Health Law Policy Details Continue To Grab Attention, Headlines
Health law costs, accountable care organizations, the individual mandate and even the latest in proceedings surrounding Virginia's health law challenge are all in today's news.
Politico: Keeping ACA Affordable For Feds
Starting in 2014, all health plans offered through the state health insurance exchanges will have to offer the "essential health benefits package" - a set of minimum services all individuals and small businesses are supposed to have in their coverage. That package will have a direct impact on the cost of the law, because people will get subsidies to help them buy coverage if they can't afford it on their own (Nather, 3/29).
National Journal: Insurance Brokers Struggle For New Life Under Health Reform
Insurance brokers say they are fighting an uphill battle for survival because of the health care reform law. While a House bill to give insurance companies more flexibility to pay brokers isn't likely to make it through Congress, brokers may succeed in getting paid through state-level legislation designing health insurance exchanges (McCarthy 3/28).
CQ HealthBeat: HHS: 'No Scaling Back' In ACO Proposal
A Health and Human Services official said Monday that "there is no scaling back" on implementing team-based care in Medicare through accountable care organizations, despite reports circulating that pilot testing will be emphasized before a broad national launch of ACOs. "There is no scaling back. The statute calls for evaluating different types of ACOs," said Chris Stenerud, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS (Reichard, 3/28).
PoliticoPro: Look Who's Backing Health Exchanges Now
"I'm in favor of exchanges, and I'm certainly not in favor of the federal government coming into Georgia and doing the exchange for us," added Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who came into office this year. He hopes and expects his governor, Republican Nathan Deal, to use an executive order to move forward on a health exchange, after tea party protests killed a legislative effort to do so. These full-throated exchange endorsements are a notable departure from other Republican-appointed commissioners, who have worked with little fanfare or publicity alongside their governors to ensure that their states do not move forward on implementation (Kliff, 3/29).
The Fiscal Times: Blue Dog Nelson Retreating on Opposition to Individual Mandate?
Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who faces a tough re-election battle in 2012, raised hackles among health care reform supporters in early February when he told Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball" that "we need to find an alternative" to the individual mandate ... it appeared the Blue Dog Democrat, who voted for reform, was moving to his right in an effort to shore up his electoral base. What Nelson, who chairs the legislative subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, didn't reveal was that he simultaneously asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct a far-ranging survey of health care experts to come up with alternatives (Goozner, 3/28).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Virginia Files New Court Papers Arguing Federal Health Care Law Is Unconstitutional
Virginia's attorney general has filed additional court papers arguing that the Obama administration's health care reform law is unconstitutional. The 69-page brief filed Monday urges the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the entire law. The court will hear oral arguments in May (3/28).
CQ HealthBeat: Cuccinelli To Appeals Court: Entire Health Care Law Should Be Tossed
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli says in an appeals court brief filed Monday that it was "erroneous" for a federal district judge to declare that only the health care law's individual mandate is unconstitutional. Instead, Cuccinelli argues that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit should throw out the entire law, not just the requirement that all Americans have health insurance. The suit Cuccinelli filed on behalf of Virginia is one of the most prominent attacks on the overhaul. In a separate multi-state case, a federal district court judge in Florida has ruled the whole health care law is unconstitutional (Norman, 3/28).