KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Feds Will Run At Least 26 Health Insurance Marketplaces

Meanwhile, Kaiser Health News reports that private companies have won lucrative contracts to build the information technology infrastructure of the online marketplaces, also known as exchanges.

Reuters: U.S. To Operate 26 State Health Exchanges With Little Local Help
The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it will operate federal online health insurance marketplaces in 26 of the 50 U.S. states with little or no input from local state officials. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that a total of 24 states, including six with Republican governors, plus the District of Columbia, are on track to run their own marketplaces, known as healthcare exchanges, or to do so in partnership with the federal government (Morgan, 2/19).

Medpage Today: HHS To Run Health Exchanges In 27 States
The 27 states that defaulted to a federal exchange include heavily populated states like Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Many of the states in the group are politically conservative areas in the deep South and Midwest. The seven states that have decided to partner with the federal government will manage qualified health plans and provide consumer assistance and outreach for residents eligible to participate in the exchanges, while the federal government sets up the exchange infrastructure and determines eligibility. It's that partnership which Gruber sees as becoming more prevalent in the future (Pittman, 2/19).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Big Firms Win Multimillion Dollar Contracts To Build Insurance Marketplaces
President Barack Obama's health law has been criticized as a 'government takeover' of health care. But private companies are building the underpinnings of the online health insurance marketplaces that are a key element of the law – and winning contracts worth hundreds of millions to do so (Galewitz, 2/19).

Also in the news related to the health law's implementation --

Politico: ACA Mental Health Plan's Growing Pains
Aided by the health care law, some states have already put in place a model that creates a dramatically different way of caring for Medicaid mental health patients. But if the slow state uptake of the program is any indication, the patterns of spotty care for most low-income people with big mental health problems won’t change quickly (Smith, 2/20).

Kaiser Health News: Nurse Practitioners Push To Help Care For Health Law's Newly Insured
Kaiser Health News staff writer Alvin Tran sat down recently with David Hebert, a veteran health care lobbyist and former CEO of the American College of Nurse Practitioners, who now is the first CEO of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Hebert discussed the changing role nurse practitioners may soon have, as well as some physicians' efforts to stop them (Tran, 2/20).

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