KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Nonprofit Group Launches PR Push About Health Exchanges

It's nearly 100 days now until the new online insurance marketplaces created by the health law should be up and running. As the countdown to Oct. 1 picks up steam, the effort to educate the public and find people who are eligible for new coverage becomes increasingly important. Meanwhile, news outlets examine the actual development of exchanges at the federal and state level.

NPR: With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny
This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes. But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy (Rovner, 6/21).

Reuters: Insight: It Take An Army – Tens Of Thousands Of Workers Roll Out Obamacare
From the chief actuary at the California health insurance exchange that President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law established to the legions of call center staffers who will help people trying to buy insurance through such state exchanges, the number of people working to implement "Obamacare" has reached the tens of thousands, a Reuters analysis has found. No one said that overhauling healthcare, which accounts for 17 percent of all national spending, was going to happen with a skeleton crew (Begley, 6/21).

CNN Money: The Marketing Of Obamacare Exchanges Begins
In a little more than 100 days, Obamacare health insurance exchanges in each state will open for enrollment. But a lot of Americans don't know that. That's why advocacy groups around the nation are stepping up their efforts to educate consumers about the options that could be available to them through Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, come October 1. Enroll America, a coalition of community organizations, health groups and businesses, is working with partners to hold more than 75 events in 27 states this weekend (Luhby, 6/21).

National Journal: Time Is Running Short For Big Obamacare Push
In what turned out to be unfortunate timing for the White House, President Obama traveled to San Jose, California, this month to tout his health care law and kick off a summer push to get Americans ready to sign up for insurance under new online marketplaces, scheduled to open on October 1. But the health care law wasn't the news of the day. A massive government surveillance program had just been revealed in the press and provoked a loud public outcry (Hollander, 6/21).

Kaiser Health News: Firm Relies On Medicare Experience As It Prepares To Open Federal Health Exchange Calls Centers
Within days, the company that handles an average of more than 60,000 calls daily about Medicare will be deluged by new inquiries about health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The six Medicare call centers run by Vangent, a company based in Arlington, Va., will answer questions about the health care law from the 34 states that opted out of running their own online health insurance marketplaces or decided to operate them jointly with the federal government (Jaffe, 6/21).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Rate Shock? Let's Talk About It Later, Says Colorado Insurance Commish
Colorado is among the states getting their first glimpse of how much health insurance will cost under Obamacare in 2014. Colorado’s insurance commissioner Jim Riesberg says he’s pleased with what he’s seen so far, but, 'talking about rates at this point in time could lead to a lot problems in the future'" (Whitney 6/21).

The Associated Press: N.H. Lawmakers Close On Health Care Overhaul
House and Senate lawmakers moved close to agreement yesterday on a severely scaled-back version of a bill intended to align state insurance rules with President Obama’s health care overhaul law. The state insurance commissioner had argued that a wide range of changes were necessary to preserve the state’s traditional role in regulating insurance plans (Ramer, 6/20).

Meanwhile, in other news about implementation --

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Paper Compares Obama Law With Medicare Part D, Mass.
In the debate around the readiness of the federal government to roll out the big provisions of the health-care law on time this fall, there are a couple of particularly popular comparisons: the launch of the Medicare part D prescription drug benefit in 2006, and the implementation of the Massachusetts health-care overhaul  in 2007 (Radnofsky, 6/20).

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