KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law’s New Spending Offers Tempting Target In Search For Savings

The overhaul includes $1.7 trillion in new spending over the next decade -- which is being eyed by members of Congress for various reasons. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports on a mental health coverage gap in the health law's effort to expand access to health care, and The Washington Post reports on how employer challenges to the law are taking shape.

Politico: Affordable Care Act Still Provides Tempting Cost Savings
Republicans never got their chance to chop down President Barack Obama's health care law, but that doesn't mean it's safe from the clippers as Congress looks for solutions for tough fiscal times. The Affordable Care Act brings in a lot of new taxes and savings, but it also dishes out as much as $1.7 trillion in new spending over the next decade -- money that looks awfully tempting to lawmakers scrounging around for ways to fund other projects or pay down the deficit (Cunningham, 1/22).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Intends To Fix Holes In Mental Health Coverage
When President Obama pledged this week to strengthen the nation's mental health system to help reduce gun violence, he also implicitly acknowledged that a gap remains in his signature effort to guarantee Americans access to health care (Levey, 1/19).

The Washington Post: Employers Challenging Health Law Contraceptive Provision
The next legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act is moving quickly to the high court, and bringing potent questions about religious freedom, gender equality and corporate "personhood." The issue is the health care law's requirement that employers without a specific exemption must provide workers with insurance plans that cover a full range of birth-control measures and contraceptive drugs (Barnes, 1/20).

The Hill: Obama Officials Ditch 'Exchanges' In Rebranding Of Health Care Reform Law
The Obama administration is re-branding the central component of its signature health care law. The Health and Human Services Department suddenly stopped referring to insurance "exchanges" this week, even as it heralded ongoing efforts to prod states into setting up their own. Instead, press materials and a website for the public referred to insurance "marketplaces" in each state (Baker, 1/20).

Meanwhile, on the state level --

The Associated Press: Democrats Plan Bill For State-Run Health Exchange
A potential clash looms between the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez over the administration's plan to implement a state-run health insurance exchange. At issue is whether state law must be changed for the exchange, which is envisioned as an online shopping center for the uninsured to buy health coverage with benefits tailored to New Mexico (Massey, 1/21).

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