KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama’s Health Law Speech: The Politics In Play

News outlets analyze the strategic, political and public opinion dynamics that are currently in play -- and offer some fact-checking -- as the White House works to inspire public enthusiasm for the measure's implementation.

The Washington Post: With Legacy On The Line, Obama Touts Health-Care Implementation
Transforming the nation's health-care system stands as Barack Obama's most crucial piece of unfinished business, with much of his presidential legacy riding on whether it is deemed to have succeeded or failed. While other presidents have managed to overcome intense opposition to major new social initiatives, Obama faces a degree of difficulty with health care that has no historic parallel. So there was a certain urgency in the speech that Obama gave Thursday, the morning after the Republican-led House voted for the 38th and 39th times to dismantle all or part of the Affordable Care Act (Tumulty, 7/18).

Politico: On Health Law, Obama Sells Big By Talking Small
President Barack Obama’s got a strategy for Obamacare: make the big sell by talking small. In a speech on Thursday, Obama got deep into the specifics of the sweeping health care law, from a rule that forces insurers to send rebate checks to some consumers to the price competition in its new health insurance marketplaces— all provisions designed to save Americans money (Nather, 7/18).

NPR: White House Muddles Obamacare Messaging — Again
This summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public to the Affordable Care Act and teach people how to sign up for benefits this fall. But that's not what's happening. Instead, earlier this month, the Obama administration decided to delay some key pieces of the law, most notably the requirement for larger employers to provide coverage or risk fines, because they couldn't have reporting regulations ready in time for next year's rollout. Then this week, the Republican-led House voted to delay the so-called individual mandate for a year to match. … And now some are starting to worry that the White House is getting dangerously off-message (Rovner, 7/19).

USA Today: Public Relations Battle Over Health Care Heats Up
The public relations battle over President Obama's signature health care law has simmered long past the point when it became law more than three years ago. But in the days and weeks ahead, a critical deadline looms for implementation of the law, and the battle for public opinion is heating to a boil (Madhani, 7/18).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fact Check: Obama Injects Misleading Advertising In Claims About Health Insurance Rebates
Another year, another round of exaggeration from President Barack Obama and his administration about health insurance rebates. In his speech defending his health care law Thursday, Obama said rebates averaging $100 are coming from insurance companies to 8.5 million Americans. In fact, most of the money is going straight to employers who provide health insurance, not to their workers, who benefit indirectly (7/19).

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: President Obama's Claim That Americans Saved $3.4 Billion In Health-Care Premiums
With the House of Representatives yet again voting to scale back President Obama’s signature health-care law, the president made a case for the law in an East Room ceremony. The rebates the president refers to stem from the "80/20 rule" or "Medical Loss Ratio rule" in the law, in which insurance companies must rebate a portion of the premiums if they spent less than 80 percent of the premium on medical care and efforts to improve care. In 2012, insurance companies shipped about $500 million in rebates to American families, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (Kessler, 7/19).

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