KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law’s Exchange Rules, Consumer Protections Under The Microscope

USA Today reports that state officials worry about the amount of federal guidance provided regarding state-based health exchanges. Meanwhile, KHN talks with a consumer advocate, who is concerned that state rules will affect implementation of the health law.  

USA Today: States Seek Help Making Health Exchange Rules
As the federal government tries to leave the states with the freedom to set up individualized local health exchanges, state officials say they've received so little guidance that they're afraid they'll have to make changes as more regulations come out after the presidential election. "CMS is walking a very fine line with providing guidance while trying not to be too prescriptive," said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut's Insurance Exchange (Kennedy, 10/29).

Kaiser Health News: Consumer Advocate Cautions That State Rules Will Impact Scope Of Health Law
Timothy Stoltzfus Jost is a law professor at Washington and Lee University who has written extensively about implementation of the law and is a co-author of the report. He talked with me about some of the ways consumers’ interests could be shortchanged if insurance rules that are being developed for the implementation of the health law don’t provide specific protections (Andrews, 10/29). 

In addition, the American Action Forum studied the health law's insurance subsidies -

The Hill: Report: Health Law's Costs Continuing To Grow
The cost of providing subsidies to help people buy insurance could continue to rise, straining the federal budget more than expected, the conservative American Action Forum said in a paper published Monday. The think tank, led by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, compared CBO's initial estimates for the Affordable Care Act to CBO's most recent analysis, issued this summer after the Supreme Court upheld the law. The estimated cost of insurance subsidies has risen nearly 25 percent since the law was passed, according to the AAF analysis (Baker 10/29).

Politico Pro: Report: ACA's Subsidy Costs Likely To Keep Rising
The budget office’s figures now show that the subsidies will cost $574 billion between 2012 and 2019 — $112 billion more than the original estimate, the report says. And the price tag for the Affordable Care Act is likely to keep rising because health care costs are still increasing, people’s incomes aren’t rising as fast as expected, and some employers could stop offering health coverage and let their employees get subsidized coverage through the new health insurance exchanges, according to the report by American Action Forum's Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Michael Ramlet (Nather, 10/29).

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