Daily Health Policy Report

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Last updated: Tue, Jun 18

KHN Original Reporting & Guest Opinion

Health Reform

Capitol Hill Watch

Health Care Marketplace

State Watch

Editorials and Opinions

KHN Original Reporting & Guest Opinion

Insuring Your Health: Finding Answers About Health Coverage

In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "About half of Americans say they don't know how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. Four in 10 think it has been repealed or overturned, or they are unsure where it stands. So chances are good that when the major provisions kick in next year, including online health insurance marketplaces and new standards for health plan costs and coverage, people are going to have questions. Lots of questions. When they do, the biggest one of all may be where to turn for answers" (Andrews, 6/18). Read the column.

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Capsules: Facebook Raises The Status Of Organ Donation, Study Shows; Feds Seek Broad Payment Options For Exchanges

Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Ankita Rao reports on a study tracking how Facebook raised the status of organ donation: "In May 2012, Facebook introduced an option that lets users add 'Organ Donor" to their profiles. … It also provided users a quick link to sign up for the national registry of organ, eye and tissue donors through Donate Life. … The results, as chronicled in a report released on Tuesday, were immediate. On the first day alone, more than 57,000 people added the label to their profiles, and 13,054 people registered to be donors online. A year later, 30,818 people had registered to be donors, about five times more than pre-Facebook rates" (Rao, 6/18).

Also on Capsules, Sarah Varney reports on feds' ideas about payment options for Obamacare customers: "Federal health officials have proposed that all health plans selling insurance on the new online marketplaces must allow for easy payment options for households without bank accounts or credit cards. The government's decision to mandate a menu of payment options including cashier's checks, money orders and re-loadable pre-paid debit cards comes amid increasing pressure from consumer advocates and business groups that are concerned low-income working families would be required to purchase health coverage under the Affordable Care Act but would have no way to pay their monthly bill (Varney, 6/18). Check out what else is on the blog.

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Political Cartoon: 'Patently Absurd?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Patently Absurd?" by Mike Peters.

Meanwhile, here is today's health policy haiku:

YEAH, I'M THE TAXMAN 

Hospital Income
For profit v. non-profit
Send in the tax man?
- Paul Hughes-Cromwick

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please send it to us at http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/ContactUs.aspx and let us know if you want to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

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Health Reform

Grassroots Tactics Being Used In Health Law's Roll-Out

An outside group backing the health law plans to air a series of ads this summer supporting the measure. The first ad, part of a million-dollar buy, touts parts of the law that are already in place.

Politico: Launching The Obamacare Campaign
President Barack Obama brought a campaigner's mindset to the White House — but the roll-out of Obamacare marks the first time he's adapted his campaign's groundbreaking grassroots tactics to the task of turning policy into reality. A trio of Obama's most experienced campaign operatives — one in the West Wing, two others in outside groups closely allied with Obama — are overseeing an effort to ensure that the Affordable Care Act, the president's biggest legacy project, doesn't turn into the failure the GOP predicts it will be (Thrush and Nather, 6/18).

The Associated Press: Pro-Obama Group Airing Health Ads
The organization's first ad touts benefits for consumers, including preventive care, average rebate checks of $150 last year and tax credits for small businesses to pay for part of their workers' coverage (Thomas, 6/17).

Politico: OFA To Launch Obamacare Campaign
"The truth is, Americans are already seeing the benefits” of Obamacare, says a spot posted on YouTube, citing benefits including rebates from health insurance companies and tax credits for small businesses. "Better coverage and lower costs,” the spot continues. “That’s what Obamacare means for them.” Organizing for Action is the successor to the Obama campaign arm and the ad buy is set to take off on Monday (Glueck, 6/17).

The Wall Street Journal: 'Obamacare' Backers Ready Publicity Push
The coalition’s jobs site suggests that it’s focusing on Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. As we’ve explained, officials in those states have declined to run new insurance exchanges where people who don’t have coverage through an employer can pick a plan and apply for subsidies towards the cost of coverage, leaving the federal government running the outreach campaign on a shoestring. (Radnofsky, 6/17).

