KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Republicans Divided Over How To ‘Replace’ Health Law

But they continue to target the law's co-op program, among other provisions.

Politico: GOPers Split Over How To Reform Health Care
Ask each of the 242 House Republicans what kind of health policy they'd like to enact instead of President Barack Obama's health care reform law and you might get 242 different answers. Even after three years of railing against Obama's plan, Republicans have coalesced around only a few basic tenets of health policy — let alone a full replacement plan (Haberkorn, 4/30).

Politico: House GOP Targets Nonprofit Health Co-Ops
The CO-OP faithful are vowing to plow ahead despite the friction they've been getting from the House lately, as Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans attack the initiative on two fronts — investigating its loans while trying to defund the entire program (Norman, 4/30).

Also in the news, reports and politics swirl around the overhaul, especially regarding medical-loss ratio rebates and prescription drug coverage - 

Modern Healthcare: 'Free Money' And Insurance Industry Warnings
Insurance coverage is nice but nothing beats free money. At least, that's the apparent political thinking that has elevated new estimates on expected rebate checks to the marquee position whenever senior Democrats—including the president—have commented on the healthcare law in recent days. An estimate released last Thursday concluded that $1.3 billion in rebates will go out this summer to more than 3 million policyholders from private health insurers that exceed new medical loss ratio limits. It quickly became a top healthcare line for Democrats (Daly, 4/30).

Politico Pro: Dropping Coverage Could Net Billions
The House Ways and Means Committee plans to release a report Tuesday that says 71 of the nation's top companies could save almost $30 billion in 2014 by dropping health insurance coverage for their employees. The report is the latest Republican effort to hammer the health care reform law for placing a greater burden on business. The committee surveyed 71 companies in the Fortune 100 and determined they could save more than $28 billion in 2014 alone by dropping insurance coverage and instead paying the $2,000-per-employee penalty. Savings over the following decade could be $422.4 billion (Feder and Haberkorn, 5/1).

The Hill: CMS: Obama Health Law Has Saved Seniors $3.4 Billion On Prescription Drugs
Seniors have saved $3.4 billion on prescription drugs because of President Obama's healthcare law, the Medicare agency said Monday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said seniors saved an average of $837 in the first three months of this year. CMS said more than 5 million seniors have benefited from the law's drug discounts — a provision that Democrats often highlight as they try to build public support for a law that remains stuck at about 50 percent approval (Baker, 4/30).

Exchanges, other health law provisions draw headlines at the state level -

The New York Times: In Fight Over Obama Health Law, A Front In Minnesota
With zeal, excitement and a meticulous attention to detail, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton is trying to expand health insurance coverage and remake Minnesota's insurance market along the lines envisioned by President Obama (Pear, 4/30).

California Healthline: How Should California Respond if Part or All of ACA Is Struck Down?
We got responses from: Diana Dooley, Secretary, California Health & Human Services Agency. State Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach), Vice-chair, Senate Committee on Health. State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), Chair, Senate Committee on Health. Betsy Imholz, Special projects director, Consumers Union. Bill Kramer, Executive director national health policy, Pacific Business Group on Health. Elizabeth Landsberg, Director of legislative advocacy, Western Center on Law and Poverty. Assembly member William Monning (D-Carmel), Chair, Assembly Health Committee. Anthony Wright, Executive director, Health Access California (4/30). 

Politico Pro: Exchange Week: Will Christie Say Yes Or No?
Vermont made huge progress toward an exchange last week when its Legislature approved a bill setting policy for the new marketplace — but it’s unlikely that any other Legislature will take such a monumental step before the Supreme Court makes its decision. In the near term, though, the biggest exchange decision to watch out for will be made by a Republican governor who at least seems receptive to the exchange concept (Millman, 4/30).

Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., is taking advantage of a key health law provision although he has voted to repeal the law -

Boston Globe: Brown Says Daughter, 23, Insured Under Health Law
Senator Scott Brown, who won office vowing to be the 41st vote to block President Obama's health care law and who has since voted three times to repeal it, acknowledged Monday that he takes advantage of it to keep his elder daughter on his congressional health insurance plan. "Of course I do," the Massachusetts Republican told the Globe. Brown is insuring his daughter Ayla, a professional singer who is 23 years old, under a widely popular provision of the law requiring that family plans cover children up to age 26 (Johnson, 5/1).

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