KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sebelius: ‘Relentless’ Politics Complicates Health Law’s Implementation

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she underestimated how long politics would dog the health law. Meanwhile, a regional official of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tells The Washington Post what's happening in the field.

Politico: Kathleen Sebelius: Much Confusion On ACA
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she underestimated how long the politics of health reform would last and didn't anticipate how much confusion the slow rollout of the legislation would create. Sebelius said she had expected the Supreme Court ruling and President Barack Obama's reelection would tamp down some of the "relentless and continuous" politics. But the controversy goes on (Haberkorn, 4/9).

The Hill: Sebelius: Obamacare Rollout More Complicated Than Anticipated
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that she did not anticipate how complicated implementing the president's signature health care law would be…Speaking to students at the Harvard School of Public Health, Sebelius said implementation had been hampered both by the law's slow roll out and red-state governors and legislators who have rejected state-run insurance exchanges (Sink, 4/9).

The Washington Post: Rolling Out The Affordable Care Act In The Field
As the new features of the Affordable Care Act roll out between now and 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are developing new programs and tools to help healthcare providers deliver better care to the American public — and much of the work takes place outside the Beltway. Tom Fox spoke with a leader in the field about leading from the field. David Sayen is the CMS regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific territories. He has more than 30 years of federal service and experience in health and human services programs (Fox, 4/8).

Media outlets also report on specific health law provisions -

Richmond Times Dispatch: What is the 'Obamacare' Bronze Plan?
The open enrollment period begins for the new health plans created by the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) on Oct. 1, yet most Americans couldn’t name one of the new health plans let alone describe all the services they cover. The Bronze Plan is the entry-level option of these new health plans. It is a private health plan, which means you will pay an insurance company to enroll in the plan rather than receiving the plan for free from the government. However, depending on your income level, you may qualify to receive a subsidy from the government to lower your monthly premium and lower the maximum amount of health care out-of-pocket costs you can pay in a year (4/9).

The Washington Post's WonkBlog: In Obamacare, Online Insurance Brokers See Potential Windfall
Online insurance brokers see a potential windfall when the federal government doles out billions in subsidies to buy help Americans buy health insurance. And they are asking state governments to help them score it (Kliff, 4/8).

Kaiser Health News: Study: States Lag On Tracking Potential Obamacare Loophole
What if there were a way for even small employers to escape some Affordable Care Act rules blamed for driving up costs? Some see self-insurance for medical care, which is exempt from the law's taxes, benefit rules and price restrictions taking effect next year, as just such an opportunity (Hancock, 4/8).

CQ HealthBeat: Deadline For Comment On Birth Control Proposal Sparks Fresh Debate
Opposing sides in the battle over birth control coverage under the health care law squared off anew Monday as the public comment period ended on a proposed Department of Health and Human Services rule. But, as even the secretary of Health and Human Services acknowledged, the issue is in the courts, and it’s likely that the issue will be decided by the Supreme Court, not by administration rule-making (Norman, 4/8).

Boston Globe: Mass. Businesses Don’t Like Insurance Decision
Massachusetts business leaders say they are disappointed with a federal decision to allow the state to phase in parts of the national health care law over three years, maintaining it doesn’t do enough to provide relief from expected insurance premium hikes. After state officials earlier this year objected to new rules stemming from the US health care overhaul -- arguing they would drive up costs for small businesses and their employees -- federal health officials told their Massachusetts counterparts Friday the state could take until 2016 to fully implement rules to bring it into compliance with national standards. But business leaders said Monday that the federal decision, while welcome, fell short of the waiver they had sought for regulations that conflicted with Massachusetts’ 2006 health care law, widely viewed as the model for the US Affordable Care Act (Weisman, 4/9).

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