KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law’s Next Push: Maintaining Sign-Up Momentum

The Huffington Post explores why the people who did not sign up for health coverage during the 2014 open enrollment period may be much harder to reach. News outlets also report on developments from Massachusetts regarding the state's online insurance marketplace.

The Huffington Post: Why Obamacare May Have Trouble Signing Up As Many Uninsured Next Year
Obamacare made huge strides in extending health coverage to millions of uninsured people in its first year. Keeping up that momentum could be challenging. An estimated 54 million Americans are still uninsured. But many of those who haven't yet been helped by the Affordable Care Act might be some of the hardest people to get signed up, according to the people trying to reach them (Young, 8/14).

The Boston Globe: About 400,000 In Mass. Must Seek New Health Plan
Nearly 400,000 people in Massachusetts will need to reapply for health insurance before the end of the year, and many of them probably do not even know it. They are people who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance and who instead sought insurance through the state. After the Massachusetts insurance website failed last year, most of them were enrolled in temporary coverage that ends Dec. 31, which is why they must select a new plan. This is the newest challenge facing the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state agency that provides an online place to shop for insurance, as it struggles to emerge from the disastrous rollout of its website last year (Freyer, 8/15).

WBUR: Mass. Seeks $80M More From Feds For Health Website
Massachusetts will ask the federal government for another $80 million to build a new health insurance shopping website tied to the Affordable Care Act. Massachusetts received $174 million for multi-state planning and a website that never worked. The state has about $65 million left, but says it will need the additional money to build a new site. So the total cost of the site — which is expected to be ready for the next open enrollment period that begins Nov. 15 — will be roughly $254 million. If the federal government agrees to the additional expense, it would end up spending about $224 million for the insurance exchange. The balance, about $30 million, would come out of the state’s capital budget (Bebinger, 8/14).

In other health law implementation news -

The Fiscal Times: So Far, Obamacare’s Hospital Reform Isn’t Working
The Affordable Care Act includes a handful of measures aimed at improving the hospitals’ overall performance and the quality of care. The problem is some of those measures don’t seem to be working, while others are having unintended consequences. One provision in particular, called Hospital Value Based Purchasing, which rewards or penalizes hospitals depending on their performance—is not leading to any substantial improvements in care, a new study found (Ehley, 8/15).

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