Modern Healthcare: Campaign Aims To Educate Uninsured About ACA Coverage Options
Led by former Obama administration official Anne Filipic, Enroll America is the not-for-profit group charged with coordinating efforts to help uninsured Americans learn about the healthcare insurance benefits available in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ... the group's executive board includes Chairman Ron Pollack, executive director of consumer advocacy group Families USA; Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association; and Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (Zigmond, 6/17).

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports on the continuing public confusion that surrounds the health law's benefits --  

Bloomberg: Obamacare Rollout Seen Slowed By Confusion Over Benefits
Judith Mayer Lynn, uninsured and battling breast cancer, should be a fan of the Affordable Care Act. Instead, she barely knows about it. The 56-year-old Nevada woman was unaware of subsidies in the law that will help people like her buy coverage in 2014, she said in an interview (Nussbaum and Wayne, 6/17).

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Medicaid Expansion: Second Thoughts And Changes Of Heart?

PBS NewsHour reports on some states with GOP governors who opposed the health law but want to pursue the Medicaid expansion. In one such state, Arizona, the Republican governor signed expansion legislation after a bruising fight with conservatives in the legislature. But, in Maine, the governor vetoed such a measure for the second time while news outlets offer updates from Virginia, Michigan and Ohio.

PBS NewsHour: Some States Have Second Thoughts About Refusing Medicaid Expansion (Video)
Republican governors from Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Arizona were originally opposed to the health care law, but are now pushing to expand Medicaid. Hari Sreenivasan talks with Ohio Public Radio bureau chief Karen Kasler and Mary K. Reinhart, reporter for The Arizona Republic, about what's behind the changes in their states (6/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Arizona Gov. Brewer Signs Medicaid Expansion Law After Bruising Fight With GOP Conservatives
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a law expanding the state's Medicaid program following her victory over conservatives in her own party opposed to embracing a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul (6/17).

Reuters: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Signs Medicaid Expansion
Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a law on Monday to expand Medicaid, embracing a key part of Democratic President Barack Obama's health care plan in a hard-won policy victory over conservatives in her own party. Brewer, a feisty opponent of the Obama administration over immigration enforcement, signed a bill that will make about 300,000 additional poor and disabled residents eligible for the Medicaid program, a move opposed by some conservative Republican lawmakers (Schwartz, 6/17).

Arizona Republic: Brewer Signs Into Law Arizona's Medicaid Program
Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday signed the largest expansion of Arizona's Medicaid program since its inception a generation ago, ending a fierce five-month legislative battle that drove a wedge through the Republican Party. The governor's signature, however, started the clock on a petition drive aimed at overturning the controversial law, with expansion opponents set to formally kick off their effort at a Capitol rally Saturday. Brewer, addressing dozens of lawmakers, hospital officials and other supporters in a packed Capitol conference room, called it a historic day (Reinhart, 6/18).

The Associated Press: Maine Gov Vetoes Medicaid Expansion For 2nd Time
Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Monday vetoed a bill to accept federal dollars to expand health care coverage to 70,000 more Mainers, saying he fears the state will ultimately bear the financial burden for the new enrollees. The Democratic-controlled Legislature last week approved a retooled proposal to expand Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul, cutting off the state's participation in the program off after three years in an effort to make it more appealing to Republicans (Durkin, 6/17).

Bangor Daily News: LePage Vetoes Medicaid Expansion, Says 'Maine Can Do Better'
Gov. Paul LePage on Monday vetoed legislation to expand Maine's Medicaid program, turning the focus back to majority Democrats to try and rally enough Republican votes to override it. In his veto message, LePage wrote Maine has expanded Medicaid before -- what he termed a "massive increase in welfare expansion" -- and it hasn't worked (Stone, 6/17).

Kennebec Journal: LePage Vetoes Bipartisan Medicaid Expansion Plan
Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a Medicaid-expansion bill late Monday, taking an expected step that's sure to increase tension with Maine's legislative session due to end this week.In a prepared statement, House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, called the veto "senseless," saying LePage "made it clear that he will do whatever it takes to deny and delay health care to tens of thousands of Mainers" (Shepherd, 6/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Va. Panel Established To Certify Medicaid Reforms And Approve Expansion Meets For First Time
How do you expand Medicaid under the federal health overhaul law without provoking the wrath of conservatives dead set against it under any circumstances? A Virginia panel attempting that high-wire act took its first good look at the daunting challenge of modernizing the federal-state program, making it more like a commercial service, simplifying it and cutting billions of dollars in the process Monday and learned from a noisy contingent of protesters that there's no way to please both sides (6/17).

