KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Administration Touts Slower Health Care Cost Increases

According to USA Today, personal health care costs rose at the slowest rate in the last 50 years, based on statistics for the past year ending in May.

USA Today: White House Touts Slow Increase In Health Care Costs
Personal health care costs rose in the 12 months ending in May at the slowest rate in the last 50 years, as spending on hospital and nursing home services declined, the White House announced Monday (Kennedy, 7/29).

Meanwhile, the White House also is pointing to the latest economic statistics to dismiss opponents' health law criticisms --

Reuters: White House Takes Aim At Obamacare Opposition's Economic Claims
The White House on Monday shot back at critics who claim Obamacare is leading to higher health care costs, slower job growth and rising numbers of part-time workers, saying the latest economic statistics show none of those effects. Nearly one-third of the sharp rise in part-time workers seen in employment numbers for June was due to federal employee furloughs caused by automated spending cuts, rather than employers shifting to part-time workers due to concern about President Barack Obama's signature health care law, a senior administration official said (7/29).

CQ HealthBeat: White House Says Health Law Helping, Not Impeding Economic Growth
The White House released its own set of statistics Monday to make the case that the health care law is setting the stage for a strong economy, not dragging it down, an attempt by the Obama administration to counter a swelling chorus of Republican complaints about the impact of the overhaul on economic growth and jobs. A senior administration official said at a background briefing with reporters that the health law is not fueling an increase in part-time work at the expense of full-time employment, something that critics of the overhaul are increasingly contending (Reichard, 7/29).

Also in the news -

CBS News: HHS: Obamacare Reduces Medicare Drug Costs
Over six million people with Medicare have saved $7 billion under the Affordable Care Act, the Health and Human Services Department announced Monday. Reducing individual prescription drug costs by $1,061, Obamacare has begun to reduce the existing gap in this coverage for seniors. With a $250 check to those in the "donut hole" -- those without full prescription coverage -- the Affordable Care Act began to reduce this discrepancy, which is set to close by 2020 (Haven, 7/29).

The Hill: HHS: Seniors Have Saved $7 Billion On Drugs Thanks To Obamacare
President Obama's signature health care law has saved seniors more than $7 billion on prescription drugs, the Health and Human Services Department said Monday. The department highlighted the savings ahead on Medicare's 48th anniversary. HHS touted new benefits the law made available to seniors, as well as savings on prescription drugs (Baker, 7/29).

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