KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Longer Looks: Obamacare Explained; The Dark Side Of Med School; Tattoos Removed

Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.

KQED/The California Report: Obamacare Explained: A Guide For Californians
Whether you love it, hate it or are just plain confused, the ACA is the law of the land. The thousand-page law covers a lot of ground and figuring out what part of it has to do with you can be a challenge. Don't panic. We're here for you. This guide explains how the health law affects you, your family or your small business, here in California. It's for people who already have insurance and people who don't — but want to get it. ... If you're concerned about the cost, we also show you what help is available (Lisa Aliferis, 6/3).

Association of Health Care Journalists: Revisit How High-Risk Insurance Pools Are Working In Your State
There are two basic kinds of high-risk pools – about 35 states have some form of high-risk pools that predate the Affordable Care Act, and all states have Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Pools created by the federal law. ... Some states administer these "PCIPs" themselves, and some let the federal government run them. "Red" states tended to hand it to the feds, "blue" states tended to run it themselves but there were enough exceptions in both directions to make this less political than the fight over the state-run health insurance exchanges going online in 2014 (Joanne Kenen, 6/4).

New York Magazine: Is Obamacare A War On Bros
The incessant drumbeat of predictions that the Affordable Care Act will wreak havoc upon the land is a long, frustrated quest to find sympathetic victims. There are, to be sure, clear losers from the new health-care law. Rich people have to pay higher taxes to fund its subsidies. Many doctors and hospitals will lose some of their income stream from the law tightening up unnecessary care. Yet neither the medical specialist nor the hospital executive nor the upper-income taxpayer quite offer the politically sympathetic face of the Everyman struggling under Obama's socialist boot conservatives are looking for. The search has instead come to focus on a new paradigmatic victim: the healthy, financially secure 25-year-old male (Jonathan Chait, 6/5).

Forbes: Rate Shock: In California, Obamacare To Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums By 64-146%
Last week, the state of California claimed that its version of Obamacare's health insurance exchange would actually reduce premiums. "These rates are way below the worst-case gloom-and-doom scenarios we have heard," boasted Peter Lee, executive director of the California exchange. But the data that Lee released tells a different story: Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent (Avik Roy, 5/30).

Forbes: Closing Racial And Ethnic Disparity Gaps: Implications Of The Affordable Care Act
For all intents and purposes, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the President's signature piece of legislation, will provide more health care coverage to poor and underserved populations. Persistently disadvantaged communities have much further to go than those with insurance, and new means of accessing and paying for care will benefit them disproportionately. Nevertheless, with more than 20 percent of the nation's Black population uninsured, more than 30 percent of Hispanics uninsured and a country still grappling with understanding and properly addressing disparities, just how far does the ACA take us (Nicole Fisher, 5/28)?

The New York Times Magazine: Deeda Blair's Elegance Of Conviction
Whether she's tackling the complexities of science or style, the medical philanthropist, fashion icon and social mover Deeda Blair approaches all facets of life with quiet but unwavering discipline. Most scientists are astonished by Deeda Blair's style, and the style mavens are surprised by her scientific expertise. That is obvious to even the most casual observer of her life. If one penetrates those disparate worlds, however, one soon finds that neurobiologists credit her with helping them think through difficult questions, and that fashionistas must employ metaphors from 18th-century France to describe the impeccable way she dresses and entertains (Andrew Solomon, 5/31).

Slate: The Darkest Year Of Medical School
Next month, your future doctor will take the first steps into clinical medicine. I am not talking about the first day of internship (though that also happens on July 1), but the monumental transition that medical students make at the halfway point of medical school from the classroom years to the clinical years. … However, there is a darker side of this transition to clinical medicine. Many of the qualities that students entered medical school with—altruism, empathy, generosity of spirit, love of learning, high ethical standards—are eroded by the end of medical training (Danielle Ofri, 6/4).

The Boston Globe: Nondoctors Enter World Of Tattoo Removal
Rob Harris is an avid rock climber and "gym rat" at a climbing wall in Everett. It's a place with a lot of young people, a lot of strong people — and "a lot of skin showing," he said. And a lot of tattoos, which puzzled him. "I'd see them on wrists and necks, and places where it seemed people would regret it," said Harris, 42. So last fall when he was laid off, he knew what his next career move would be: He'd remove tattoos. … Harris joins a growing number of entrepreneurs who are starting businesses specializing in laser tattoo removal, a procedure that was once the exclusive domain of physicians. As more practitioners do it, and as the technology evolves, tattoos no longer seem to be forever (Linda Matchan, 5/31).

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