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KHN First Edition: December 16, 2015


First Edition

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: Despite Hopes Of Health Law Advocates, ‘Multi-State’ Health Plans Unavailable In Many States
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "A health law insurance program that was expected to boost consumer choice and competition on the marketplaces has slipped off course and is so far failing to meet expectations. Since just a few insurers, or sometimes just one, dominate the market for individuals and small businesses in some states, the law sought to increase competition in those areas by calling for “multi-state” health plans that would be offered by some insurers." (Andrews, 12/16)

Politico: Obamacare Deadline Pushed Back
The Obama administration announced Tuesday night it is extending a crucial deadline for securing health insurance coverage for 2016, citing "unprecedented" demand on, the federal enrollment website. (Pradhan, 12/15)

Politico: Ryan Unveils Budget Deal, Touts Benefits To GOP
House Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a massive tax and spending package Tuesday night, arguing that the GOP didn't win every fight, but they kept many of their policy preferences in place for the next 10 months. In a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans, Ryan touted a pause in Obamacare's "Cadillac tax," the lifting of a longstanding oil-export ban and preservation of several other policy preferences in the year-end deal. It will get a vote later this week. (Sherman, Bresnahan and French, 12/15)

The Washington Post: Congress Reaches Year-End Deal On Taxes And Spending
The sweeping agreement that came after weeks of bipartisan negotiations is the broadest tax and spending deal since the January 2013 “fiscal cliff” agreement, and both parties will be able to claim policy victories while bemoaning what also made it in or was left out. (Snell and DeBonis, 12/15)

Wall Street Journal: Tax Bill Would Revive Dozens of Credits
U.S. lawmakers unveiled a tax-cut package late Tuesday night that would revive dozens of expired breaks and lock many of them into law permanently. ... The so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance would start in 2020 instead of 2018, providing a win for labor unions and large companies that have been fighting it. That measure is attached to the spending bill. A tax on health insurance may also get suspended. (Rubin, 12/16)

Wall Street Journal: Obamacare Supporters Make Case For Big Changes
Some of the biggest boosters of the 2010 Affordable Care Act are calling for the law to be significantly expanded — or risk irrelevance. “The ACA undertook from the beginning an ambitious reform agenda, but some of its approaches have turned out to be ineffective, poorly targeted, or not ambitious enough to address deeply rooted problems,” write Tim Jost and Harold Pollack in a report published Tuesday. (Radnofsky, 12/15)

The Associated Press: Cummings Again Seeks Docs In Valeant Pricing, Business Probe
The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is turning up the heat on beleaguered Valeant Pharmaceuticals, as the committee continues investigating soaring drug prices. Cummings is now sending Valeant’s CEO a letter asking for the witnesses and documents by Jan. 8, ahead of a committee hearing. (12/16)

The Associated Press: Valeant In New Distribution Deal With Walgreens
Valeant Pharmaceuticals regained some credibility with upset investors thanks to its announcement Tuesday of a new distribution deal with Walgreens and plans to line up more pharmacies to sell its products after a scandal forced it to cut ties with a key distributor, Philidor. (Johnson and Murphy, 12/15)

NPR: Hepatitis Drug Among The Most Costly For Medicaid
A drug that can cure hepatitis C was one of the top pharmaceutical costs in most states' Medicaid budgets in 2014. All told, 33 states spent more than $1 billion to treat the disease with Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi. (Kodjak, 12/15)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2014 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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