KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In States Not Expanding Medicaid, Hospitals Face A Squeeze As Federal Funds Dry Up

The New York Times examines the dilemma for some safety-net hospitals that will not see a drop in the uninsured but will lose federal money that used to help pay for those patients. Meanwhile on another issue affecting the health law, a federal appeals court blocked the administration's effort to require employers to provide contraception coverage.

The New York Times: Cuts In Hospital Subsidies Threaten Safety-Net Care
The uninsured pour into Memorial Health hospital here: the waitress with cancer in her voice box who for two years assumed she just had a sore throat. ... Many of these patients were expected to gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act through a major expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor. But after the Supreme Court in 2012 gave states the right to opt out, Georgia, like about half the states, almost all of them Republican-led, refused to broaden the program. Now, in a perverse twist, many of the poor people who rely on safety-net hospitals like Memorial will be doubly unlucky. A government subsidy, little known outside health policy circles but critical to the hospitals' survival, is being sharply reduced under the new health law (Tavernise, 11/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Appeals Court Blocks Health Law's Contraception Requirement
A federal appeals court on Friday blocked a provision of the Obama administration's health-care law requiring employers to provide birth-control coverage in employee insurance, ruling that it imposed a "substantial burden" on religious rights of two Midwestern companies. The move by the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago marked the first time a federal appeals court has issued a ruling preventing the federal government from enforcing the provision (Palazzolo, 11/8).

In other news on health law -

The New York Times: Con Men Prey On Confusion Over Health Care Act
To the list of problems plaguing President Obama's health care law, add one more — fraud. With millions of Americans frustrated and bewildered by the trouble-prone federal website for health insurance, con men and unscrupulous marketers are seizing their chance. State and federal authorities report a rising number of consumer complaints, ranging from deceptive sales practices to identity theft, linked to the Affordable Care Act (Silver-Greenberg and Craig, 11/9).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: How Does The Health Law Impact Federal Employees' Health Benefits
Open enrollment season begins Monday for the approximately eight million federal workers and their dependents who receive health care coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or FEHB. The 2010 health law calls for some changes in that coverage. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about how the measure will impact federal workers' health insurance (Carey, 11/11).

ProPublica: Health Care Delays Squeeze Patients In State High-Risk Pools
Case is executive director of the Oklahoma Temporary High Risk Pool, funded by the federal government to sell insurance to people denied coverage by private health insurers. Her worry is about some 300,000 people in her program and others like it who now must quickly find health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Many of the programs are set to close by law on Dec. 31 (Ornstein, 11/8).

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