The Detroit News: Medicaid Battle To Be Fierce In Senate
A controversial bill to expand Medicaid health care coverage to nearly a half-million more Michiganians moves to the Senate this week, where its chances for passage as of Monday remained a tossup. The bill would expand Medicaid to include adults who are currently excluded from the federal program for the poor. Medicaid generally only accepts adults who are pregnant, disabled or caring for children or a disabled person. The expanded program would include all adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line, or about $15,281 annually (Bouffard, 6/18).

Columbus Dispatch: State Covers Health Insurance For Many Foes Of Expanding Medicaid
While few would argue that legislators -- like all state employees -- shouldn't have health coverage, other lawmakers and advocates for the poor see at best a double standard and at worst hypocrisy in the opposition to expanding Medicaid by legislators who accept taxpayer-funded medical coverage for themselves and their families (Hallett, 6/18).

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Capitol Hill Watch

House GOP Plans Vote Today On Abortion Bill

The measure, which would ban abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, has drawn a White House veto threat. In other Capitol Hill news, health care issues continue to be part of the immigration reform debate and some lawmakers have asked for a review of federal grants and programs designed to assist the severely mentally ill.

The New York Times: G.O.P. Pushes New Abortion Limits To Appease Vocal Base
After Republicans lost the presidential election and seats in both the House and the Senate last year, many in the party offered a stern admonishment: If we want to broaden our appeal, steer clear of divisive social and cultural issues. Yet after the high-profile murder trial of an abortion doctor in Philadelphia this spring, many Republicans in Washington and in state capitals across the country seem eager to reopen the emotional fight over a woman's right to end a pregnancy. Their efforts will move to the forefront on Tuesday when House Republicans plan to bring to the floor a measure that would prohibit the procedure after 22 weeks of pregnancy — the most restrictive abortion bill to come to a vote in either chamber in a decade (Peters, 6/17).

The Hill: Obama Threatens To Veto GOP Abortion Ban
The White House threatened to veto a GOP ban on late-term abortions that is expected to pass the House on Tuesday. In a Statement of Administration Policy, President Obama said the bill from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) is an "assault on a woman's right to choose" (Viebeck, 6/17).

Roll Call: Health Care And Immigration: Uncomfortable Bedfellows
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was emphatic that illegal immigrants should be included when the landmark health care bill was being negotiated in 2009. But the White House and Democratic leaders said it was not the right time and health care would be taken care of when immigration was overhauled. Now, as both chambers get serious about approving legislation that could enable about 11 million illegal immigrants to become citizens, Hispanic lawmakers are again being told that now is not the time. Barring a dramatic change of course, neither the bipartisan Senate bill nor a bipartisan House measure that’s now being crafted would help millions of uninsured, illegal immigrants get health insurance (Bunis, 6/17).

The Hill: Lawmakers Request Review Of Mental Health Programs
House members probing U.S. mental healthcare in light of the Newtown, Conn., shooting have asked government investigators to review federal grants and programs designed to assist the severely mentally ill. Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who lead the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Friday to report back with a special study on federal investments in mental health (Viebeck, 6/17).

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Health Care Marketplace

PwC: Slowdown In Health Care Costs May Be Turning Into A Trend

The accounting and consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers projects lower overall growth in costs for next year.

The Associated Press: Report: Slowdown In US Health Care To Continue
There's good news for most companies that provide health benefits for their employees: America's slowdown in medical costs may be turning into a trend, rather than a mere pause. A report Tuesday from accounting and consulting giant PwC projects lower overall growth in medical costs for next year, even as the economy gains strength and millions of uninsured people receive coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/17).

