KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Is Another Health Law Delay On The Horizon?

The Hill reports that the Obama administration is preparing to announce as early as this week a directive that would allow insurers to continue offering plans that do not meet the overhaul's minimum coverage requirements. 

The Hill: New O-Care Delay To Help Midterm Dems 
The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats. As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements (Viebeck, 3/3).

Fox News: Administration Reportedly Will Extend ObamaCare Fix For Canceled Health Plans
The Obama administration is preparing to announce a new delay in the health care law's implementation that would allow insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare's minimum coverage requirements, The Hill reported. President Obama, under pressure over widespread health plan cancellations, offered a solution in November allowing Americans to keep their current insurance policies for another year, even if their plans didn't meet the minimum standards. The latest delay, expected to be announced as early as next week, would allow insurers to continue selling insurance plans that would otherwise be banned under the law, The Hill reported late Monday, citing insurance industry sources (3/4).

In other, related news -

CQ HealthBeat: Health And Business Groups Seek Further Delay On Choice Of Exchange Plans For Workers
A coalition of business groups, health industry associations and insurers is asking federal officials to extend through 2015 a delay of a health care law provision that would allow workers at small companies to choose which health plan they want to enroll in. "At this time, employers and health plans do not have milestones or timelines for adequate implementation and testing of the complicated employee-choice model later this year," the Choice and Competition Coalition wrote in a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner (Adams, 3/3).

News outlets also explore the overhaul's economic impact -

CQ HealthBeat: Health Law's Legacy May Be Cost Controls More Than Expanded Coverage
Republicans, whether during the 2008 presidential election or the subsequent health care overhaul debate, faulted Democrats as being too focused on expanding coverage and not enough on controlling costs. But some analysts, including former Congressional Budget Office Director Peter Orszag, suggest that perhaps the biggest change the law has delivered is in helping to slow down health care spending (Reichard, 3/3).

The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics: Obamacare Effects Account For Most of Income, Spending Increases
The Affordable Care Act, President Barack Barack Obama's signature health law, is already boosting household income and spending. … On the incomes side, the law’s expanded coverage boosted Medicaid benefits by an estimated $19.2 billion, according to Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. The ACA also offered several refundable tax credits, including health insurance premium subsidies, which added up to $14.7 billion (Sparshott, 3/3).

While some consumers are choosing an alternative -

Fox News: Christian Alternative To ObamaCare Growing Fast As Deadline Nears
With just weeks left to sign up for insurance on, a growing number of people are opting to enroll in a Christian alternative to traditional health insurance. Nationwide networks of fellow believers help share each other's major medical bills through what's known as health care sharing ministries. "It works just like insurance. I have an insurance card. I show it just like anyone else would. I have a deductible. I have a monthly premium that I pay," explained Eileen Wade, who joined the health care sharing ministry, Medi-Share, in 2011 (Tenney, 3/4).

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