First Edition: August 14, 2013
Today's headlines include news about a report that provides some insights into who will qualify for the health law's insurance subsidies and how much those people might get.
Kaiser Health News: A Nevada Health Plan -- Without The Insurance
Capital Public Radio's Pauline Bartolone, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "Shelley Toreson had health insurance for years, but not anymore. Instead, she is part of an unusual Nevada nonprofit that helps connect 12,000 uninsured residents to doctors and hospitals who are willing to accept a lower-cost, negotiated fee for their services. 'The cost just kept going up and the coverage kept getting less,' says Toreson, 62, of her old insurance" (Bartolone, 8/14). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: How Much Of A Subsidy Will You Get In Obamacare? Here’s An Estimate
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Julie Appleby reports: "If you buy your own health insurance, you’ve no doubt heard that subsidies will be available next year to help pay the premiums. But will you get a subsidy and how much? Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation have a report out Wednesday that provides some insight" (Appleby, 8/14). Check out what else is on the blog.
NPR: Obama Delays Implementing Another Part Of Affordable Care Act
The Obama administration has delayed implementation of another part of Affordable Care Act — this time, it's the rules aimed at limiting out-of-pocket costs for patients (Varney, 8/14). This story was done in partnership with Kaiser Health News. In addition, KHN's Julie Appleby was featured on WBUR's Here and Now to discuss the delay (8/13).
Los Angeles Times: Federal Officials Delay Another Health-Law Provision For Employers
In another delay for the federal healthcare law, some employers will have until 2015 to comply with new limits on out-of-pocket medical spending for consumers. Federal regulators notified group health plans earlier this year that some would have an extra year to meet the new rules instead of January 2014 as originally proposed (Terhune, 8/13).
The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Delays Starting To Pile Up
Republicans opposed to the health-care overhaul have had scant luck in overturning or delaying the law, but corporate America has succeeded in persuading the Obama administration to temporarily postpone a growing number of its provisions. In February, the administration delayed part of a requirement that some employer health-insurance plans cap employees' out-of-pocket costs (Schatz, 8/13).
The Washington Post's Wonk Blog: Four Ways To Understand The Latest Obamacare Delay
There's a rule in Obamacare that limits out-of-pocket costs — including deductibles and co-payments — to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. Sounds simple enough. But when the Obama administration went to implement the rule, it found it wasn’t going to be that easy. Some insurers and employers lack the capacity to keep track of an individual’s out-of-pocket health costs. They often use different companies to administer medical benefits and pharmaceutical benefits — and those companies’ computer systems don't speak to each other. Implementing the rule would require upgrading those systems — and that takes time (Klein, 8/13).
The Washington Post: D.C. Groups Receive $6.4 Million To Help Uninsured Sign Up For Health Insurance
District officials awarded $6.4 million in grants Tuesday to community organizations to hire more than 150 trained experts to help uninsured residents learn about and enroll in health insurance this fall on the District's new insurance marketplace. The marketplace, known as DC Health Link, is the Web site where people can compare and shop for health insurance (Sun, 8/13).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Study: About Half Who Now Buy Their Own Health Insurance to Get Tax Credits Under Obama Law
About half the people who now buy their own health insurance — and potentially would face higher premiums next year under President Barack Obama's health care law — would qualify for federal tax credits to offset rate shock, according to a new private study. Many other people, however, earn too much money to be eligible for help, and could end up paying more (8/14).
The New York Times: To Judge Sleep Aids, U.S. Looks At Drowsy Driving In The Morning
The Food and Drug Administration is taking heightened interest in the issue, as new evidence suggests what many people have long suspected: the effects of common prescription sleep aids like Ambien can persist well into the next day. Of particular concern is whether people who take the drugs before bed can drive safely the next morning (Thomas, 8/13).
The New York Times: North Carolinians Fear the End of a Middle Way
But with Republicans controlling all branches of the state government for the first time in more than a century, the legislature pushed through a wide range of conservative change. The Republicans not only cut taxes and business regulations, as many had expected, but also allowed stricter regulations on abortion clinics, ended teacher tenure, blocked the expansion of Medicaid, cut unemployment benefits, removed obstacles to the death penalty, allowed concealed guns in bars and restaurants, and mandated the teaching of cursive writing (Robertson, 8/13).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: In North Carolina, Many Republicans Give Clear Message To Congressman: Keep Up The Opposition
Republican Patrick McHenry's loudest constituents have no desire to see conciliation on gridlocked Capitol Hill, unless it comes from President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats. As the congressman holds public question-and-answer sessions with constituents during Congress' summer break, conservatives and GOP loyalists who enjoy significant influence in his western North Carolina district are demanding that he and his House colleagues defund "Obamacare," refuse to raise the nation's debt limit and generally intensify opposition to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (8/13).
Los Angeles Times: Bills On Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists Advance In Assembly
Measures that would expand the roles of nurse practitioners and pharmacists advanced in the Assembly on Tuesday, setting the stage for a fierce lobbying battle in the session's final weeks. Both measures wade into the so-called scope of practice debate over what type of medical care can be administered by non-physicians, setting off a turf war between doctors and other medical providers (Mason, 8/13).
Los Angeles Times: Bill To Curb Prescription Overdose Deaths Gains In Assembly
A bill aimed at beefing up California's prescription drug monitoring system so that it can be better used to track drug abusing patients and recklessly prescribing physicians emerged from an Assembly committee Monday on a unanimous vote. The bill by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), which was backed by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, was approved 14 to 0 by members of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection. The bill is next scheduled for consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee (Glover, 8/13).
Los Angeles Times: L.A. County To Review Its Authority Over Contracts With Rehab Clinics
In response to a scathing report that found rampant fraud and a lack of government oversight of taxpayer-funded rehabilitation clinics in California, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to review its authority over such clinics and its ability to end payments to rehab operators who are breaking the law (Mehta, 8/13).
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