increase of 6 percent because of expanded access to Medicaid and tax subsidies for private coverage, while higher taxes, lower Medicare Advantage payments and changes to the insurance market will somewhat reduce incomes for the rest of the population, the study reports. The analysis, by Brookings Institute scholars Henry Aaron and Gary Burtless, uses a definition of income that is expanded to include the value of government and employer contributions to health insurance (Norman, 1/27).

The Huffington Post: These Health Insurance Companies Are Winning At Obamacare
A central promise of Obamacare was to spur competition between insurance companies to drive down health care costs and give consumers more choices. The results are mixed so far. Months after the launch of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges, large insurance companies such as WellPoint still dominate many local markets -- although smaller insurers are challenging some of the biggest players in some markets, according to data from nine states analyzed by The Huffington Post (Young, 1/27).

Meanwhile, sign-up deadline confusion continues -

Marketplace: Court Ruling Could Clear Up Some Obamacare Confusion
The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act -- or face penalties -- is a little more than two months away now: March 31. A survey out today says lots of people don't know that, highlighting just how much confusion there still is about the health care law. More than half of Americans don't know when the deadline is to sign up for health insurance, according to a report from Granted, many of those people already have insurance (Scott, 1/27).

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