KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Restaurant Owner Welcomes Delay On Law’s Insurance Requirement

The New York Times profiles the challenges that one business owner faced with the health law. Other outlets offer news on the law, including the problems the administration faces in setting up the online marketplaces, concerns about scams targeting consumers and help for Medicare beneficiaries.

The New York Times: At Restaurant, Delay Is Help On Health Law
Eric King has worked diligently to keep his family’s 35-year-old seafood restaurant [in Ellicott City, Md.] viable, most recently by expanding the menu beyond its well-loved crab cakes and other traditional dishes to draw a younger, freer-spending crowd. ... Yet the prospect of providing health insurance to every full-time worker or paying a penalty starting in January, a provision of the Obama health care law, has overshadowed the good news. ... Then came last week's announcement that the mandate would be delayed a year after business owners begged the Obama administration for more time. Mr. King ... was thrilled (Goodnough, 7/9).

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Struggles To Meet Health-Law Deadline
When Obama administration officials delayed a central plank of the new health law—requiring that big employers offer health insurance to workers—they said it was to help businesses pleading for more time. Left unsaid was the federal government hadn't written key rules guiding employers, according to current and former administration officials, and computer systems that were supposed to run the program weren't operational (Meckler, Corbett Dooren and Nicholas, 7/9).

Kaiser Health News: Community Health Centers – In Every State – Get Obamacare Outreach Funds
The nation’s community health centers — which treat the poor and uninsured– apparently know a good deal when they see one. Nearly all 1,200 federally funded community health centers applied for and will be getting a piece of $150 million in federal health law money to enroll patients in new online health insurance marketplaces starting Oct.1 (Galewitz, 7/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Prescribed: Guide To The Health Law Rollout (Interactive)
This guide explains the law and its impact on industry, consumers and states, and includes maps showing state positions on Medicaid and the insurance exchanges, a subsidy calculator and a timeline of key dates in the rollout. You can also take an interactive tour of "Obamacare," learning through your own eyes what’s covered and how the law affects you, your employer and the uninsured (7/9).

NBC News: What's To Come With Obamacare
The Obama administration is still taking a political beating for its one-year delay of one major part of health reform – the requirement that all employers with more than 50 full-time workers provide health insurance for them. That provision was going to go into effect in January. But it's not the biggest provision, and the White House says the most important reforms are still on track. The biggest, by far, is the opening of the health insurance exchanges – the online marketplaces where people can buy insurance if they don’t already get it from an employer, or from a public plan such as Medicare, Medicaid or the military (Fox, 7/10).

McClatchy: Sick: Scams Prey On 'Obamacare' Confusion
If a stranger claiming to be from the government calls to offer you an "Obamacare card" or threatens to throw you in jail unless you buy insurance, hang up the phone. It's a scam. Fraudsters are poised to take advantage of widespread confusion over the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – to steal Americans' credit cards, Social Security numbers and other personal information, consumer advocates and government officials say (Wise, 7/9).

Related, earlier KHN story: Seniors Get Hung Up In Health Care Scams (Gold, 4/22).

And finally -

USA Today: Medicare Beneficiaries Reach $5 Billion In Drug Savings
Since passage of the health care overhaul two years ago, 5.8 million Medicare patients have saved $5 billion from prescription drug discounts, and the government can now predict lower health care costs based on increased use of these cheaper drugs. The savings are a continuation of the 2010 health care law's attempt to close the "doughnut hole" — or the prescription drug coverage expenses that kick in once Medicare coverage runs out (Kennedy, 7/9).

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