KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Implementation Issues Expected To Loom Large Post-Election

News outlets reported on insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion and how the law's employer mandate may already be affecting workers' hours.

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Care Law Spurs A Shift To Part-Time Workers
Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul's requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee. Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker (Jargon, Radnofsky and Berzon, 11/4).

Politico: Post-Election Flood Of 'Obamacare' Rules Expected
The once-steady stream of regulations and rules from the Obama administration — instructions for insurance companies, hospitals and states on how to put the law in place — has slowed to a trickle in recent months in an attempt to avoid controversies before the election. Many states, too, have done little public work to avoid making the law an election issue for state officials on the ballot. But work has been going on behind the scenes (Haberkorn, 11/5).

CQ HealthBeat: So Who's Running Exchanges At CMS? It's A Team
With two weeks to go before "declaration day" — the day states must say under the health law if they plan to open an insurance exchange — the Obama administration is relying on several officials to run the implementation of this key part of the health law. That's in contrast to the way exchange effort was run shortly after the health overhaul was passed, when Joel Ario was clearly the point person in his post as director of the Office of Insurance Exchanges at Health and Human Services (HHS) before the exchange office was folded into the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (Reichard, 11/2).

The Hill: Conflict-Of-Interest Concerns Raised As Obama Races To Implement Health Reform
The Obama administration is relying heavily on outside contractors to implement a core component of healthcare reform as it races to set up a federal health insurance marketplace before 2014. The fast-approaching deadline gives the administration little time to scrutinize private-sector partners for conflicts of interest. The purchase of one of these contractors, Quality Software Services, Inc. (QSSI), by UnitedHealth Group, a major healthcare conglomerate, has sparked concerns about a potentially uneven playing field (Bolton, 11/3).

Politico Pro: Hickenlooper: 'Uncertainty' On Medicaid Expansion
We've heard the argument from opponents and skeptics of the Affordable Care Act: States can't commit to expanding their Medicaid programs without more guidance from HHS. But Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, an avid surrogate for President Barack Obama and wholehearted supporter of the health law, offered a similar assessment in a budget he filed with his state's lawmakers this week. He didn't include Medicaid expansion at this time (Cheney, 11/2).

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