KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Lobbyists, Including Restaurant Owners, Looking To Make Changes In Health Law

The efforts, some from strident opponents of the law, suggests they may now believe that they have to learn to live with the measure, The Washington Post reports. Also, Politico examines how President Barack Obama came to embrace the notion of changing health care.

The Washington Post: With Deadlines Looming, Lobbyists Push For Changes To Obamacare
While conservatives on Capitol Hill are waging a last-ditch battle to scuttle the Affordable Care Act, some powerful Washington groups that were among the legislation's loudest critics are now trying to shape the law and how it's carried out, an acknowledgment that they need to learn to live with the landmark initiative. Other players that have been more supportive of the law are also engaged in a lobbying push, pressing Congress and federal agencies to refine provisions (Yeager, 9/21).

The San Francisco Chronicle: Restaurants Fight 30-Hour Rule In Health Care Law
Restaurant owners have serious issues with the Affordable Care Act. The sticking point for many is the legal definition of a full-time worker as anyone averaging at least 30 hours a week on the job. By 2015, any company with more than 50 such employees (including "full-time equivalent employees," according to the law) will have to offer health benefits. Last week, restaurant execs met with Congress in a lobbying effort to eliminate the 30-hour rule (Wong, 9/22).

Politico: Promises Vs. Reality: Obama's Health Care Conversion
The most important red line of Barack Obama's presidency was scrawled hastily in January 2007, a few weeks before he even announced he was running for president. ... two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment. Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term? Thus was born Obamacare (Budoff Brown and Thrush, 9/22).

Also, a number of news outlets look at what is happening locally.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: New Health Insurance Co-Op Going Door-To-Door
[Common Ground Health Cooperative]  is one of 24 nationally that received almost $2 billion in federal funding through the Affordable Care Act to start nonprofit companies to sell health insurance to individuals and small businesses. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is one of four health insurers that will sell health plans to individuals and one of two that will sell plans for small employers in the Milwaukee area on the exchanges, the marketplace set up under the health care law, scheduled to start on Oct. 1 (Boulton, 9/22).

Bloomberg: Doctors Brace For Health Law's Surge Of Ailing Patients
Holy Cross Hospital's health center in Aspen Hill, Maryland, is bracing for more business.  The center treats the uninsured, and has been busy since it opened in 2012 with a waiting list of more than 400 people at its clinic. Now, as a result of the U.S. Affordable Care Act, it's mulling adding staff and hours in anticipation of next year's rush of newly-insured patients, many with chronic medical conditions that have gone untreated for years (Armour, 9/23).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Faces Of Obamacare In Atlanta
Georgia has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in the nation: 1.9 million residents, about 19 percent, have no coverage. The Affordable Care Act was designed to reach these very people in one of two ways: the sale of private coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace, also called an exchange, combined with a greatly expanded Medicaid program. The exchange opens Oct. 1. But Georgia decided not to expand Medicaid, which will mean that hundreds of thousands of people remain without coverage. Many uninsured will continue to do what they’ve done for years: live without health care until a condition turns into an emergency and forces a trip to the ER (Williams, 9/22).

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