Positive Reviews Of Health Overhaul Implementation So Far But Potential Stumbling Blocks Lie Ahead
The New York Times notes an uptick in support for the health overhaul in polls as parts of the law begin to take effect, as well as some positive reviews - even from conservatives - about the administration's performance in implementing the measures. Stuart Butler, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, for instance, said, "I give them an A for effort. But there are land mines down the road because the law is fundamentally flawed." The latest poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 48 percent hold a favorable view of the new law, while 41 percent oppose it. Last month, those numbers were reversed. Among the newly implemented parts of the law: High-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions; a new website that launched yesterday to help consumers sort through insurance information; $250 checks to help Medicare patients with drug costs; and a program to help companies pay for retiree benefits (Pear, 7/1).
The Wall Street Journal: But, many key rules have not yet been drafted. "One number in the health-care overhaul law could dramatically alter the health-insurance landscape. Winners and losers are soon to be determined in the health-insurance industry, which is holding its breath as regulators decide to what extent a key aspect of health reform will clip profits. How federal regulators interpret a metric known as a medical-loss ratio could affect players from industry giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. down to specialized companies such as American National Insurance Co. Plans could be forced to pay out millions in rebates, while others may be driven out of the market" (A. Johnson, 7/2).
The Associated Press: Also, there could be unintended consequences. "Emergency rooms, the only choice for patients who can't find care elsewhere, may grow even more crowded with longer wait times under the nation's new health law. That might come as a surprise to those who thought getting 32 million more people covered by health insurance would ease ER crowding. It would seem these patients would be able to get routine health care by visiting a doctor's office, as most of the insured do." But, issues like an ongoing shortage of primary care physicians and a coming surge in Medicaid enrollment - people in that program are the most frequent ER visitors - could mean emergency departments become even more crowded (C. Johnson, 7/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.