KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: November 23, 2010

Today's headlines offer details regarding the new medical loss ratio regulations announced yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Insuring Your Health: Retirees Can Find Insuring Young Adult Children Difficult
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the key is whether the retiree health plan is made up only of retirees and their dependents or a mix of both active and retired employees and dependents. If it's a retiree-only group plan – the typical setup, according to experts -- then it doesn't have to abide by the market provisions of the health law (Kaiser Health News).

Health On The Hill - November 22, 2010
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Julie Appleby talk with KFF's Jackie Judd about recent health policy developments, including the newly released Health and Human Services regulations dealing with the medical loss ratio and the status in Congress of the one-month patch to prevent physicians who see Medicare patients from having their payments reduced (Kaiser Health News). Read the transcript.

New Rules Tell Insurers: Spend More On Care
The Obama administration issued new federal rules on Monday that will require many health insurance companies to spend more on medical care and allocate less to profits, executive compensation, marketing and overhead expenses (The New York Times).

Obama Administration Spells Out Health Care Law's 'Medical Loss Ratio' Rule
The Obama administration issued rules on Monday defining a promise to consumers in the new federal health-care law that insurers will spend at least $4 out of $5 they collect in premiums on medical services and other efforts to improve patients' health (The Washington Post).

Health Plans Must Spend Premiums On Medical Care
Health insurance premiums should go for actual medical care - not insurers' overhead and profits - the Obama administration said Monday in rules that for the first time require the companies to give consumers a rebate (The Washington Post).

W.H. Outlines Insurer Spending Rules
The Obama administration on Monday outlined rules to restrict health insurers' spending beginning next year, a key provision of the health care overhaul that aims to improve value for consumers (Politico).

Rules Eased For Some Health Insurers
Amid pressure from employers, the Obama administration on Monday loosened rules for bare-bones health-insurance policies. It marks one of the administration's biggest steps to peel back regulations that big business found onerous under the health- care overhaul (The Wall Street Journal).

Deficit-Panel Chiefs Draw Resistance To Health Spending Proposals
The leaders of President Barack Obama's deficit-reduction commission have called for broader cuts in medical spending than contained in this year's health-care overhaul, stirring opposition among health-care companies, doctors and some consumer groups (The Wall Street Journal).

Poll: Tea Party Support Grows: USA Divided
In a survey taken Friday through Sunday, 28% say Obama should have the most influence on government policy next year while 27% say the Tea Party standard-bearers should. GOP congressional leaders are chosen by 23%, Democratic congressional leaders by 16% (USA Today).

GOP's Gains Ready To Propel Social Issues Back Into National Spotlight
Liberal groups in Wisconsin are bracing for a fight over contraception coverage under Medicaid. Battle lines are being drawn over sex education in North Carolina. And conservatives in several states intend to try to limit the ability of private insurers to cover abortions (The Washington Post).

Lawsuits Bring In $3 Billion For U.S.
The Justice Department recouped $3 billion for the federal treasury in the most recent fiscal year from civil suits, most brought against companies alleged to have defrauded the government, the department said Monday (The Wall Street Journal).

Drug Makers' Payments Detailed
Massachusetts health officials published online yesterday the most comprehensive state database in the country listing payments drug companies and medical device makers have made to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, and other health care providers (The Boston Globe).

Wired Up At Home To Monitor Illnesses
As an aging population threatens to overwhelm the nation's hospitals and doctors, thousands of seriously ill patients are relying on computerized health trackers to help keep them safe at home (The New York Times).

Colorado's Medical-Pot Rules: ID, Video And A Vast Paper Trail
Colorado state regulators are putting the final touches on a fat stack of rules aimed at monitoring, recording and tracking every aspect of the booming medical-marijuana industry, from seed to sale (The Wall Street Journal).

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