Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Federal Judge Rules ‘Undeniable’ Benefits Of Expanding Short-Term Plans Outweigh ‘Minimal’ Negative Impact

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The Trump administration issued a regulation last year allowing short-term health care plans to last up to 12 months instead of three. The plans don’t have to adhere to the health law’s strict regulations, so critics blast them as being “junk insurance.” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, however, ruled that the plans aims to “minimize the harm and expense” for individuals who might otherwise decide not to purchase insurance because of high premiums.

Democrats’ Fault Lines Over Health Care Reveal Deeper Philosophical Differences That Go Beyond One Issue

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Health care is one of the dividing issues for the crowded 2020 Democratic field, but the candidates’ stances on the issue underscore how different their philosophies can be. Meanwhile, those candidates who support “Medicare for All” are still grappling with the issue of how to pay for it. And The New York Times fact checks President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the Democrats’ plans.

‘If You Like Your Plan … You Can Keep It’: Biden’s Blast-From-The-Past Promise Highlights Pros, Pitfalls Of His Health Strategy

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Former Vice President Joe Biden made a similar vow to voters at an AARP/Des Moines Register forum that then-President Barack Obama made as he was touting the health law. The echo from years past highlights Biden’s strategy of building upon the system already in place that has only grown in popularity in recent years. But it could put him out of step with the mood of the party. “Politically, Biden is trapped by his old job,” said Scott Jennings, an appointee in former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Affordable Care Act 2.0: Biden Unveils Plan To Expand Health Law, Sharpening Dividing Line Between Candidates

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Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled out his health plan Monday morning following a weekend of trading jabs over “Medicare for All” with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Biden’s plan would include the creation of a public option as well as the elimination of the existing cap on health care tax credits to make coverage more affordable. The proposal solidifies Biden’s stance as one the health law’s biggest defenders in a race where health care has become a dividing topic between the candidates.

Millions Of Immigrants Brace For ICE Raids This Weekend: ‘There Is A Lot Of Panic And A Lot Of Fear’

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Advocates say they are getting calls from immigrants who don’t want to leave their house even to go to the doctor with a sick child. “We keep getting calls and messages from folks, saying, ‘We’re scared. What should we do?'” said Melissa Taveras, a spokeswoman for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. Those mass arrests are expected to begin Sunday in nearly a dozen metro areas. The raids were initially delayed after disagreements within the Trump administration.

Judges’ Blunt Questions Hint At Skepticism Over Health Law: ‘If You No Longer Have The Tax, Why Isn’t It Unconstitutional?’

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During closely watched oral arguments over the constitutionality of the health law, a federal appeals court voiced skepticism that a central feature of the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, though it appeared to struggle with whether that meant the legislation should be struck down in its entirety. Media outlets take readers inside the courtroom for the play-by-play. Meanwhile, what will happen if the law is struck down? The potential headaches go beyond the big headlines about loss of coverage to calorie information on menus, lactation rooms, and more.

New Hampshire Pumps Brakes On Medicaid Work Requirements After 17,000 Found To Be Non-Compliant In First Month

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Gov. Chris Sununu is delaying the penalties tied into the legislation for 120 days as the state continues its outreach efforts to make people aware of the requirements. “Making sure we get this right is just absolutely paramount,” said Sununu. “So the idea of giving ourselves another 120 days to move forward on this and get the implementation where we need it to be, it’s not just fair to the system, but it’s fair to those individuals.” New Hampshire is just the latest state to struggle with the implementation of the work requirements.

If United States Provided Health Care To Undocumented Immigrants It Would Be An Outlier Even Among Progressive Countries

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Countries with government-run, universal health care often still place tough restrictions on providing that care for immigrants in the country illegally. Yet the idea is a popular one among the 2020 Democratic candidates. The New York Times looks at what would be involved in implementing the policy. In other news from the campaign trail: former Vice President Joe Biden promises to bring back the individual mandate if he’s elected, the complexities of “Medicare for All” continue to divide candidates and more.

Payment Negotiations Over Iowa’s Medicaid Program Grind Into Start Of Fiscal Year

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The negotiations revolve around how much Iowa will pay national insurance companies to run its Medicaid program. Officials decline to estimate how much more money the state will have to spend on the program, but said any increase would include money for initiatives legislators approved, such as higher reimbursement rates for nursing homes that care for Iowa Medicaid members. News on Medicaid comes out of Florida, Kansas and Illinois, as well.

‘Medicare For All’ Might Be Hot Buzz Phrase These Days, But On Debate Stage Most Candidates Equivocate

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On the second night of the 2020 Democratic debates only Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) raised their hands when asked if they would get rid of private insurance in favor of “Medicare for All.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she supported Sanders’ plan, but added the stipulation that there would need to be a transition period built in. Others on stage, including former Vice President Joe Biden, championed universal care, but wouldn’t abolish the private insurance industry to get there.

In Ominous Sign For Health Law, Appellate Court Questions Whether House, Democratic AGs Have Right To Defend It

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The surprising request from one of the most conservative circuit courts in the country suggests that the judges who will hear the case over the health law’s constitutionality could toss out the appeal on procedural grounds. In that scenario, the lower court ruling overturning the law would stand. Legal experts have long-thought that the case would fail eventually and that the health law would prevail, but this move calls into doubt that prediction.

Warren Embraces ‘Medicare For All’ But Plan Gets The Cold Shoulder From Most Candidates At First Night Of Debates

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was quick to defend “Medicare for All” and attack the insurance industry, saying that the other Democratic presidential candidates who argue it is impossible are just not willing to fight for it. Some of the more centrist candidates, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, pushed back on Warren’s stance. “I think we should be the party that keeps what’s working and fixes what’s broken,” Delaney said.

The Same Hospitals That Enjoy Tax-Exempt Status Hound Low-Income Patients With Aggressive Collection Efforts

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A new study finds that while not every hospital sues over unpaid bills, a few sue a lot. “Hospitals were built — mostly by churches — to be a safe haven for people regardless of one’s race, creed or ability to pay. Hospitals have a nonprofit status — most of them — for a reason,” says Martin Makary, one of the JAMA study’s authors and a surgeon and researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “They’re supposed to be community institutions.”

Health Care Likely To Be A Source Of Tension As 2020 Democratic Candidates Take The Stage For Debates

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2020 Democratic candidates will take the stage in Miami over two nights in a political extravaganza that marks a new phase in the sprawling campaign to take on President Donald Trump. Health care has emerged as one of the dividing issues between the candidates, so it will likely make an appearance over the course of the debates. Meanwhile, a new poll shows that Trump is vulnerable in battleground states when it comes to health care.

As 2020 Candidates Go Big And Bold On Health Ideas, Voters Say They Just Want Someone To Bring Costs Down

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Many of the candidates are pushing “Medicare for All” or some variation of expanded government-supported health care. While many voters see the plans as aspirational, for now, they simply want to pay less for their health care. That disconnect between what politicians are preaching and what voters are worried about could be detrimental to Democrats, who polls show currently hold an advantage over Republicans when it comes to the issue of health care. Meanwhile, media organizations help you navigate the candidates’ stances on health.

Medicaid Work Mandate In Arkansas Didn’t Boost Employment And Left Thousands Dropped From Insurance

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A new study may undercut one of the Trump administration’s key arguments that work requirements would cut unemployment rates. “It should certainly be a warning sign that there’s potential for large coverage losses, potential for significant confusion,” said Benjamin Sommers, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and the study’s lead author. Arkansas’s results are closely watched as other conservative states consider more restrictions to their Medicaid programs.