Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Accountable Care Organizations, Explained

This model of care is one of the ways created by the Affordable Care Act to reduce health care costs while improving quality of care. You can also watch the accompanying video that explains ACOs. (Jenny Gold, 9/14)

5. Political Cartoon: 'The Pardon State'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'The Pardon State'" by J.C. Duffy.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Are they saving cash?
That's one of many questions.
Looking for answers?

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Health Law Issues And Implementation

6. More Immigrants Losing Coverage Because Of Change In Health Law Procedures

More than 400,000 had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year, The Associated Press reports. Also, a look at the "Cadillac tax" that takes effect in 2018 on generous employer-provided plans, and an examination of the health law's accountable care organizations, which were designed to save Medicare money but haven't done that yet.

The Associated Press: Big Jump In Number Of Immigrants Losing Health Law Coverage
A change in government procedures has led to a big jump in people losing coverage under the Obama health care law because of immigration and citizenship issues. More than 400,000 had their insurance canceled, nearly four times as many as last year. The Obama administration says it is following the letter of the law, and this year that means a shorter time frame for resolving immigration and citizenship issues. But advocates say the administration's system for verifying eligibility is seriously flawed, and consumers who are legally entitled to benefits are paying the price. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/12)

The Columbus Post-Dispatch: Excise Tax On ‘Cadillac’ Plans Pegged At $3B
Don’t be surprised if you feel a pinch during open enrollment this fall, especially if you’re generally pleased with the generosity of your employer’s health benefits. A looming federal excise tax might be partly to blame. In 2018, the so-called Cadillac tax will take effect and is expected to cost U.S. employers about $3 billion, according to a report last month by the Congressional Research Service. That amount is expected to continue to grow in subsequent years. (Sutherly, 9/14)

Meanwhile, on the subject of Medicaid expansion -

The Associated Press: Utah Doctor Group Opposed To Helping Pay For Medicaid Plan
A Utah doctors' group has come out against a proposal from state officials to tax physicians and others to defray the cost of expanding Medicaid. Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber said physicians get paid less when they see patients covered by Medicaid and doctors shouldn't be required to help pay the $78 million annual cost of growing the government program. (Price, 9/11)

Capitol Hill Watch

7. GOP Leaders' Hope To Avoid A Gov't Shutdown Is Caught Up In Planned Parenthood Funding

Conservative lawmakers are challenging GOP leaders' intent to pass a temporary budget bill without conditions, such as blocking federal funds for Planned Parenthood. Much is at stake -- both in terms of politics and policies.

The Associated Press: GOP Leaders' Complex Fight To Avoid Federal Shutdown
No government shutdown this year, Republican congressional leaders say. But with Congress, it's never easy. A band of conservatives say they won't back legislation financing government agencies unless the bill blocks federal payments to Planned Parenthood. A partial shutdown will occur Oct. 1 unless lawmakers provide money to keep government functioning. With time running out, GOP leaders haven't said how they will handle conservatives' demands while also rounding up enough votes to prevent a shutdown. (Fram and Taylor, 9/13)

Fox News: Congress Now Turns To Spending Bill To Keep Government Open, Avoiding Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood
With the Iran nuclear deal debate essentially over, Congress now turns to several other pressing issues, particularly agreeing on a temporary spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1. Leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to avoid an unpopular government shutdown. But the party’s most conservative caucus could still create problems, especially if members attempt to link the spending bill to de-funding Planned Parenthood. (9/13)

The Hill: House To Vote On Defunding Planned Parenthood Next Week
The House will vote next week on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood for one year while Congress conducts an investigation into controversial undercover videos regarding the organization's use of fetal tissue donations. Next week's vote comes as the clock is ticking for Congress to find a way to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. Many conservatives want to block any government spending on Planned Parenthood, which other Republicans worry could spark another disastrous shutdown, such as 2013's over the healthcare law. (Marcos, 9/11)

The Denver Post: How The Planned Parenthood Budget Fight Imperils Aurora VA Hospital Funding
Very little has come easy to the VA hospital project in Aurora, and that pattern is threatening to repeat itself later this month when agency officials attempt to get $625 million more for the over-budget facility. The added $625 million in federal dollars is crucial for the unfinished veterans hospital. ... For now, there is a general agreement between Congress and the administration on how to drum up money for the hospital. But an unrelated fight over abortion, government spending and Planned Parenthood could complicate the effort. (Matthews, 9/12)

Politico: McConnell: Planned Parenthood Funding Protest 'Exercise In Futility'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Friday he will back a plan to fund the government into December with no conditions, rejecting in his strongest terms yet calls from within his party to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a larger budget bill. “It’s an exercise in futility," the Kentucky Republican said of a strategy that would likely provoke a government shutdown. "I’m anxious to defund Planned Parenthood" but "the honest answer of that is that’s not going to happen until you have a president who has a similar view." (Everett and Bresnahan, 9/11)

Bloomberg: McConnell Opposes Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood, Aide Says
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell embraces the fight to defund Planned Parenthood though he thinks it can't be won by threatening to shut down the U.S. government, a spokesman said Friday. "It won't solve the problem," said the spokesman, Don Stewart, of McConnell's view. That suggests that the Kentucky Republican will push to keep a proposal to defund Planned Parenthood out of a government funding bill. For now, Stewart said McConnell will wait to see what's in a spending bill that comes from the House. (House, 9/11)

Politico: McConnell's Fall Mandate: Keep Calm, Avert Catastrophe
McConnell appears to have sufficient support to beat back against [Sen. Ted] Cruz’s plans to force a government shutdown showdown over Planned Parenthood funding, no matter what insults the Texan hurls. ... But as [House Speaker John] Boehner grapples with his own job security amid constant threats from the right, McConnell can at least focus on a few discrete policy targets without having to worry about a coup. He wants to force Democrats to again express support for the Iran nuclear agreement, and to vote against a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks. ... This is not what the conservative base wants to hear. Led by Cruz, the House Freedom Caucus and conservative media figures like Mark Levin and Erick Erickson, the party’s right flank is agitating for a major showdown over funding Planned Parenthood. (Everett and Bresnahan,9/14)

The Wall Street Journal: John Boehner And His Patience Are Tested Anew By GOP Lawmakers
The latest revolt to Mr. Boehner’s leadership began in late July when Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) submitted a measure aimed at pushing the speaker out of his post and enumerating a long list of grievances. Conservatives said they are watching to see how GOP leaders fare during September battles over Planned Parenthood and government funding levels to decide if they will attempt again to hold a floor vote on the measure. ... Mr. Boehner will have a harder time this month reaching a compromise with the 31 Republicans who have said they won’t vote for any spending bills that retain funding for Planned Parenthood after videos showed officials with the group discussing fees for procuring fetal tissue for medical researchers. This week the House will vote on a bill freezing all federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year, while congressional investigations of the videos continue. (son and Hughes, 9/13)