Daily Health Policy Report

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Last updated: Thu, Aug 22

KHN Original Reporting & Guest Opinion

Coverage & Access

Health Reform

Medicare

Public Health & Education

State Watch

Weekend Reading

Editorials and Opinions

KHN Original Reporting & Guest Opinion

States Use Out-Of-The-Box Approaches To Raise Awareness Of Health Exchanges

Kaiser Health News staff writer Kelsey Miller reports: "Catchy jingles? Splashy videos? Multi-million-dollar public education campaigns? For the 16 states and the District of Columbia that have opted to run their own online health insurance marketplaces, these are among the tools being used to make sure residents know the exchanges will be open for business Oct. 1. … Here's an alphabetical list of state exchanges and a sampling of their strategies, ranging from clever advertising to unique health exchange names" (Miller, 8/21). Check out the list.

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Capsules: Brokers Associated With More, Cheaper Health Coverage, Study Says

Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jay Hancock reports: "Health insurance agents, feeling threatened by the Affordable Care Act, will welcome research from the University of Minnesota that supports their longstanding argument that agents and brokers make insurance shopping easier and cheaper" (Hancock, 8/22). Check out what else is on the blog.

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Political Cartoon: 'Gonna Need A Bigger Boat?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Gonna Need A Bigger Boat?" by John Darkow.

Here's today's health policy haiku:

HEALTH INSURANCE -- NOT ALWAYS A MARITAL ASSET

Marry for love, not
health care
, says UPS. Some
spouses not covered
.
-Anonymous

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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Coverage & Access

UVA, UPS To Stop Health Benefits For Some Workers' Spouses

The university cited costs. Meanwhile, other news organizations followed Kaiser Health News' UPS story.

The Hill: University of Virginia Cuts Some Health Benefits, Citing ObamaCare Costs
The University of Virginia said Wednesday that it will stop offering health insurance to some employees' spouses because of rising costs under ObamaCare. The university said the Affordable Care Act will add $7.3 million to its healthcare costs next year. It indicated that it could face additional costs in the future because of the law's tax on especially generous insurance policies (Baker, 8/21).

The New York Times: U.P.S. To End Health Benefits For Spouses Of Some Workers
United Parcel Service has told its white-collar employees that it will stop providing health care coverage to their spouses who can obtain coverage through their own employers, joining an increasing number of companies that are restricting or eliminating spousal health benefits. … U.P.S. told employees, "Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer — just as U.P.S. has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee" (Greenhouse, 8/21).

The Wall Street Journal: UPS To End Health Benefits For Some Working Spouses Of Employees
The Atlanta-based package delivery giant said in an internal memo to employees last month that rising costs for coverage of chronic and other health conditions, "combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost." The change will affect about 15,000 spouses, UPS said—slightly fewer than half of the 33,000 spouses who are covered today under its health plan for nonunionized workers (Martin, Morris and Thurm, 8/21).

Bloomberg: UPS Ending Health Coverage For Spouses Signals Cost Cuts
The shift is a sign of corporate America’s increasing willingness to make deep changes to benefits once taken as a given by U.S. workers. The health-care overhaul, estimated to boost expenses for businesses by 2 percent to 4 percent next year, is adding to the momentum that already spurred higher deductibles and surcharges for covering dependents (Nussbaum and Credeur, 8/22).

Fox News: Employers Dropping Coverage For Thousands Of Spouses Over ObamaCare Costs
Republican lawmakers are raising new concerns about ObamaCare after several large employers announced they are dropping health coverage for some employee spouses due to rising costs under the new law. Both the University of Virginia and UPS told their employees recently they are no longer offering spousal coverage to those able to obtain insurance elsewhere; meaning thousands of Americans will no longer be able to choose the benefits they prefer (8/21).

Earlier KHN coverage: UPS Won't Insure Spouses Of Some Employees (Hancock, 8/21).

 

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Health Reform

Enrollment In Exchanges Key To Health Law Success

Politico notes that enrollment in online marketplaces in California, Florida and Texas will have an outsized impact on whether the Obama administration achieves its nationwide goals for expanding coverage. Other outlets report how states will market the new insurance plans and how some Americans are confused by health insurance generally and Obamacare in particular.

