KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As Consumers Enroll In Marketplace Plans, Questions Remain For Many

Questions remain about insurance pricing, the cost of reform to taxpayers, and who is and isn't covered by the employer mandate.

CBS News: Continued Obamacare Changes Means An Evolving Price Tag
After President Obama in 2009 promised a health care law that cost less than $1 trillion over 10 years, congressional Democrats drafted one that did just that -- in spite of concerns it could compromise the policy. The promise was in part about fiscal prudence and partly about making the law politically palatable. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, it’s of course undergone several changes, creating an evolving price tag that’s given ammunition to the law’s supporters and opponents. Just in the past year, one administrative change to the health law struck $10 billion in revenue from the budget, while another policy that’s in flux has been dubbed an insurer "bailout" (Condon, 12/23).

The New York Times: New Health Law Frustrates Many In Middle Class
Ginger Chapman and her husband, Doug, are sitting on the health care cliff. The cheapest insurance plan they can find through the new federal marketplace in New Hampshire will cost their family of four about $1,000 a month, 12 percent of their annual income. ... Even more striking, for the Chapmans, is this fact: If they made just a few thousand dollars less a year — below $94,200 — their costs would be cut in half, because a family like theirs could qualify for federal subsidies. ... An analysis by The New York Times shows the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s (Thomas, Abelson and McGinty, 12/20).

The Associated Press: Health Plan Sticker Shock Ahead For Some Buyers
As a key enrollment deadline hits Monday, many people without health insurance have been sizing up policies on the new government health care marketplace and making what seems like a logical choice: They're picking the cheapest one. Increasingly, experts in health insurance are becoming concerned that many of these first-time buyers will be in for a shock when they get medical care next year and discover they're on the hook for most of the initial cost (Johnson, 12/22).

Fox News: Fire Departments Voice Concern Over Role Of Volunteers Under Obamacare
Fire departments and other emergency squads say they are still waiting to learn from the IRS whether they will have to pay for volunteers' medical insurance under ObamaCare and that having to cover such costs would really hurt many small-budget operations. President Obama’s signature health-care law requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for them. However, whether the IRS considers volunteers full-time employees remains unclear, in part because some receive a stipend or other financial incentives (12/22).

ABC News: Obamacare Explained (Like You're An Idiot)
Turns out a wonky website and warp-speed policy changes are the least of Obamacare's problems. A big reason Americans have hesitated to sign up for health insurance is they don't understand it (Neporent, 12/23).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.