KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Health Law Implementation Efforts Trigger Confusion — And Even Arguments

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that businesses continue to find some provisions of the law "bewildering" while the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offers a view on the size and scope of issues in play in Wisconsin.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Businesses Find Health Care Law Bewildering
Part-time employees make up about a fifth of Virginia's workforce, and their employers usually aren't required to offer them health care coverage. But the federal health care reform is changing the playing field. Employees working 30 hours or more a week will count as full-timers under the new law and, as a result, they will be eligible for coverage, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. This will have the biggest impact on employers who do not provide coverage to part-time employees or who limit eligibility to only those part-timers who work more than 30 hours a week, the HR group said (Bacqué, 3/10).

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Federal Health Care Law Continues To Create Arguments
The state would spend $76.5 million and hire 89 workers over the next two years to implement federal legislation such as the health care law, under Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill. That spending request shows just a part of the massive task -- encompassing everything from computer projects to consumer outreach -- that must be completed to expand coverage for the uninsured under the federal Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare. How well this implementation goes will have substantial effects on both the uninsured and state and federal taxpayers (Stein, 3/9).

The Hill: States Balk At $15B Obama Health Care 'Tax'
A newly unveiled component of President Obama’s health care law forcing insurers to pay annual fees is sowing angst in state capitols, where officials view the provision as a $15 billion tax that could disrupt Medicaid programs and other services. The health insurance providers fee, included in the health care reform law over the objections of congressional Republicans, is designed to raise tens of billions of dollars in the coming years (Goad, 3/8).

In other news --

Medpage Today: Health Reform: Costlier Than Planned?
Higher-than-expected costs for the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) preexisting condition risk pool are a sign that the law will cost more than first expected, according to some lawmakers and analysts. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last month told states that it was suspending enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a program created under the ACA to help provide health coverage to those with preexisting medical conditions before other aspects of the law take effect in 2014. CMS said it would no longer enroll individuals because of financial constraints in the $5 billion program, even though enrollment has been lower than expected (Pittman, 3/8).

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