KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Little Evidence Obamacare Is Costing Full-Time Jobs

Reuters and The Wall Street Journal challenge the notion, based on recent jobs data, that the health law is causing an erosion of full-time work. Other media outlets look at the endangered status of new insurance co-ops funded by the law, the high price of many prescription drugs and concerns about the people enrolled in high-risk insurance pools that will close at the end of the year.

The Wall Street Journal: Part-Time Work Still Up, But Health Law Isn't The Cause
Millions of Americans remained stuck in part-time jobs in September, but there's little evidence to support claims that the federal health care law is to blame. Part-time employment rose during the recession and remains far above historical norms. Critics of the 2010 Affordable Care Act have suggested the trend could be due to its provision that requires many companies to offer health insurance to full-time employees beginning in 2015. That rule, critics argue, provides companies with an incentive to hire part-timers -- and some employers have said they are already shifting to part-timers. But recent jobs data provide little evidence that's happening(Casselman, 10/22).

Reuters: Analysis: Little Evidence Yet That Obamacare Costing Full-Time Jobs
There is little evidence that employers are sacrificing full-time jobs by hiring more part-timers or reducing existing employee hours because of the costs of providing health coverage under Obamacare. Conservative Republicans have pointed to the high level of part-time employment as evidence businesses are cutting hours for staff in response to the new healthcare law, which will require them to offer health insurance to full-time workers. ... But there is little discernible impact in the employment figures released in recent months, including the September numbers out on Tuesday (Lange, 10/22).

The Washington Post: Health Co-Ops, Created To Foster Competition And Lower Insurance Costs, Are In Danger
When the new health-care law was being cobbled together, Congress decided to establish a network of nonprofit insurance companies aimed at bringing competition to the marketplace, long dominated by major insurers. But these co-ops, started as a great hope for lowering insurance costs, are already in danger (Merkon, 10/22).

The New York Times: As Drug Costs Rise, Bending the Law Is One Remedy
The high price of many prescription drugs in the United States has left millions of Americans telling white lies and committing fraud and other crimes to get their medicines. In response to a New York Times article about the costs, hundreds of readers shared their strategies, like having a physician prescribe twice the needed dose and cutting pills in half, or "borrowing" medicines from a friend or relative with better insurance coverage. But an increasingly popular -- though generally illegal -- route is buying the drugs from overseas (Rosenthal, 10/22).

Kaiser Health News: Online Insurance Brokers Stymied Selling Obamacare Policies
Consumers aren't the only ones frustrated by problems with the online health insurance exchanges being run by the feds. Private companies that sell health insurance on the Internet are also in a bind. Websites like that were planning to start selling new, subsidized Obamacare policies on Oct. 1 still can't offer them to customers (Whitney, 10/22).

Politico: With High-Risk Pools Closing, Some Could Be In Limbo
The heads of state-run high-risk insurance pools are worried that Obamacare's troublesome launch could cause tens of thousands of people with pre-existing conditions -- the very people supposed to be protected by the law -- to become uninsured Jan. 1. At least a third of 35 state-run high-risk pools for people whose medical conditions made it nearly impossible for them to find coverage will close at the end of the year, and a large swath is expected to shop for subsidized coverage on new health insurance exchanges. Temporary federal-run high-risk pools covering about 105,000 people will also shut down at the end of the year, leaving those enrollees to seek out new coverage (Millman, 10/22).

The Hill: Obamacare To Raise Premiums Dramatically For Some Young Women
Many younger women who purchase coverage individually will see triple-digit increases in their health care premiums under ObamaCare, according to an analysis released Wednesday. The conservative American Action Forum (AAF) found that on average, a 30-year-old woman who does not smoke and buys health insurance on the individual market will see her cheapest available premium increase 193 percent (Viebeck, 10/23).

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