KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Uninsured People In Rural Areas Could Benefit Big Under The Health Law

MedPage Today reports on how rural residents could gain as a result of the overhaul, while other news outlets offer reports from a variety of states regarding the health law's implementation.

MedPage Today: ACA Likely To Deliver Bigger Bang In Rural Areas
The rural uninsured may reap a bigger benefit from the Affordable Care Act than their city-dwelling counterparts, which prompted health policy experts to call for a ramped-up campaign to publicize ACA in rural communities. More rural residents than urban dwellers (10.7 percent versus 9.6 percent) can receive tax subsidies under the ACA to purchase private insurance and more uninsured are eligible for an expanded Medicaid program (9.9 percent versus 8.5 percent), Keith Mueller, PhD, director of the Rural Policy Research Institute's Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis in Iowa City, said (Pittman, 7/29).

Des Moines Register: Health Care Advocates Want Program To Be Understandable
Advocates for various health care groups said Monday that they want to ensure Iowa's new insurance program for poor adults is as straightforward and understandable as possible. "Misinformation is abundant and anxiety is very high," Susan Whitty, public-policy chairwoman for the Iowa Nurses Association said at a public hearing in Des Moines (Leys, 7/29).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Health Law Alone Won't Reverse Inequities
The Affordable Care Act may leave many of the poor and people of color behind. That's the view of this year's president of the American Public Health Association, Dr. Adewale Troutman, who spoke in Denver last week. … While the Affordable Care Act, which goes into full effect next year, will help millions of people get health insurance, it does not guarantee that they’ll get decent care. Nor does it go far enough to reverse disparities that cost lives every day, Troutman said. For instance, health inequities cause more than 83,000 excess deaths among African Americans each year, Troutman said. He cited a study titled "What if We Were Equal?" that he and others did for the journal Health Affairs in 2005 (Kerwin McCrimmon, 7/29).

California Healthline: California Businesses Welcome ACA Delay
California business groups applauded the Obama administration's decision to delay for one year a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance for full-time workers. Delaying the mandate until January 2015 will give businesses more time to deal with new data gathering and reporting requirements, according to analysts. "For the larger business community, particularly in the Bay Area, this isn't going to have a huge impact because the majority of them already offer health insurance to their employees," said Micah Weinberg, a senior policy adviser for the Bay Area Council, a business group based in San Francisco (Hart, 7/29).

Palm Beach Post: Individual Health Insurance Rates To Rise 30-40% Next Year Under New Law, Florida Insurance Chief Says
Health insurance rates in Florida will rise by 5 to 20 percent in the small-group market, and 30 to 40 percent in the individual market, as the Affordable Care Act's guaranteed coverage rule takes effect next year, Florida's insurance commissioner said Monday. It’s a measure of how tough Florida’s insurance market has been for adults with pre-existing conditions that the state’s rates will rise so much for individuals, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post. McCarty said the impact on people with large-group insurance will be negligible (Singer, 7/30).

Columbus Dispatch: Tea Party Targeting Sears For Medicaid Stance
The most outspoken House Republican supporter of Medicaid expansion (not much competition for that distinction) has attracted attention from the Toledo Tea Party, which is actively seeking a candidate to challenge her in the 2014 primary. Rep. Barbara Sears of Sylvania, a member of the House GOP leadership team and considered one of the most knowledgeable members on Medicaid and health care, has backed Gov. John Kasich’s effort to expand Medicaid. ... The Toledo Tea Party quotes Linda Bowyer, spokeswoman for Conservative Coalition: "NWOCC supporters are very upset with Rep Sears and her continuing efforts to implement Obamacare Medicaid Expansion." She added: "We've been interviewing candidates throughout northwest Ohio. Our supporters have made it clear to us that we need to support candidates who will actively work to oppose Obamacare, and oppose any candidate that is working to implement Obamacare” (Siegel, 7/29).

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