Bloomberg: Health Cost Growth Slows Further Even As Economy Rebounds
Provisions in the Affordable Care Act that penalize hospitals for excessive readmissions and encourage employers to offer wellness programs are slowing the growth of U.S. medical costs, even as the economy rebounds. Health-care costs for commercial insurers and employers are expected to rise about 4.5 percent next year after accounting for changes in benefits, ... The report supports President Barack Obama’s contentions that the 2010 law has contributed to historically slow cost growth. “It’s picking up speed and force,” said Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC’s Health Research Institute (Wayne, 6/18).

Meanwhile, another study examines the future of Medicare savings --

Politico Pro: Study: More Medicare Savings Coming
Medicare savings could be $1.1 trillion more than the Medicare trustees estimated over the next 10 years if current trends continue, according to a study backed by the Federation of American Hospitals. The study, due to be released on Tuesday, also finds that the recent decline in health care spending growth is because of structural changes in health care more than economic factors (Haberkorn, 6/17).

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High Court: Feds Can Sue Pharmaceutical Companies Over Deals To Delay Generic Drug Sales

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Federal Trade Commission can challenge name brand drug makers for potential antitrust violations.  

The New York Times: Supreme Court Lets Regulators Sue Over Generic Drug Deals
Pharmaceutical companies that pay rivals to keep less-expensive generic versions of best-selling drugs off the market can expect greater federal scrutiny after a Supreme Court ruling on Monday. In a 5-to-3 vote, the justices effectively said that the Federal Trade Commission can sue pharmaceutical companies for potential antitrust violations, a decision that is likely to increase the number of generic drugs in the marketplace and benefit consumers (Wyatt, 6/17).

Reuters: Supreme Court Says FTC Can Sue Over Deals That Delay Generic Drug Sales
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday regulators can challenge deals between brand-name drug companies and generic rivals that delay cheaper medicines from going on sale, which regulators say increase costs to consumers by billions of dollars (Hurley and Bartz, 6/17).

Medpage Today: Supreme Court Split On Pharma 'Pay For Delay' Deals
So-called "pay-for-delay" arrangements between generic and brand-name drug companies are not inherently legal, and each instance must be considered on a case-by-case basis, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. In the 5-3 decision overruling the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, listed five reasons why the appellate court erred in giving blanket immunity to pay-for-delay agreements, in which brand-name drugmakers pay or compensate generic drug companies in exchange for a later entry date of the cheaper generic version of a drug (Frieden, 6/17).

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State Watch

Former CMS Head Berwick Enters Mass. Gov Race

Donald Berwick, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced Monday that he will run for governor of Massachusetts. Berwick served for a year and a half as head of CMS and had since then expressed interest in remaining in the public arena.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Don Berwick Formally Enters Mass. Governor Race
Don Berwick, who has served as administrator of U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs, formally announced his plans to run for governor of Massachusetts Monday. … A Harvard pediatrician and health policy expert, Mr. Berwick was temporarily appointed by President Barack Obama during congressional recess in 2010. He was never confirmed by the Senate, hindered by comments he made praising the British government-run health care system and some health spending cuts that proved overly controversial, and he left the position in late 2011. Mr. Berwick was administrator in the first stages of health care reform, which has significantly impacted Medicare and Medicaid. He has been a firm supporter of federal coordination of patient care and of moving away from "fee-for-service" payment structures (Ballhaus, 6/17).

The Washington Post: Former Obama Administration Official Berwick Announces Run For Governor
Former Obama administration official Donald Berwick will run for governor of Massachusetts in 2014, he announced Monday. "As a doctor, an educator, an innovator and someone who has dedicated his professional career to making things work better and to helping people - I am ready to lead," said Berwick, the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Sullivan, 6/17).

USA Today: Obama's Ex-Medicare Chief Running For Mass. Governor
It's too early to tell, however, if Berwick's role in advocating for the health care law known as Obamacare will help or hurt him in predominantly blue Massachusetts. The Bay State has its own health care law that mandates insurance coverage -- which Obama said during his 2012 campaign was a model for Obamacare (Camia, 6/17).

Politico: Don Berwick Announces Run For Massachusetts Governor
Berwick, who has spent his career practicing medicine and running a leading health care improvement organization, has never held or even sought elected office. But he told Politico earlier this year that his time in Washington had made him want to stay in the public arena and try to enact policy ideas statewide. Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to expand health coverage, is now trying to address its high health costs (Kenen, 6/17).