Politico: The Swing States Of Obamacare
Three states could have an outsize role in the success — or failure — of Obamacare. California, Florida and Texas are home to more than one-third of the nation's 46 million uninsured people. If the White House and its allies can't convince large chunks of the uninsured in those three states to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's new insurance exchanges, the administration could have a very hard time reaching its enrollment goals (Haberkorn, 8/21).

PBS Newshour: Twitter Chat: Will Health Insurance Exchanges Be A Benefit Or A Burden?
Open enrollment for health insurance exchanges begins Oct. 1. The Obama administration is hoping to enroll 7 million people in the exchanges by the end of March 2014, including 2.5 million young, healthy people. Young Americans are the key to the success of the program, but whether the exchanges will benefit them and if they will sign up for them are still big unknowns (Shirvell, 8/21).

Kaiser Health News: States Use Out-Of-The-Box Approaches To Raise Awareness Of Health Exchanges
Catchy jingles? Splashy videos? Multi-million-dollar public education campaigns? For the 16 states and the District of Columbia that have opted to run their own online health insurance marketplaces, these are among the tools being used to make sure residents know the exchanges will be open for business Oct. 1. … Here's an alphabetical list of state exchanges and a sampling of their strategies, ranging from clever advertising to unique health exchange names (Miller, 8/21).

Stateline: State Resistance To Federal Government Goes Back To US Beginnings
The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but that hasn’t stopped a handful of states from doing what they can to gum up its implementation. Take Missouri: The state isn’t expanding Medicaid, it isn’t opening its own health insurance exchange, and it is barring local and state officials from cooperating in any way with the federal insurance exchange (Ollove, 8/22).

The Associated Press: Jobs Available Under Obama Health Law In Illinois
Working on a tight timeframe, Illinois is building an 800-person army of temporary workers to help people sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The "in-person counselor" jobs, located in every corner of the state, range from a $9-an-hour part-time evening job in Clinton County to a $45,000-a-year project coordinator position in Chicago for someone with experience in community organizing and public speaking (Johnson, 8/21).

Medpage Today: Young Adults Unaware Of ACA Exchanges
Only 27 percent of young adults said they were aware of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges that are launching Oct. 1, a survey released Wednesday showed. Furthermore, those most likely to benefit from the ACA's exchanges and expanded coverage are the least likely to be aware of the exchanges, the liberal Commonwealth Fund said in the survey "Covering Young Adults Under the Affordable Care Act." Just 19 percent of young adults who were uninsured in the last year and 18 percent of low-income adults were aware of the exchanges -- or marketplaces, as they are sometimes called -- according to the survey (Pittman, 8/21).

California Healthline: Obamacare Obstacle: Consumers’ Confusion When Picking A Plan
HealthCare.gov would like you to answer a few questions before considering policies offered through the new health insurance exchanges. For many, the problems start there. Recent surveys show that U.S. residents are confused by Obamacare -- and, more generally, by health insurance -- which has led some observers to question whether the exchanges' open enrollment period will proceed smoothly or be too overwhelming for those who would benefit most from the reform law (Wayt, 8/21).

Health News Florida: Navigator Fears Called Political 'Hype'
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act say Florida officials' concern about a program that will help uninsured people sign up for coverage has no foundation in fact. There is no danger that so-called "navigators" will steal people's identities or feed information into a giant federal database, said Greg Mellowe, policy director for the consumer group Florida CHAIN. The group is one of the non-profits that will get a share of federal grant money for the "navigator" program (Gentry, 8/21).

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Political Hijinx Surround Gov't. Shutdown Threat, Push To Defund Health Law

News outlets report on the possible mid-term election impact of the GOP push to shut down the government if the health law receives funding. 

