KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Backers Brace For New Battles Over 2015 Insurance Rates

Politico reports that this round of messaging will be critical because rates are expected to increase and could add to Democrats' midterm election challenges. Also in the headlines, reports about how the employer mandate is getting increasingly unpopular -- even among liberals, and other news related to the overhaul's implementation.    

Politico: Obamacare’s Next Threat: A September Surprise
Obamacare open enrollment closed March 31. The White House’s Obamacare war room did not. Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms. The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again (Dovere, 7/7).

Politico: Why Liberals Are Abandoning The Obamacare Employer Mandate
More and more liberal activists and policy experts who help shape Democratic thinking on health care have concluded that penalizing businesses if they don’t offer health insurance is an unnecessary element of the Affordable Care Act that may do more harm than good. Among them are experts at the Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund and prominent academics like legal scholar Tim Jost. ... Leading Democrats in Congress aren’t bolting from the employer mandate, at least not before the November election (Winfield Cunningham and Cheney, 7/6).

USA Today: Rise In Part-Time Workers Worries Some Experts
Among the few worrisome signs in Friday's generally encouraging employment report was a sharp rise in the number of part-time workers who prefer full-time jobs. The total jumped by 275,000 to 7.5 million, the Labor Department said. ... The Affordable Care Act, which requires firms with at least 50 employees to provide health insurance to those working at least 30 hours, also could be prompting some businesses to hire more part-time workers, [said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics] (Davidson, 7/6).

The Washington Post: What Obamacare Means For Your Investment Portfolio
[The Affordable Care Act is] overhauling the business of health care — for hospitals and insurers, doctors and patients. For investors, that means tracking a new roster of winners and losers across the industry. The nearly $3 trillion industry, long considered a recession-proof holding for investors looking to play it safe, now also exhibits the kind of growth that appeals to investors looking for a hot new stock. Health-care spending in the U.S. accounts for a whopping 18 percent of GDP (Marte, 7/4).

USA Today/The Tennessean: Couple Splits Up To Stay Insured
The day Linda Drain put baby's breath in her hair and said "I do," she had no idea that government policies would tear her apart from her husband. But 33 years later, she and her husband, Larry Drain, separated so she could keep her health insurance. Six months into the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Drains are among 162,000 Tennesseans who got caught in a coverage gap. Their household income is too little to qualify for a government subsidy to buy health insurance, and they live in a state not expanding Medicaid (Wilemon, 7/6).

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