Capsules: Facing Deadline, Most States Say No To Running Their Own Insurance Exchanges; Med Students Switch Gears After Sandy KO's Training Hospitals; Tax Exclusion For Health Benefits Could Be Part Of 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Phil Galewitz reports on the states' announcements of their plans to build or not build insurance exchanges: "The Obama administration will have to build and operate online health insurance markets for more than 30 states, something few expected when the federal health law was approved in 2010. ... Most experts thought only states with small populations such as Delaware or Montana would seek federal help. Instead, most will rely on the federal government — including two of the most populous states, Texas and Florida, which together account for nearly 20 percent of nation's uninsured" (Galewitz, 12/14).

Also on Capsules, Alvin Tran looks into the impact on medical students of the closure of two New York City hospitals: "After completing a medical rotation in pediatrics, Hannah Kirsch was looking forward to starting another one in psychiatry at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital – but then Hurricane Sandy hit. Kirsch is among about 170 third-year and fourth-year medical students at New York University who were required to change their plans after two of NYU's academic training hospitals, NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue, temporarily closed due to extensive flood damage" (Tran, 12/17).

Finally, Julie Appleby reports about how tax benefits for employee health insurance benefits factor into "fiscal cliff" negotiations: "As the deficit debate continues, some policy wonks think it’s inevitable that negotiators will address a loophole that allows workers to avoid paying taxes on the value of their job-based health insurance" (Appleby, 12/14). Check out what else is on the blog.

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