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From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

4. Political Cartoon: 'Let's Try That Again'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Let's Try That Again'" by J.C. Duffy.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


If you are older
Medicare is the best choice
For health coverage.

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law Issues And Implementation

5. The 27 Million People The Health Law Left Behind

A new analysis looks at why there are still millions of uninsured under the Affordable Care Act. In other news, the Obama administration says that steep rate increases don't actually reflect what customers can expect to pay next year, experts are pessimistic about progress that can be made in 2017 to fix the law, top lobbyists reject the idea of a public option and more.

Bloomberg: Why 27 Million Are Still Uninsured Under Obamacare
One key to stabilizing the law is drawing in more of those who are uninsured, particularly the younger, healthier ones. In fact, young people are the most likely to go uninsured, according to a detailed analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The analysis shows that those who lack insurance cut across age and income and vary from state to state. Taking a look at who these people are can give clues to how the health law is falling short, and what can be done to fix it. (Diamond, Tracer and Whiteaker, 10/19)

Morning Consult: Analysis: Less Than Half Of Uninsured Eligible For Federal Assistance
Less than half of the approximately 27 million uninsured people in the U.S. are eligible for federal financial assistance, an analysis released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows. Roughly 11.7 million, or 43 percent of that population, are not taking advantage of some sort of federal assistance to get health insurance that they are eligible for, according to the analysis. That assistant may be in the form of a subsidy to purchase a policy on the Affordable Care Act exchange or a Medicaid plan a consumer is eligible for but not signed up for. (McIntire, 10/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Rate Increases For Health Plans Pose Serious Test For Obama’s Signature Law
Finalized rates for big health insurance plans around the country show the magnitude of the challenge facing the Obama administration as it seeks to stabilize the insurance market under the Affordable Care Act in its remaining weeks in office. Market leaders that are continuing to sell coverage through or a state equivalent have been granted average premium increases of 30% or more in Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas, according to information published by state regulators and on a federal site designed to highlight rate increases of 10% or more. (Radnofsky, 10/18)

The Hill: ObamaCare Experts: Don't Expect Fixes In 2017 
Leading experts on healthcare policy say they’re not holding their breath for major fixes to ObamaCare in the next Congress.“ We shouldn’t hold down great expectations for significant change,” Robert Reischauer, one of two public trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, said Tuesday. “What we should probably do is tamp down the behavior that would make things worse,” he said, referring to six years of Republican attempts to undermine the law. (Ferris, 10/18)

The Hill: Top ObamaCare Lobbyists Reject 'Public Option' Push 
Longtime ObamaCare lobbyists are soundly rejecting one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent healthcare pitches: the public option. Leaders of the nation’s largest hospital, pharmaceutical and insurer trade groups said on Tuesday they wouldn’t support a Clinton administration’s push for a public option without first ensuring the Obamacare marketplaces work. (Ferris, 10/18)

Morning Consult: Top Health Care Lobbyists Push Back On Idea Of Public Option
The leaders of three of D.C.’s top health care advocacy groups suggested they’ll push hard against a public option at a Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday on the Affordable Care Act. Leaders of trade groups representing insurers, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry speaking together on a panel all rejected a public option, and said that officials should instead opt to strengthen the exchanges as they are. Democrats in recent months have pointed to creating a public option in at least some regions of the country that are experiencing a lack of competition on the Affordable Care Act markets. (McIntire, 10/18)

The Hill: Should ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Penalties, Subsidies Increase? 
Crafting the law’s subsidies to help individuals afford coverage was a potential key to its success. Coupled with the individual mandate to purchase coverage or pay a penalty, the decisions involved hand-wringing over the fee and subsidy structure that could strike just the right chord, yet remain economically feasible, and most importantly, passable by Congress. Six years later, the debate over ObamaCare hasn’t ceased. Critics say the law is fundamentally flawed and nothing short of repeal is needed. But for some policy wonks, the debate is more nuanced. They have analyzed what would make the law work better, and wonder if a higher individual mandate penalty or more generous subsidies would help drive more Americans into the exchanges. (Roubein, 10/18)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: 2015 Financial Results For Affordable Care Act Plans Mixed
Among six Pennsylvania health insurers with at least $50 million in revenue last year from the individual coverage sold under the Affordable Care Act, only two collected more in premiums than they paid in claims, according to Pennsylvania Insurance Department data released Monday. They were Independence Blue Cross and Aetna. The results illustrate the disarray in the ACA insurance markets, as insurers have struggled to accurately price insurance for a population that has proven to be a moving target. (Brubaker, 10/18)

