KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As Workers’ Insurance Costs Rise, Bosses (Sometimes Wrongly) Blame Obamacare

A new study shows how employers are cost-shifting. And Democratic politicians are pointing fingers for Obamacare's website woes.

CBS News: Obamacare Blamed For Increases In Insurance Costs
The troubled rollout of Obamacare has made it so unpopular it is now being blamed for health insurance problems it had nothing to do with, according to a new report. Nearly half of upper-middle-income Americans (those with annual household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999) who have employer-based health insurance say the Affordable Care Act has had a negative effect on their health insurance. This is likely because 46 percent of this demographic reports paying more for insurance and also being hit with higher out-of-pocket expenses ... [b]ut analyst Doug Whiteman said this may be a case of companies passing along more of the health insurance costs to employees and using Obamacare as an excuse (Von Hoffman, 1/8).

The Hill: CFOs Blame Obamacare As They Pass Along Costs
Only 8 percent of CFOs have constrained hiring as a result of Obamacare, and only 4 percent have shifted toward part-time staffing, the survey found. These figures cast doubt on arguments by Republicans that the law is exacerbating unemployment and shifting full-time workers into part-time schedules. ... Ten percent of CFOs have added coverage for staff that was not previously eligible, and 10 percent have reduced the scope or value of their health care benefits. Another 13 percent said they have reduced their earnings forecasts as a result of the law (Viebeck, 1/8).

CBS News: Newspaper Blames Obamacare For 401(K) Cuts
San Diego Tribune CEO John Lynch recently told employees that the company is suspending matches to the company's 401(k) plan partly because of "significant additional expense due to Obamacare." But the San Diego Union-Tribune isn’t just any business -- it’s been described as a mouthpiece for developer and financier Douglas Manchester, a major Republican party contributor, according to watchdog Media Matters (Picchi, 1/8).

Meanwhile --

Politico: Democrats Blame Big Business For Botched Rollout
Facing an onslaught of constituent frustration over problems with online exchanges, several Democrats have started pointing fingers at the companies and senior executives in their home states that have contracts to get the health care websites up and running. ... Case in point: Sen. Jeff Merkley. The Oregon Democrat called out software developer Oracle and its president and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz by name in town hall meetings and to local media over the Christmas recess. He said they’re responsible for the state’s “Cover Oregon” website problems (Palmer and Haberkorn, 1/9).

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