KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Big Changes For Addiction Treatment Predicted Under Obamacare

An estimated 40 million people could enter treatment because the health law recognizes drug addiction and alcoholism as chronic diseases that must be covered by insurance plans, according to the California Health Report. Other news outlets report that Tennessee officials blame Obamacare for the shutdown of a state program that covered 16,000 people but didn't meet the law's coverage requirements and also how scam artists are trying to cash in on people's confusion over the law.

Healthy Cal: ACA Brings Big Changes For Addiction Treatment
The Affordable Care Act recognizes drug addiction and alcoholism as chronic diseases that must be covered by health insurance plans, and in so doing marks a major transformation of addiction care. The biggest change is that 40 million people could enter substance abuse treatment, opening a huge market for addiction care. “I don’t think there’s another illness that will be more affected by the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Thomas McLellan, former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (Urevich, 9/10).

The Washington Post: Using Obamacare As Bait, Scam Artists Target Consumers And Business Owners
A number of health insurance scams have emerged in recent months as crooks try to cash in on confusion over the health care reform law, and some officials say they are bracing for more in the months ahead. Most of the schemes target uninsured individuals and employers, many of whom will soon be required to purchase a minimum level of health coverage or pay a tax penalty. In some cases, scammers have set up bogus Web sites intended to look like the law’s new health insurance exchanges, where individuals and small business owners will be allowed to shop for coverage starting on Oct. 1 (Harrison, 9/10).

Politico: Tennessee Blames Obamacare For Insurance Program’s Closure
Tennessee says it’s shuttering a state-administered insurance program that provides coverage to 16,000 residents because of Obamacare. The program, CoverTN, will cease coverage at the end of the year, according to a notice sent to enrollees this week. “CoverTN is a limited-benefit plan. It has annual benefit limits and does not cover all of the services required by the new health care law,” according to the notice. "This means your coverage through CoverTN will end on Dec. 31, 2013" (Cheney, 9/10).

Politico also reports on a news conference by Sen. David Vitter, who casts doubt on reports of a "brain drain" of Capitol Hill aides if they don't get subsidies to buy Obamacare insurance --

Politico: Vitter: Hill 'Brain Drain' Threats Over Insurance 'Wildly Overstated'
Sen. David Vitter isn’t worried about a Capitol Hill "brain drain" if staffers can’t get federal subsidies to help them buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. "The American people? Their first reaction is [that] these are the brains, by the way, that gave us Obamacare, we can afford some of that drain," Vitter said at a press conference Tuesday, adding that the fear of many staffers leaving if they have to pay for their own health care is "wildly overstated" (Haberkorn, 9/10).

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