KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Obama’s Pitch That Subsidies Offer Safety Net For High Premiums May Have Some Holes

Not only do many people not qualify for subsidies, but the higher premiums mean taxpayers are footing the larger bill for those who do. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to capitalize on the news to push their own solutions.

The New York Times: As Health Premiums Jump, Obama Wields An Imperfect Shield
Urging people to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama said last week that while premiums might be rising, most consumers need not worry. “Premiums going up,” he said, “don’t necessarily translate into higher premiums for people who are getting tax credits.” ... But left unmentioned in the pitch to consumers are what economists and health policy experts describe as possible reasons to be concerned about rising premiums. (Pear, 10/30)

The Hill: GOP: ObamaCare ‘The Worst Of All Worlds’ 
Republicans are jumping on the news that ObamaCare premiums will rise nationwide to push a GOP alternative. In the GOP weekly address, Rep. John Ratcliffe (Texas), bemoaned the news that premiums on the most common ObamaCare plan will rise nationwide, by an average of more than 20 percent. ... Republicans have jumped on the mounting headlines of rising ObamaCare prices and fewer insurers on the marketplace. (Rupert, 10/29)

And in other health law news —

The Hill: ObamaCare Sign-Up Drive Kicks Off 
Tuesday is a big day for ObamaCare.Officials are kicking off a sign-up season that is critical for the health of the law. The enrollment period for 2017 coverage stretches from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31. The administration is looking to boost the sign-up numbers by bringing in more young and healthy people. That would help ease insurer concerns about the stability of the law, amid attention on spiking premiums and insurers dropping out of the market. (Sullivan, 10/31)

Kaiser Health News: Insurers, Hospitals Clash Over Help Paying Obamacare Premiums
Having health insurance is vital for 21-year-old Mercedes Nimmer, who takes several expensive prescription drugs to manage multiple sclerosis. So Nimmer was thrilled to get health insurance last year through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace and qualify for a federal subsidy to substantially lower her cost. Yet, the government assistance still left her with a $33 monthly premium, a hefty amount for Nimmer, who makes $11,000 a year as a part-time supply clerk. (Galewitz, 10/31)

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