WBUR: Berwick Makes Campaign For Governor Official
Berwick served for a year-and-a-half as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama, and since January has been meeting with voters and donors as he explored a potential campaign (Murphy, 6/17).

Boston Globe: Health Leader Donald Berwick Starts Bid For Governor
Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a former Obama administration official, quietly launched his campaign for governor Monday, more than 16 months before voters hit the polls to elect a successor to Governor Deval Patrick. An expert on health care cost and quality but a political novice, Berwick kicked off his maiden run for elective office, becoming the first big-name Democrat to enter what is expected to be a robustly contested race for the Corner Office (Miller, 6/18).

Modern Healthcare: Berwick Enters Race For Mass. Governor
Berwick took to the Internet with the news, making the announcement on his campaign website and posting it on a separate Twitter account for his campaign. In his statement, he said he'd been mulling the run for months. He first showed interest for the governor's office in January (Selvam, 6/17).

Medpage Today: Berwick Enters Mass. Governor's Race
On his campaign website, Berwick, who is running as a Democrat, praises Massachusetts' system of universal health coverage. "Massachusetts should be proud that ours was the first state in the nation to make healthcare a human right," the site says. "But that is not going to be sustainable without major changes and improvements in health care delivery -- improvements that Don has been working on worldwide for the last 3 decades. The best route to sustainable care is to improve care, and that is a cornerstone of Don's agenda. But that means helping our amazing health care organizations navigate through a difficult change to team-based, integrated, truly patient-centered care, with an emphasis on prevention and healing" (Frieden, 6/17).

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State Highlights: Texas Pharmacists Want Medicaid Price Transparency

A selection of health policy stories from Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and California.

The Associated Press: Corbett Signs Anti-Abortion Coverage Bill In Pa.
Pennsylvania is joining about 20 other states in limiting coverage of abortions under health care insurance policies offered in a federally-run insurance marketplace starting next year under a sweeping federal law. The office of Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who opposes abortion rights, said he signed the bill Monday, without offering any comment (6/17).

Texas Tribune: Pharmacists Push Transparency In Medicaid Pricing
As a business owner, would you sign a contract that requires you to purchase a product, give that product away and then request payment from a third party without knowing how much you'd receive? What if you also didn't know how much you'd be reimbursed before signing the contract, and that the other party could change that reimbursement rates without notice? That's the situation facing Texas pharmacists participating in Medicaid managed care (Aaronson, 6/18).

North Carolina Health News: N.C. Emergency Patients Twice As Likely To Have Mental Health Problems
Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared rates of people reporting to North Carolina's emergency departments complaining of mental health issues to EDs in the rest of the country (Hoban, 6/17).

Georgia Health News: New Firm To Tackle Shortfalls In Senior Care
Outcomes Health Information Solutions, based in Alpharetta in northern metro Atlanta, has launched a company that aims to address gaps in the medical care of seniors. SeniorCare will send nurse practitioners into people's homes to assess the health of individual seniors and send the information to the appropriate insurers and physicians' office. It will primarily be a service company, unlike its health IT parent company, Outcomes Health (Miller, 6/17).

HealthyCal: Acupuncturists Expect Surge In Patients Under Obamacare
Students at Five Branches University in Santa Cruz signed petitions and wrote letters to Sacramento last year in hopes that acupuncture, one of their areas of study, would be covered under new state and federal health care reform laws. They got their wish. Last fall, California listed acupuncture as a benefit that insurers must include in new plans when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known informally as Obamacare, takes effect Jan. 1 (Bookwalter, 6/18).

California Healthline: Plan For Autism Medi-Cal Benefit Rejected
The Legislature late last week voted to exclude one type of autism therapy from Medi-Cal by reversing a previous decision to link it with the state's essential health benefit package. Applied behavioral analysis -- known as ABA therapy -- was part of the language in two nearly identical special session bills. ... The bills had implicitly included ABA therapy as one of the state's essential health benefits -- meaning it would have been covered for those children enrolled in Medi-Cal. Friday the Legislature struck that language from the related bills (Gorn, 6/17).

