Some medicines, particularly intravenous treatments, are not listed in plans’ pharmacy benefit section and, therefore, it’s difficult to confirm coverage specifics. (Julie Appleby, 12/21)
Stricter oversight is required to ensure employers comply with labor standards, says worker advocacy group. (Anna Gorman, 12/21)
Twenty new schools opened in the past decade; but some doubt whether so many new doctors are needed. (Julie Rovner, 12/18)
The group ColoradoCareYES gathered enough signatures — more than 100,000 — to put a single-payer health system on the ballot next fall. But the price tag is a worry to some. (John Daley, Colorado Public Radio, 12/21)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Cross Paths'" by Roy Delgado.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
Kaiser Permanente To Open Medical School In Southern California
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
The administration says about 2.4 million of those are new customers who signed up in time to get coverage starting Jan. 1. Enrollment numbers from states running their own marketplaces are still to come.
The Washington Post: HealthCare.gov Enrollment Surges To Nearly 6 Million So Far
Nearly 6 million Americans so far have enrolled in insurance for 2016 through HealthCare.gov, President Obama announced on Friday, touting a big increase over last year that he said shows the Affordable Care Act is succeeding. (Goldstein, 12/18)
The Wall Street Journal: Federal Health-Insurance Exchanges See Nearly Six Million Apply For 2016 Coverage
Analysts had been concerned that higher premiums and deductibles might scare off new enrollees. But, according to the administration, 2.4 million of the roughly six million people who signed up as of Dec. 17 were new customers. Administration officials said that is about a third more than had signed up last year ahead of the deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1. (Armour, 12/18)
USA Today: Last-Minute Rush Boosts Obamacare Signups, Thanks To New Consumers
While retaining consumers is important, administration officials need to attract uninsured consumers to meet and hopefully exceed the modest goal they set of 10 million people insured on the exchanges at the end of 2016. (O'Donnell, 12/18)
Los Angeles Times: Big Surge In Enrollment Lifts Obamacare Marketplaces
Hundreds of thousands of additional consumers have selected plans through marketplaces operated by the remaining states, including California, New York, Connecticut and Maryland. The strong demand for Obamacare coverage in the law’s third enrollment period may further solidify the markets, which are still evolving as insurance companies and consumers continue to adapt to the new healthcare environment. (Levey, 12/18)
Although Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposal hasn't faced vocal opposition yet, that doesn't mean the path is clear to impose new restrictions on the Medicaid expansion program known as the private option. And pressure is building in Republican states to expand Medicaid.
Arkansas News: Fights Over Medicaid Expected In 2016
Gov. Asa Hutchinson encountered no vocal opposition last week when he outlined to a legislative task force his plan for a modified version of Medicaid expansion and his goal of cutting $835 million in costs from the traditional Medicaid program over five years — but that doesn’t mean fights aren’t coming. ... Hutchinson wants to impose new restrictions on the Medicaid expansion program known as the private option .... To get the changes approved, Hutchinson will need to obtain federal waivers and — perhaps a bigger hurdle — win over both supporters and opponents of the current program. “Some of these things sound great, but administratively the costs to them outweigh any benefit that you get from them,” said Sen. Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, a member of the task force and a supporter of the private option. (Lyon, 12/20)
Forbes: GOP States Pressured To Expand Medicaid Under Obamacare
Pressure is building on some of the remaining 20 states that have yet to take advantage of federal dollars available to expand Medicaid programs for poor Americans under the Affordable Care Act. ... A snapshot of the pressure on the 20 states still opposed to Medicaid expansion can be seen this month in Kansas where GOP lawmakers and Republican Governor Sam Brownback have faced an onslaught of lobbying from hospitals in the state, advocates for the uninsured, media and Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas’ former Democratic governor and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in President Obama’s first term. (Japsen, 12/20)
At Saturday night's event, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over the health law, premiums, a single-payer system and painkiller addiction.
The Washington Post: At The Democratic Debate, Only Clinton Promises No Middle Class Tax Increases
Hillary Clinton was the only one of the three Democrats on stage Saturday night willing to pledge that she wouldn’t raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year. ... Her chief rival Bernie Sanders said he wants to move to a “Medicare for all” health-care system under which taxes would increase for many middle-class Americans. But Sanders argued the overall cost of care would go down for most people by “thousands of dollars” because they would no longer pay premiums or co-pays. (Wagner, 12/19)
The Associated Press: FACT CHECK: Clinton's Video Claim Doesn't Hold Up
In the Democratic debate on Saturday presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talk about rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for the privately insured after enactment of Obama's health care law and single-payer health care systems. (12/20)
USA Today: Analysis: Democratic Candidates Did What They Came To Do At Third Debate
The Democratic debate ranged from the battle against ISIS to the debate over health care and the Black Lives Matter movement. At the end of the evening, each of the three candidates may have achieved what they had hoped to do when they arrived. (Page, 12/20)
CNN: Obamacare Glitches Are Back
Two years ago, the Obama administration called the near-total, initial meltdown of the Obamacare federal exchange a technical "glitch." The term was widely ridiculed at the time, especially since it took weeks to fix the exchange's website, healthcare.gov. At Saturday night's Democratic debate, front-runner Hillary Clinton called soaring health care costs and deductibles "glitches" resulting from the Affordable Care Act. (Luhby, 12/20)
STAT: Democrats Pledge To Tackle Opioid Addiction, Heroin Epidemic At Debate
At the third Democratic debate on Saturday, all three presidential candidates called for smarter prescribing of painkillers as a way to combat a growing opioid and heroin epidemic in the United States. (Joseph, 12/19)
The funding bill highlights a lesson health law opponents have learned: that delays and suspensions work better than a frontal attack on the Affordable Care Act. But President Barack Obama is eyeing coverage expansion in the new year.
Los Angeles Times: President Obama Signs Massive Year-End Tax Cut And Spending Package
Congress gave final approval Friday to one of the most ambitious legislative packages in years — a $1.1-trillion funding bill, up to $680 billion in tax breaks and dozens of other substantial policy initiatives. The measure, which averts another shutdown and keeps the federal government running through September, was sent to President Obama, who signed it into law. (Mascaro, 12/18)
The Associated Press: In Budget Deal, Health Law Foes Took A Different Path
Republican foes of President Barack Obama's health care law may be able to get more by chipping away at it than trying to take the whole thing down at once. That's one lesson of the budget deal passed by Congress and signed by the president last week. (12/21)