KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Questions Linger About 9 Million People Said To Get Insurance Through Health Law

In his State of the Union address, the president touted successes in signing people up for private insurance or Medicaid. But critics say that the number is lower than expected, and no one yet knows how many of them were previously uninsured.

Marketplace: State Of The Union: Fact Checking Obama On The ACA
"More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage," President Obama said during last night's State of the Union address. In a speech that touched on income inequality, wages, jobs, and the U.S. middle class, Obama touted his signature domestic policy achievement. But is that 9 million figure accurate? (Gorenstein, 1/29).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Parsing The President's 9 Million Enrollees
That total is important to supporters as a sign that the law is working — and as an indication of the difficulties Republicans would face to rescind the law or roll back certain provisions. Critics have pointed out that 9 million isn't a huge number — and that some of those people, perhaps even many of them, were previously insured (Appleby, 1/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Travels To Promote State-Of-The-Union Message
Republicans, who complain Mr. Obama is going too far by carrying out some of his ideas through executive order instead of legislation, offered no signs Tuesday night of embracing the president's economic agenda. Many are still intent on criticizing the health law, which so far has made six million people eligible for Medicaid and prompted the enrollment of three million people through private-insurance plans and given the GOP something to rally against. "He doesn't recognize that he is actually part of the problem in terms of incredibly slow economic growth," Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), the House GOP deputy whip, told a Chicago radio station on Wednesday (Lee and Nicholas, 1/29).

The Washington Post: Affordable Care Act 'Success Story' At State Of The Union Needed Extra Help To Sign Up
A few weeks ago, Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) invited a guest to President Obama's State of the Union address: Lorita Katherine Waltz, a 49-year-old nurse from Prince George's County who the congresswoman considers an Affordable Care Act "success story." But Waltz's family did not become enrolled in a new insurance plan until Tuesday — the day of the president's address — after weeks of trying and only with help from state leaders (Johnson, 1/29).

The Fiscal Times: Editing Obamacare: The GOP Tries a Different Tack
President Obama lashed out at Republicans in his State of the Union address Tuesday night for continuing to wage war on his health care law instead of offering solutions to fix it. "Let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans," the president said. "The first forty were plenty.  We got it." That statement may be one of the rare areas where the GOP is actually starting to agree with the president. Earlier this week, three Senate Republicans unveiled the GOPs first-ever real proposal to replace Obamacare (Ehley, 1/30). 

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