First Edition: April 23, 2010

Today's headlines focus on the new health laws coverage estimates, costs and impact on the health care system.

Federal Officials Confirm A Shift In Medicaid Drug Rebates
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver writes: “The federal agency that oversees Medicaid confirmed Thursday that some money states receive as rebates from drugmakers will now be redirected to the federal government to help pay for the new health overhaul” (Kaiser Health News).

New Health Law Brings Better Coverage For Women
Among the many goals of the new health law is one that hasn't received much attention: to improve women's experiences in the health insurance world. For some women, insurance policies cost far more than those for men their age; some women simply can't find an insurer to cover them. And, even for women who have insurance, sometimes it just doesn't cover certain scenarios, like pregnancy (NPR).

Report Says Health Care Will Cover More, Cost More
President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law is getting a mixed verdict in the first comprehensive look by neutral experts: More Americans will be covered, but costs are also going up (The Associated Press).

Government Report: New Healthcare Reform Law Could Lead To Higher Prices, Employers Dropping Coverage
The new healthcare reform law could lead to higher prices for consumers and cause some employers to drop coverage for their workers (The Hill).

Health Insurance Penalty Likely To Hit Nearly 4 Million By 2016
Nearly 4 million Americans — the vast majority of them middle-class — will have to pay the new penalty for not getting health insurance when President Obama's healthcare overhaul law kicks in, according to congressional estimates released Thursday (The Associated Press).

Health Bill May Mean Lower Medicare Premiums
The new healthcare overhaul championed by President Obama may result in lower Medicare premiums for seniors and a more sustainable Medicare program, according to an analysis of the legislation issued Thursday night by independent actuaries at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Los Angeles Times).

Military' Health Care Costs Booming
Military health care spending is rising twice as fast as the nation's overall health care costs, consuming a larger chunk of the defense budget as the Pentagon struggles to pay for two wars, military budget figures show (USA Today).

Exclusive: WellPoint Routinely Targets Breast Cancer Patients
One after another, shortly after a diagnosis of breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled. First there was Yenny Hsu, who lived and worked in Los Angeles. Later, Robin Beaton, a registered nurse from Texas. And then, most recently, there was Patricia Relling, a successful art gallery owner and interior designer from Louisville, Kentucky (Reuters/The Washington Post).

Court Backs Maine Rate On Insurance
A state court upheld a Maine official's decision to deny a profit margin for a WellPoint Inc. unit in a health-insurance rate request—a ruling that may resonate in other states where regulators are battling premium hikes (The Wall Street Journal).

Florida: Health Overhaul On November Ballot
Voters will decide this fall whether to ban health insurance mandates, including those required by the federal health care overhaul (The New York Times).

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