Health Law Waivers: Political Benefit Or Policy Safety Valve?
Media outlets report on the varying views on the waivers granted so far by the Obama administration to ease requirements of the health law. Meanwhile, specific regulations - such as those relating to the "broker rule" and accountable care organizations - continue to be hot topics.
The Associated Press: Health Care Law Waivers Stir Suspicion Of Favors
President Barack Obama's administration has granted nearly 1,400 waivers easing requirements of the new health care law, and some critics on the right say Obama is giving his political allies a pass from burdensome requirements everyone else will have to live with. But what if the waivers work more like a safety valve? What if during the transition to a new system they can prevent unintended consequences - such as people with bare-bones insurance losing their current coverage, or insurers closing shop in a particular state? (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/6).
The Baltimore Sun: Companies, Unions Wrestle With New Health Care Requirement
Pete Bryant, a leader of a Maryland-based bricklayers union, faced a difficult decision last year over how to apply the nation's new health care law to his 1,400 members: He could offer them nearly limitless health insurance, as the law demands, or he could try to get around the requirement. Bryant's group is one of 15 Maryland companies and labor unions - employing 10,383 workers - that obtained a waiver to circumvent the initial requirement of the new health care law, a review by The Baltimore Sun shows. ... Nationwide, 1,372 companies and unions, representing more than 3 million workers, received exemptions. The numbers continue to climb (Fritze, 6/4).
CQ HealthBeat: Brokers, Agents Push For Review Of 'Broker Rule,' Supporters Fight Back
Congress is under pressure from insurance brokers and agents to alter a provision in the health care overhaul to protect the income and jobs of those who sell insurance. Consumer groups and many of the law's supporters are fighting back, pointing to studies suggesting the situation is not as dire nor as clear cut as the industry portrays. But pressure from a powerhouse of small businesses and heightened anxiety over the economy has captured the attention of House lawmakers and state insurance commissioners. A panel of state regulators will review a detailed internal report June 7 on the requirement known as the "broker rule" (Norman, 6/3).
CQ HealthBeat: Consumer Groups Ask Medicare To Keep Standards High For ACOs
The big medical clinics, the hospitals and the physicians have all aired their considerable grief with the proposed rule on accountable care organizations in Medicare. Now it's the consumer groups' turn. Taking a somewhat different look at the controversial proposal, the Campaign for Better Care urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to maintain high expectations for the new organizations that it hopes will transform Medicare (Norman, 6/3).