KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: April 13, 2010

Today's headlines highlight the Senate's procedural vote to extend COBRA subsidies, a ruling by a Massachusetts court rejecting a bid by health insurers to raise premiums and how some states are fretting over health insurance scams.

Health Bill Provision On Long-Term Care Will Affect Baby Boomers
Kaiser Health News' Peggy Girshman talks with National Council on Aging President and CEO Jim Firman about a specific part of the new health law -- one of the lesser-known provisions that may have one of the biggest and longest-lived impacts (Kaiser Health News).

COBRA Health Insurance Subsidies Waiting For Senate Action
Kaiser Health News staff writer Andrew Villegas writes: "People recently laid off are waiting -- once again -- to hear if they will be eligible to get subsidies to stay on their employer's health insurance. The subsidies are part of an extension of jobless benefits that the Senate is considering. Four Republicans voted with 56 Democrats Monday to take up the bill later this week" (Kaiser Health News).

Extension Of Jobless Benefits Clears GOP Roadblock
Democrats in the Senate won an initial skirmish Monday to restore unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of jobless people despite Republican criticism that it would add $9 billion to the nation's debt (The Associated Press).

Unemployment Package Clears Key Vote
Senate Democrats broke a Republican filibuster of unemployment benefits on Monday evening, voting 60-34 to end debate and move toward a final vote on a package of bills that also includes health benefits and flood insurance extensions (Politico).

Four GOP Sens Help Democrats Move Unemployment Benefits
Four Republican senators gave Democrats the critical support they needed late Monday to advance a bill extending unemployment benefits (The Hill).

Washington Memo: Baffled By Health Plan? So Are Some Lawmakers
It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way. And, perhaps fittingly if unintentionally, no one may be more affected than members of Congress themselves (The New York Times).

Boehner: Repealing Healthcare Law Republicans' 'No. 1 Priority' In 2010
Repealing healthcare reform will be Republicans' "No. 1 priority," their House leader said Monday (The Hill).

Could Health Overhaul Incentives Hurt Some?
The new health care law promises to extend coverage to millions of Americans and to cut costs by cultivating healthy habits and preventive care. But could its emphasis on wellness undermine one of its central achievements: putting an end to the practice of charging sick people more for health insurance? (The New York Times).

Healthcare Overhaul Won't Sop Premium Increases
Public outrage over double-digit rate hikes for health insurance may have helped push President Obama's healthcare overhaul across the finish line, but the new law does not give regulators the power to block similar increases in the future (Los Angeles Times).

Medical Schools Can't Keep Up
The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors (The Wall Street Journal).

Healthcare Reform 'Baton' Passes To States
Now that the U.S. healthcare reform plan is law, the federal government is turning to states to institute key components -- some of which have never existed before -- and do so in a tight timeframe (Reuters/The Washington Post).

States Fret Over Health Insurance Scams
Bogus health plans that advertise comprehensive coverage at bargain prices are on the rise, luring desperate consumers to pay for policies that won't cover their medical bills, state insurance commissioners say (USA Today).

Judge Blocks Insurers On Rates
A Suffolk Superior Court judge yesterday denied a request that would have let six Massachusetts health insurers go forward with double-digit rate hikes for tens of thousands of small businesses and individuals, setting up a protracted battle that could become a test of government's role in controlling health care costs (The Boston Globe).

Massachusetts: Setback For Health Insurers
Gov. Deval L. Patrick won the first round Monday in a legal dispute with health insurers over the state's recent rejection of rate increases requested by the companies (The New York Times).

Massachusetts Court Rejects Health Insurers' Bid To Raise Premiums
A Massachusetts court Monday ruled against health insurance providers seeking to raise their premiums 8 to 32 percent in a closely watched case (The Christian Science Monitor).

Ga. To Skip Premium Help Under New Law
Georgia's insurance commissioner will keep the state out of the first phase of a new federal health care law that would offer subsidized premiums to people with health problems (The Associated Press).

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