KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mandate Matters: Examining The Relationship Between The Health Law’s Employer And Individual Mandates

The Associated Press reports that delaying the enforcement of the employer mandate may undermine the individual mandate, too, while the National Journal reports on a study weighing which of these provisions has the most weight.

The Associated Press: Health Law's Rule Delay Could Hamper Enforcement
There's a bit of a domino effect undercutting President Barack Obama's health care law. Enforcement of the overhaul's central mandate — that individual Americans must have coverage — could be weakened by the Obama administration's recent delay of a requirement that larger employers provide medical insurance (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/16).

National Journal: Obamacare Study: Employer Mandate May Not Matter Much, But The Individual Mandate Does
A new study published by the Urban Institute this week finds that removing the employer mandate from the Affordable Care Act will have little impact on either insurance coverage or government spending--but that removing the individual-mandate provision would significantly increase the number of uninsured individuals and affect government spending. The study comes on the heels of the Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate--and just before House Speaker John Boehner holds a vote to delay both the employer mandate and the individual mandate (Novack, 7/16).

In other news, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asks the NAACP for help in making the health law work --

Politico: Help Make Obamacare Work, Kathleen Sebelius Asks NAACP Meeting
Comparing Obamacare to the struggle for civil rights, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged the NAACP convention to focus on enrolling people in new health insurance coverage in the coming months. "Start spreading the word," Sebelius said Tuesday afternoon. "Download tool kits and customize fliers to hang up at local businesses and restaurants and barber shops and beauty salons." Sebelius called on leaders in the religious community especially to take up the Obamacare mantle (Millman, 7/17).

Also in the headlines -

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Are College Students Being Overcharged On Loans To Pay For 'Obamacare'?
When the health-care law was passed in 2010, Democrats slipped in massive changes to student-loan programs, essentially cutting banks out of the business. In the official score of the health-care bill by the Congressional Budget Office, ending federal guarantees for federal loans and replacing them with direct loans made by the Education Department would yield $58 billion between 2010 and 2019. All federal money is fungible, but with such a large pot of money suddenly (theoretically) available, Congress wanted to spend it on other things. Here's the breakdown of where the money went. ... [Sen. Lamar] Alexander’s opinion of the health law aside, his assertion that college students are being "overcharged" to pay for the health law doesn’t add up. (Kessler, 7/17).

Kaiser Health News: Head Of Rx Drug Makers Group Says Obama Budget Plans Cause Concern
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey interviews John Castellani, who heads the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). He talks about the rollout of the federal health law, the sequestration cuts to federal spending and the president's budget (Carey, 7/16).

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