Insurance Agents Target Navigators; GOP Rep. McHenry Grilled At Town Hall
Center for Public Integrity: Obamacare's Hidden Battle: Insurance Agents Push State Regulation Of Guides To New Marketplaces
When states and the federal government launch the new insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges”, on October 1, one of their greatest challenges will be reaching the very people the marketplaces are meant to help. ... Enter the navigators. The federal law directs the exchanges in each state to fund these entities, who will act like travel guides for the online marketplaces. ... The idea is that health care is complicated, so having someone walk you through the process helps. But when insurance agents and brokers first learned of the plan, some saw the navigators as government-funded competition (Kusnetz, 8/9).
Modern Healthcare: Reform Update: HHS To Award $54 Million For Navigator Training
HHS is preparing to award $54 million in grants to navigators—organizations that will provide impartial information to the public about signing up for coverage on the state health insurance exchanges. Navigators are not allowed to recommend particular health plans. These grants will go to navigator organizations in states where the federal government will operate the exchanges (Lee, 8/8).
Related, earlier KHN story: State Spending On Consumer Assistance Could Have ‘Huge Impact’ On Marketplace Enrollment (Galewitz, 5/13)
The Washington Post: The White House Keeps Changing Obamacare. Is That Legal?
The Obama administration has made numerous adjustments and tweaks to the Affordable Care Act as the law has come into effect. Two recent decisions – one to delay enforcement of the employer mandate until 2015, and another to allow Congress to continue paying for health benefits – have raised questions about how far that discretion should go, whether the White House has overstepped its executive authority (Kliff, 8/8).
The Washington Post: Appeal Of The Repeal
House Republicans have certainly tried to repeal or dismantle Obamacare — they’ve passed 40 bills to do that. The idea doesn't seem to be gaining traction. ... Though it may take years, Bill Galston, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, says repealing laws isn’t always a fool’s errand. He pointed to the relatively quick repeal of the law Congress adopted in 1988 providing catastrophic health-care coverage for seniors, which led to a catastrophic moment for Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. What led to such a fast about-face was that the law was targeted, and it ticked off the very people it was supposed to help (Kamen, 8/8).
Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times: McHenry Gets Earful On Health Care
All U.S Rep. Patrick McHenry had to do during his first-ever Asheville-area town hall meeting was offer an invitation to stand up and be heard. Thirty people swiftly moved into lines on either side of a packed ArtSpace Charter School auditorium to ask questions of their new congressman — some of them pointed and many of them about Obamacare. ... many of them, including Skip Edwards, questioned the Republican’s position on the Affordable Care Act. ... Edwards and others wondered why McHenry would vote against a plan they feel is better than nothing at all (Dixson, 8/8).
CQ HealthBeat: Old May Pay More, Young Less In Hill Shift To Exchanges
Among the issues the federal Office of Personnel Management must wrestle to the ground as it writes a final rule on 2014 congressional health coverage in the health law exchanges is whether premiums will vary based on age. And the OPM faces another thorny issue: The movement of congressional members and staff into retiree coverage. ... The proposed OPM rule would assure that the federal government would still pay the lion’s share of premium payments for members of Hill staff, as they are in FEHBP. That should relieve Hill staff of a great deal of worry since many feared they’d lose their current federal contribution for coverage. There’s no indication yet that members or aides will be sheltered from the impact of the age-rating provisions (Reichard, 8/8).
The Fiscal Times: Got A Great Health Plan? Get Ready To Kiss It Goodbye
Under Obamacare, the government won’t start taxing employers who offer so-called “Cadillac” health benefits to their workers for another five years, but companies are already starting to cut back on such plans. ... Under the Affordable Care Act, companies will have to pay an excise tax on plans that cost more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family (Braverman, 8/9).
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