Politico: The Great Democrat Hope: Government Shutdown
As it stands now, the midterm is shaping up as a stale, status-quo election — with Democrats calling their counterparts right-wing extremists, Republicans attacking their rivals over Obamacare and neither side making much headway. That's good for Republicans, since the party out of power in the White House almost inevitably picks up House seats in the sixth year of the presidency. Heavily-gerrymandered districts provide the GOP an extra layer of protection (Isenstadt, 8/22).

CNN: Playing Chicken Over Obamacare
Some GOP lawmakers appear willing to shut down the government in their fight to defund the president's health care law, but not everyone is on board (Acosta, 8/22).

Bloomberg: Republicans In Echo Before Big Burn Defy Affordable Care
Joseph Califano remembers the moment well. The nation’s doctors were threatening to boycott the new Medicare program, and President Lyndon Johnson had to get them on board or the 1965 extension of health care to elderly Americans would collapse. So the president set a trap (Tackett, 8/22).

The issue, and surrounding debate, is being replayed at town hall meetings held this month in congressional districts -

The Associated Press: Cassidy Won’t Support Shutdown Over Health Law
U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) split with some hard-line members of the GOP on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't support a federal government shutdown as a way to defund President Barack Obama's health care law if the move would stop defense spending (Deslatte, 8/21).

The Lund Report: Wyden-Smith Town Hall Spreads Word About Cover Oregon, Health Reform
The drumbeat to inform Oregonians about impending health reform continued on Monday with a town hall hosted by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith that 120 people attended. Wyden trumpeted the Affordable Care Act and the changes it will bring to the healthcare system and people’s lives. “Healthcare is no longer going to be just for the healthy and the wealthy,” he said, particularly mentioning the Affordable Care Act’s provision illegalizing denying someone health coverage because of pre-existing conditions (Waldroupe, 8/21).

Health News Florida: Rally Cry: 'Defund Obamacare'
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act rallied hundreds of conservatives at a Tampa hotel Wednesday night with a call for the Republican House to strip funds for the law out of next year's budget. The budget vote is scheduled for right after Labor Day, in time for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 (Gentry, 8/22).

Arizona Republic: Salmon To Help Target ‘Obamacare’
U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon drew cheers from a Mesa town-hall crowd Monday, saying he plans to enter the fray this fall to support a government shutdown aimed at defunding the president’s health-care law. The Republican congressman was piggybacking on an ultimatum issued by fellow conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who wants the GOP to refuse to fund the federal government past Oct. 1 unless money is cut from the health care law that will be rolling out in earnest at that time (Sanders, 8/21).

Also in the news -

Politico: Bobby Jindal Withdraws Request For Obamacare Funds
Gov. Bobby Jindal, a fierce Obamacare critic, pursued funds from an under-the-radar program in the health law until this week, when his administration reversed course, citing cumbersome federal rules. Health aides to the Louisiana governor began eyeing the program – a long-term care reform effort called Community First Choice – last year and went as far as submitting a formal application to CMS (Cheney, 8/21).

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New Studies Indicate The Law's First Year Will Be Marked By Slightly Higher Costs, More Wellness Incentives

Cost and coverage implications of the health law continue to draw headlines.

Reuters: First Obamacare Open Enrollment Promises More Incentives And Costs
As American workers prepare for the first open enrollment season of the Obamacare era, hints are surfacing about what awaits them - higher deductibles, more incentives for staying well and premium hikes that continue to out-strip wages, albeit by more moderate amounts than in the past. For coverage in 2014, the first year in which key parts of the Affordable Care Act's healthcare reforms take effect, premium increases will be about 5 percent, according to two studies (Pinsker, 8/21).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Brokers Associated With More, Cheaper Health Coverage, Study Says
Health insurance agents, feeling threatened by the Affordable Care Act, will welcome research from the University of Minnesota that supports their longstanding argument that agents and brokers make insurance shopping easier and cheaper (Hancock, 8/22).

The Associated Press: Report: Health Overhaul Could Help Rural Residents
Rural residents could pay less for health insurance and medical care under the new health care law, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska. The issue is of particular importance to rural residents because they generally pay more for health insurance and have lower incomes than people who live in or near cities, according to the report (Johnson, 8/21).