California Healthline: California Budget Puts Some Health Care Issues On Hold
[T]his year's balancing act is kinder to health and social services than any spending plan over the past half decade, according to legislators and veteran Sacramento watchers. "I would take this budget over the last five eight days a week," said Darrell Steinberg, Senate President Pro Tempore and one of the budget's main architects. Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat long considered a champion of health care in several  camps, acknowledged the budget didn't include all the health care spending advocates hoped it would -- particularly for Medi-Cal provider reimbursement and a certain type of autism therapy (Lauer, 6/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Viewpoints: Controlling Costs; Health Law's Guarantee Of Coverage; ACO Liability

The Fiscal Times: How To Control America's Health Care Costs
In the impassioned debates over healthcare, one fact is often lost—Americans pay more but get less for their health care than residents of other high-income countries. I believe we can change that.  We can improve the quality of care and reduce our expenses, saving a trillion dollars or more a year, by making our health care system more efficient (William A. Haseltine, 6/17).

The Washington Post: Diabetes Has Been A Part Of My Daughter's Life For A Quarter-Century
My daughter has been a Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic since she was 10 months old. There were some scary moments when she was very young, and some rough times when she was a teenager. But she's doing quite well now. ... I bring this up now because last month she turned 26, an age that had absolutely no import for my generation but is a significant milestone for young adults today. Under the Affordable Care Act, she was able to remain on my family's health insurance until that age, but now must be taken off (Lenny Bernstein, 6/17). 

The New York Times: Million-Anecdote Baby
A friend of mine has an adult child with cancer, a young man just old enough to be beyond the age of coverage under his parents' health care plan. After nearly killing him, the dreaded Hodgkin's lymphoma is in remission. But he's still a pariah in the eyes of the insurance industry, which means they can deny him a policy that might save his life. Not for long. In six months' time, the heartless practice of refusing to let sick people buy affordable health insurance — private-sector death panels, the most odious kind of American exceptionalism — will be illegal from shore to shore (Timothy Egan, 6/14).

National Review: Obamacare's Not-So-Safe-Harbor Plans
Obamacare was supposed to help out low-income workers. But some struggling hourly employees could soon face even higher health costs than before the law was implemented. These unlucky workers, who will likely be concentrated in the retail and hospitality industries, will have to choose either to enroll in a health plan that strains their finances or to pay a steadily increasing penalty to the federal government (Jillian Kay Melchior, 6/17). 

JAMA: The Looming Threat Of Liability For Accountable Care Organizations And What To Do About It
The promotion of accountable care organizations (ACOs), a new health care delivery and payment model designed to curb rising medical costs while improving quality, is one of the most important elements of the Affordable Care Act. The ACO model is based on shared-risk contracts, in which ACOs agree to share the financial risk of health care overspending with third-party payers. Although they originate in Medicare, these shared-risk arrangements are quickly spreading to the private insurance markets, where they aim to dismantle the volume-driven fee-for-service revenue model. Hundreds of health systems across the country have already adopted the ACO model and in so doing have taken on a new role of cost containment. What may be less clear to them is that they are taking on new liability risks (Dr. H. Benjamin Harvey and I. Glenn Cohen, 6/17). 

MLive: The Long Road To Medicaid Expansion In Michigan
Sometimes the impossible takes longer. The Michigan House gets high marks for finally coming to grips with a decision to fold 320,000 uninsured folks into the federal Medicaid system. It wasn't pretty and it probably could have been done faster, but then speed in the legislative process is sometimes a bad thing (Tim Skubick, 6/18).

Politico: Late-Term Abortions Must End
Life's amazing potential often surprises us and too often we underestimate it. And that sacred connection of witnessing life's potential compels us to stop turning a blind eye to the scourge of late-term abortions in our great country. That's why this week, House Republicans will lead the fight to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to put reasonable limits on dangerous late-term abortions (Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., 6/18).

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EDITOR:
Stephanie Stapleton

ASSOCIATE EDITOR:
Andrew Villegas

WRITERS:
Lisa Gillespie
Shefali Luthra

The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2014 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.