KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Changes Present Enrollment Challenges

Meanwhile, news outlets report on a range of other implementation issues, including the decision of Ohio Gov. John Kasich to follow through on forming a state-based exchange despite his opposition to the overhaul, changes to FSAs and the measure's impact on farmers.

Stateline: Ohio's Kasich Opts For A Health Insurance Exchange
Ohio's John Kasich has joined a short list of Republican governors who oppose the national health law but have decided to follow through on one of its key components - creation of a health insurance exchange where small businesses can compare policies. ... The federal law gave states $1 million planning grants to get started on their exchanges; the grants went to every state except Louisiana, where Republican governor Bobby Jindal refused it. To get more federal dollars, states have to enact a law or executive order creating the legal authority for an exchange (Vestal, 7/25).

CQ HealthBeat: Analysts Outline Enrollment Challenges Under Health Law
Just because you build it doesn't mean they'll necessary come - at least not right away. That's been the history of various government programs to cover the uninsured, ranging from Medicaid to the Children's Health Insurance Program to, most recently, the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan under the health care overhaul. Given that track record, it's not a sure thing that enrollment will ramp up quickly when Medicaid and subsidized private plan coverage expands sharply in 2014 under the health law (Reichard, 7/22).

Watertown Daily Times: Farmer-Owned Cooperatives Want Tax Credits Under Health Care Reform Extended To Their Members
While Republicans and Democrats in Congress debate the survival of President Barack Obama's health reform law, officials are working on a more immediate issue regarding the law's possible impact on farmers. Farmers who buy health insurance through their bargaining cooperatives could end up in state-run health exchanges - possibly with less generous benefits - unless the federal government extends certain tax credits to the co-ops, a group of lawmakers warned the Obama administration (Heller, 7/24).

CQ HealthBeat: Lawmakers Want To Repeal FSA 'Use-It-Or-Lose-It' Rule
A bipartisan pair of senators has introduced legislation to repeal the "use-it-or-lose-it" Flexible Spending Account rule, a move that Benjamin L. Cardin says would entice more workers to use the program and add $70 million a year to federal coffers. Currently, workers who set aside tax-free money to pay for medical expenses forfeit to their employers anything left in that account at the end of the year (Bunis, 7/22). 

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