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Birth Control Mandate Could Cause Health Law's Speedy Supreme Court Return

The Hill: ObamaCare Birth-Control Mandate On Fast Track To Supreme Court
ObamaCare's birth control mandate is putting the president's signature legislative issue on a fast track back to the Supreme Court. Lawyers on both sides of the issue say the high court will almost certainly have to rule on the controversial policy, possibly as early as its next term (Baker, 8/22).


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Medicare

Report Finds Number Of Doctors Accepting Medicare Patients Is Up

In other news, Sen. Max Baucus took Medicare's top administrator to Montana to meet former mine workers afflicted with asbestos poisoning.

USA Today: Report: More Doctors Accepting Medicare Patients
The number of physicians accepting new Medicare patients rose by one-third between 2007 and 2011 and is now higher than the number of physicians accepting new private insurance patients, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report obtained by USA TODAY. In 2007, about 925,000 doctors billed Medicare for their services. In 2011, that number had risen to 1.25 million, according to the report by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (Kennedy, 8/22).

The Missoulian: Baucus Brings Medicare Official To Libby, Seeks Fix For Asbestos Victims
Marilyn Tavenner has a picture of Lester Skramstad on her desk in Washington, D.C., even though she’s never met him – not in this life, anyway – and never will. ... Tavenner, barely four months into her tenure as the nation’s top administrator for an $820 billion federal agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stood at Skramstad’s grave in the Libby Cemetery on a beautiful August morning with U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Skramstad is one of an estimated 3,000 victims of asbestos-related illnesses stemming from a vermiculite mine once operated in Libby by W.R. Grace & Co. – and one of more than 400 who have died because of it (Devlin, 8/21).

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Public Health & Education

Rate Of Circumcisions Falls 6 Percentage Points, Study Finds

The analysis by the National Center for Health Statistics shows the rate dropping from 64 percent to 58 percent over 32 years.

USA Today: Hospital Circumcisions Down 10% Over Three Decades
During the 32-year span, the percentage fell from 64.5% to 58.3%, finds the analysis by the National Center for Health Statistics. It was highest in 1981 at 64.9%, and lowest in 2007 at 55.4%. Numbers do not include circumcisions outside hospitals for religious or other reasons, says study co-author Maria Owings (Healy, 8/22).

Reuters: Baby Circumcisions In U.S. Hospitals Decline Over Three Decades
[T]he practice has been the subject of heated debate, including efforts to ban circumcision in San Francisco and Germany. The American Academy of Pediatrics said last August that the health benefits of infant circumcision outweigh the risks of the surgery. The National Center for Health Statistics offered little explanation in the report for the falling rates, but said fluctuations over the years followed changes to the American Academy of Pediatrics' assessment of the procedure's medical value (Johnson, 8/22).

Earlier, related KHN coverage: An Alaska-Sized Price Difference: A Circumcision In Anchorage Hospitals Can Cost $2,110 or $235 (Feidt, 8/21).  

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State Watch

State Highlights: Health Plan Settles With D.C. Over Payments

A selection of health policy stories from the District of Columbia, Georgia, California, New York, Montana, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

The Washington Post: Chartered Health Plan Settles With District
The District of Columbia has reached a settlement with a health-care company that was once the city’s largest contractor and whose former owner is at the center of a federal investigation into political corruption (Weiner, 8/21).

Georgia Health News: Judge Refuses To Halt State Health Contract
A Fulton County judge Wednesday rejected UnitedHealthcare's request for an injunction to halt the implementation of a lucrative contract for the state employee health plan. Attorneys for United argued that the Department of Community Health's award of a State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) contract to a rival company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, amounted to "state-sponsored bid-rigging" (Miller, 8/21).

Los Angeles Times: Few California Voters Know Much About Health Care Overhaul, Poll Shows
A large majority of California voters know very little or nothing at all about the state's new health insurance marketplace less than six weeks before enrollment starts, according to a new poll (Terhune, 8/21).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Surgeon Must Pay $388,000 In Medicaid Fraud
A respected New York spine surgeon is being ordered to pay the government almost $400,000 to settle charges he overbilled Medicare. Federal Justice Department officials said Wednesday that Richard S. Obedian inflated reimbursements by using incorrect billing codes (8/21).