The Fiscal Times: Open Enrollment Is Here: 5 Steps To Pick The Right Health Care Benefits 
It's open enrollment season again, when employers announce health benefit options for next year and provide an opportunity for employees to make changes to their plans. While choosing your health care benefits may not top your list of favorite activities -‑ nearly three quarters of employees say reading about benefits is long, complicated or stressful, according to a new report from Aflac -- it’s one of the most important financial decisions that you make. (Braverman, 10/19)

Campaign 2016

6. Speculation Starts To Build Around Clinton's Potential Choices For Top Health Jobs

Her choices for the administration positions will have their hands full immediately, if Hillary Clinton wins the White House. Meanwhile, experts criticize Donald Trump's plan to fight the opioid crisis, and the WikiLeaks hack could raise questions about Clinton's Medicare proposals.

Modern Healthcare: They're With Her? These Are Likely Picks For Health Posts In A Clinton White House 
If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency Nov. 8, she will quickly name people to top health policy positions who are diverse in gender, race, and ethnicity, have sharp political and administrative skills, and can work in a bipartisan way, Democratic political insiders say. Some names floated as likely contenders for HHS Secretary, CMS administrator and other posts include former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Neera Tanden, Chris Jennings, Ann O'Leary, Dr. Atul Gawande, and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. While some hope Sylvia Mathews Burwell will continue on as secretary, that's seen as unlikely. (Meyer, 10/18)

Reuters: How Trump, Clinton Would Fix The 'Crazy' U.S. Health System
When former President Bill Clinton called parts of Obamacare "crazy," he put his wife Hillary Clinton on the defensive and gave much-needed ammunition to her Republican rival for the presidency, Donald Trump, who wants to scrap it. ... Still, Clinton's comments may not have been so crazy. He put a spotlight on an uncomfortable truth: after six years, billions of dollars and a sweeping reform that stands as Obama's single biggest domestic policy achievement, health care is still unaffordable for many Americans. (Humer and Stephenson, 10/18)

Modern Healthcare: Trump's Plan For Fighting Drug Abuse Raises Fears Of A War On Drugs 2.0 
Public health experts say Donald Trump's plan to curb opioid addiction sounds like a throwback to the war on drugs that some say resulted in mass incarceration instead of treatment. The Republican presidential nominee unveiled several initiatives during a speech in New Hampshire, which has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Among the ideas is increasing mandatory minimum prison sentences for serious drug offenders. Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has instituted similar policies in his state. Experts say the idea has not worked there and instead has disproportionately incarcerated minorities. (Johnson, 10/18)

CNN: WikiLeaks Hack Brings Medicare And Social Security Debate To The Forefront
A closed-door speech to Morgan Stanley in 2013, revealed in hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks, could stoke new questions for Hillary Clinton Wednesday night about whether she truly believes in the fiscal sustainability of the promises she is making on the campaign trail. In the speech, Clinton referred to the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan as "the right framework," a stance that is seemingly at odds with her 2016 platform. Throughout the year, Clinton has been decidedly to the left of Simpson-Bowles, which called for a series of changes, including raising the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 69, cutting the growth of future benefits and considering a change in the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 if health care costs grow faster than expected. (Davis, 10/18)

In other 2016 election news from the states —

Los Angeles Times: Bucking His Detractors, The Controversial Leader Of An L.A. AIDS Nonprofit Sets His Sights On The National Political Stage
In a state as expensive as California, and during a political year as crowded as 2016, most organizations would struggle to sponsor just one ballot measure. Fighting on two fronts is often reserved for the most formidable in

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