KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In States Opposed To Health Law, Many Low-Income Residents Are Left Out

Politico examines the stark differences in the impact of the Affordable Care Act between Republican-led states fighting it and others that have accepted the health overhaul. Meanwhile, USA Today finds that even with the law, many consumers will face troubling medical debt.

Politico: State Fights Creating 2 Obamacares
Determining who has health insurance under Obamacare is almost as simple as figuring out which political party runs a state. Republican-led states like Texas that have refused Obamacare every step of the way have left hundreds of thousands of people without health care, while Democrat-led states like Kentucky that have embraced key portions of the law have seen a dramatic expansion in people signed up for private health plans and expanded Medicaid coverage (Norman, 1/14).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Advocates Say 195,000 Virginians In Health Care 'Coverage Gap'
Alyson Cardin had a choice -- pay $300 a month for medication to control her seizures or buy groceries for her three children. "Feeding my children was simply more important," said Cardin, 37, a divorced waitress in Giles County. So Cardin stopped taking her medication and experienced a seizure while driving with one of her children. She lost control, hit another car, and ended up in a hospital emergency room. Hers is one story from the "coverage gap" that has swallowed an estimated 195,000 Virginians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to be eligible for federal subsidies to buy health insurance in the new federally run marketplace (Martz, 1/15).

USA Today: Medical Debt Will Persist Despite Health Law
Millions of Americans will get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act that will protect them from potentially ruinous medical expenses, but a new USA Today analysis shows the health plans they can choose still leave them vulnerable to thousands in deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs each year (O’Donnell and Overberg, 1/14).

In other implementation news --

NPR: Why The Youth Gap On Obamacare Exchanges Could Be A Yawner
The dust is settling a bit after the administration released details Monday about who signed up for health insurance on the exchanges during the chaotic three months after they launched Oct. 1. Just about everybody was watching to see how many young people piled in. ... The administration ultimately hopes that about 40 percent of the people who get insurance through the exchanges will be young adults. ... [B]ut people ages 18 to 34 came in at just 24 percent of the total sign-ups. Big deal? Maybe. Maybe not (Hensley, 1/14).

The Fiscal Times: 3 Predictions On How Docs Will Treat You Under Obamacare
The White House contends that Obamacare will reduce the number of uninsured, reign in health care costs, cut the deficit and improve the quality of health care. Opponents of the law argue that it's simply another costly entitlement program that won't control costs and will lower quality of care all while incurring hundreds of billions in new costs. To get an idea of what the act of receiving health care will be like in the next five to 10 years with Obamacare as the law of the land, we reached out to experts who fell into one of three camps. One predicts disaster, another predicts success, and another doesn’t believe the Affordable Health Care Act will change much of anything (Francis, 1/15).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Packing Medical Offices Spurs Deal Surge
Obamacare and an aging U.S. population are spurring purchases of medical office buildings, with investors sending prices to a record on bets that Americans' demand for health services will increase. Sales of properties leased by doctors and other health-care providers reached $6.67 billion in 2013, the second-highest total in 13 years of data-keeping by Real Capital Analytics Inc (Louis, 1/14).

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