The Associated Press: Mont. Says Early Returns Good On Health Clinic
Montana lawmakers were told Tuesday that new state health clinics appear to be helping reduce costs. The state opened a Helena clinic for employees last summer, an idea championed by former Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Another clinic was later opened in Billings, and more are planned in places with a large number of state employees (Gouras, 8/21).

The Lund Report: PEBB Set To Overhaul Medical Insurance Contract
The Public Employees Benefit Board released its blueprints for a new contract design at its August meeting, asking companies that will either administer or insure health coverage for Oregon’s public workers to offer more innovative plans that will hold down costs while actually improving care. It’s the first major request for proposal or RFP to deliver medical care for PEBB since 2004, and the cost of the plan is intended to fit into PEBB’s capped budget of $1.5 billion for the next two years (Gray, 8/21).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Penn State Health Coverage Switching From Carrot To Stick
Like most big employers across the country, Pennsylvania State University has spent several million dollars over the last decade on voluntary wellness programs, hoping to cut health costs and improve workers' health. … So Penn State, like a small but fast-growing number of employers, is switching from carrots to sticks. In January, employees will face a $100 monthly surcharge if they haven't filled out health-screening forms and gotten a physical exam. If they smoke, that's an additional $75 a month (McCullough, 8/20).

California Healthline: Hospital Fee Is One Step Closer To Law
The Assembly Committee on Health yesterday approved a bill designed to offset Medi-Cal costs for hospitals. SB 239 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) extends the Medi-Cal quality assurance fee for hospitals for an additional two years. "This bill would create a two-year fee program that would provide supplemental Medi-Cal payment to hospitals, to help reduce that annual loss of about $5 billion a year, from treating Medi-Cal patients," said Anne McLeod, senior vice president of health policy at the California Hospital Association (Gorn, 8/21).

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Weekend Reading

Longer Looks: Gunshot Season For Surgeons; Hispanic Teen Suicide

Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.

Los Angeles Times: Surgeon Races To Save A Life In L.A.'s Shooting Season
From the entry wound -- the size of a nickel -- Dr. Brant Putnam guesses that the bullet is a .45, but it's what he can't see that worries him most. The boy, a teenager most likely, lies naked on Bed 2 in a trauma bay at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. …The season of shootings has begun on time. Last year, from July through September, this Torrance hospital treated 107 gunshot victims, the highest number in the county. This year, four GSWs -- medical shorthand for gunshot wounds -- arrived on the first day of summer. One was a suicide and three were assaults. Three died and one would probably be discharged in a few days. Now, on June 23, two more have come in, both teenagers, both assaults. They walked through the front door at 2:25 a.m., no EMTs, no police. The hospital staff calls it the homeboy ambulance service: patients brought in with injuries often from gang shootings (Thomas Curwen, 8/18).

Forbes: Say Hi To Oscar: The New Kid That May Change Health Insurance
In five weeks from now, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates the opening of health insurance exchanges around the country. At that time New Yorkers will be introduced to an innovative way of thinking about health care: Oscar. Three friends, and technology entrepreneurs, teamed up to do something that has been inconceivable to date -- create a start-up health insurance company to take on conventional health insurers on the NY exchange (Nicole Fisher and Scott Liebman, 8/19).

Al Jazeera America: Suicides Highlight Plight Of Hispanic Teens
The manic depression that gripped Christine Ruiz had grown so acute by the time she reached high school that she was suicidal. … Ruiz's story offers insights into why Hispanic teenagers have one of the highest teen suicide rates in the United States. According to a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.5 percent of Hispanic female students in grades 9 through 12 admitted attempting suicide -- a percentage that is significantly higher than among their black (8.8 percent) and non-Hispanic (7.9 percent) peers. And a 2011 CDC report found that Manhattan had the highest rate -- 17 percent -- of Latina high school students who had seriously considered suicide (Erika L. Sanchez, 8/16).

