KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: October 1, 2010

In this morning's headlines -- Medicaid enrollment spikes and the interplay between the federal government and McDonald's gets more attention.

Selling Insurance Across State Lines: Still A Partisan Fight
Kaiser Health News' staff writers Phil Galewitz and Lexie Verdon report: "When Republican House leaders recently unveiled their 'Pledge To America,' they revived an idea long popular with conservatives: legislation that would allow consumers to buy health insurance across state lines so that residents of a state with expensive health plans could find cheaper options elsewhere" (Kaiser Health News).

Recession Drove Many To Medicaid Last Year
Joblessness and the accompanying loss of health benefits drove an additional 3.7 million people into the Medicaid program last year, the largest single-year increase since the early days of the government insurance plan, according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (The New York Times).

Medicaid Enrollment Spikes To 48M In Weak Economy
A record number of Americans signed up for Medicaid last year, as the recession wiped out jobs and workplace health coverage (The Associated Press).

Rahm Emanuel Didn't Kill 'Public Option,' Says Kathleen Sebelius
The latest analysis came Thursday morning when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the guest at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters. Asked about Mr. Emanuel's role in getting health-care reform through Congress, Secretary Sebelius described Emanuel as not "deeply involved in the policy decisions. The president really did that" (The Christian Science Monitor).

Federal Agency Flexible On McDonald's Plan
The Obama administration said Thursday that its top health official will "exercise her discretion" in enforcing a new health-law requirement, a move that could help McDonald's Corp. and other employers from disrupting their health-care policies for hourly workers (The Wall Street Journal).

McDonald's Has A Beef With Insurance Overhaul
A dispute between McDonald's Corp. and the federal government over a new healthcare reform requirement is giving a peek into the potential complexities from the massive new law that companies will face (Chicago Tribune).

Health Care Law May Hamper Limited Insurance Plans
The new health care law could make it difficult for companies like McDonald's to continue offering limited insurance coverage to their low-wage workers (The Associated Press).

Insurer Cuts Health Plans As New Law Takes Hold
The Principal Financial Group announced on Thursday that it planned to stop selling health insurance, another sign of upheaval emerging among insurers as the new federal health law starts to take effect (The New York Times).

Principal Financial Quits Writing Health-Care Policies
Financial services provider Principal Financial Group Inc. is exiting the health-insurance business in an early sign of expected consolidation as the impact of the health overhaul becomes clearer (The Wall Street Journal).

A Consumer Primer For Health Insurance Changes In 2011
This year's open enrollment period, when employees choose their health insurance for the following year, will follow a familiar pattern. Higher premiums. More co-payments. Expanded deductibles. But along with the usual cost increases will come some significant changes mandated by the health care reform law. These changes could affect everything from the dependents you cover to the size of your deductible (USA Today).

Schwarzenegger Signs Major Health Care Bills
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed seven major health care-reform bills, including legislation establishing a Web-based insurance exchange that will allow consumers to comparison-shop for coverage (The Associated Press).

Two States Turn Down Federal Grants For Insurance Exchanges
Alaska and Minnesota were the only two states to turn down federal grants for the development of insurance exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday (The Hill's Healthwatch Blog).

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