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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Proposal To Allow Kansas Farm Bureau To Offer Health Coverage Met With Strong Criticism Over Quality Of Plans

KHN Morning Briefing

The Farm Bureau plans wouldn’t be required to cover people with preexisting conditions. While its coverage might work like health insurance, the measure, like the Iowa law enacted last year, declares that the coverage “shall not be considered insurance,” which would effectively exempt it from federal mandates and most state insurance regulations.

VA Official Who’s Commuting Expenses Are Drawing Scrutiny Has History Of Blasting Agency’s Wasteful Spending

KHN Morning Briefing

The Department of Veterans Affairs says that the expenses of Darin Selnick, a top adviser for the agency, are “standard for federal employees who travel periodically to implement their responsibilities.” But some veterans groups are less than pleased that Selnick, who has been a vocal critic of how the VA spends money, is being reimbursed for frequently commuting from California to Washington.

Democrats Want To Slap Consumer Warnings On Short-Term Health Plans–And Republicans May Actually Agree

KHN Morning Briefing

The short-term plans offer far less coverage than ones regulated under the Affordable Care Act. Although they have been subject to political bickering in the past, some Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans hinted that they might support consumer advisories for the coverage. The GOP lawmakers were less receptive to the other legislation aimed at shoring up the health law that was offered at the meeting–including a rule requiring the plans to disclose that they may not cover pre-existing conditions.

John Dingell Dies At 92: Long-Serving Congressman Remembered For Being A Tenacious Advocate For Health Care

KHN Morning Briefing

“He had a long tradition of introducing legislation on the first day of each new Congress to guarantee health care for every single American,” former President Barack Obama wrote of former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who died Thursday. “Because of him, we’ve come closer to that vision than ever before. And when we finally achieve it — and we will — we’ll all owe him our gratitude.”

Democrats Launch Mostly Symbolic Campaign To Roll Back Trump’s Changes To Health Law

KHN Morning Briefing

Democrats say they have a mandate from the voters to protect preexisting conditions coverage and other popular provisions in the health law. Their new measures to shore up the ACA, which are in direct response to the Trump administration’s efforts to chip away at it, would likely die in the Republican-controlled Senate. But the move lets Democrats create talking points for the 2020 elections.

Several State Officials Say They Lack The Authority, Capacity To Properly Regulate Marketing Of Short-Term Health Plans

KHN Morning Briefing

A major concern from state regulators is whether short-term plans are deceptively marketed to residents, a study finds. The plans offer fewer benefits than a plan sold on an ACA exchange and don’t cover pre-existing conditions, potentially leaving consumers with more out-of-pocket costs. Meanwhile, the Kansas Farm Bureau is petitioning lawmakers to essentially be given authority to develop and market health coverage free of state and federal oversight.

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Live From D.C.: A Look Ahead At Health Policy In 2019

KHN Original

Congress and President Donald Trump are starting to wrestle with health policy issues, and health is already a key debate point in the early run-up to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Might any major health policy legislation be passed and signed this year? Joanne Kenen of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Kimberly Leonard of The Washington Examiner, along with special guest Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute, join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and take questions from a live studio audience.

Health Law 2019 Sees Big Plunge Among New Enrollees In California While Overall Enrollment Holds

KHN Morning Briefing

The federal decision to drop the mandate might be why there was a greater-than-expected drop off, officials said. California is considering adding a state mandate. Other news on the health law looks at the decline of employer-based coverage, problems when searching for insurance online, a push for Congress to keep advocating for the health law and more.

New Covered California Sign-Ups Plummet

KHN Original

Even though the number of people renewing their Covered California health plans increased this year, new enrollment plunged by nearly a quarter compared with last year, posting a bigger drop than the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, which saw a 16 percent decrease. Officials largely blame the elimination of the federal tax penalty for people without insurance.

Partisan Fireworks On Display As Ways And Means Committee Holds Hearing On Preexisting Conditions

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they want to guarantee protections for people with preexisting conditions. Democrats called attention to the ways their Republican colleagues have chipped away at the health law — and thus those popular provisions — while GOP lawmakers countered that there are other ways to protect people. Many politicians see the issue as an important factor in the 2020 elections. In other news from Capitol Hill: surprise medical billing and Johnson&Johnson baby powder.