The Atlantic: Thinking About Pregnancy Like An Economist
In the fall of 2009 my husband, Jesse, and I decided to have a baby. We were both economics professors at the University of Chicago. We'd been together since my junior year of college and married almost five years. Jesse was close to getting tenure, and my work was going pretty well. My 30th birthday was around the corner. We'd always talked about having a family, and the discussion got steadily more serious. … I'd always worried that being pregnant would affect my work--people tell all kinds of stories about "pregnancy brain," and missing weeks (or months) of work for morning sickness. As it happens, I was lucky and it didn't seem to make much difference (actually having the baby was another story). But what I didn't expect at all is how much I would put the tools of my job as an economist to use during my pregnancy (Emily Oster, 8/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Viewpoints: Health Spending Driving U.S. Recovery; Time To Get Rid Of The Insurance Middle Man

The Washington Post: Is Health Care Spending A Stealth Jobs Program?
Here is the most interesting fact about the economy that you've never heard: Without health-care spending, the rest of the economy is barely producing more than it did in late 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. We've spent 5½ years struggling to get back where we were, and many industries are hardly making it. ... Health spending accounts for almost half the economy’s meager overall gain (Robert J. Samuelson, 8/21). 

The Washington Post: The GOP's Obamacare Youth Hoax
It's rare for a political party to trumpet a position that unintentionally reveals its myopia, incoherence and expediency. Yet such is the trifecta with the Republican campaign to call attention to Obamacare's young "victims." Republicans are obsessed with the supposed injustice being done to some healthy young people who will effectively subsidize their sicker elders when Obamacare's individual mandate takes effect (Matt Miller, 8/21). 

The Wall Street Journal: The Man Who Was Treated For $17,000 Less
Let consumers and providers interact through market forces to drive down prices and drive up quality, like we do when we buy groceries, clothing, cars, computers, etc. Drop the focus on prepaid health plans and return to the days of real health insurance—that covers major, unforeseen events, leaving the everyday expenses to the consumer—just like auto and homeowners' insurance. Sadly, we are heading in the exact opposite direction. ObamaCare expands the role of the third party and practically eliminates the role—and the say—of the patient in the delivery of health care (Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, 8/21). 

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Do Have Ideas For Health Care
Many congressional Republicans, such as Oklahoma's Sen. Tom Coburn and Wyoming's Sen. Mike Enzi, have long advocated making health insurance completely portable so workers can take their plans with them from job to job. This means giving individuals who buy coverage for themselves a tax advantage similar to the one that employers enjoy when they cover employees. That change also could make coverage more affordable for the self-employed and even universal for all workers (Karl Rove, 8/21). 

JAMA: Health Care Safety-Net Ambivalence
I'm conflicted about the health care safety net. I say this as someone who has worked as a primary care physician in a public hospital for more than 25 years. ... There’s something truly inspiring about working shoulder to shoulder with those who attempt to combat social injustice by helping patients who seek care in the safety net. But the inconvenient truth is that the safety net often lets these patients down. The safety net does not achieve a level of performance found in non–safety-net institutions (Dr. Andrew Bindman, 8/21).

The Fiscal Times: How Obamacare Signals The End Of Government Insurance
In four months, Americans will have to prove to the IRS that they have health insurance—the kind that qualifies under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). … The White House tried that strategy to limit the political damage from Barack Obama's signature legislation during the 2014 elections, but even with the delays, the reaction to Obamacare's perverse incentives look damning to Democrats in the mid-terms (Edward Morrissey, 8/22).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Insurance Rates In And Out Of Exchange Reflect Competitive Market
The number of plans and participating insurance companies show that Colorado has a very competitive insurance market, unlike other states where one or two insurance companies control the market. That makes it difficult to compare Colorado's rates with other states. But rates alone aren't the whole story. Coverage will be guaranteed regardless of health status, many old restrictions have been eliminated and benefits will be much more comprehensive across the board (Bob Serno, 8/21).

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EDITOR:
Stephanie Stapleton

ASSOCIATE EDITOR:
Andrew Villegas

WRITERS:
Marissa Evans
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.