Local Governments Wrestle With Employee Hours And Health Coverage

Even though the requirement that employers -- including governments -- offer full-time employees health coverage does not kick in for 16 months, there are already changes, The Washington Post reports.

The Washington Post: Local Governments Cutting Hours Over Obamacare Costs
Many cash-strapped cities and counties ... are opting to reduce the number of hours their part-time employees work. ... Some local officials said the cuts are happening now either because of labor contracts that must be negotiated in advance, or because the local governments worry that employees who work at least 30 hours in the months leading up to the January 2015 implementation date would need to be included in their health-care plans (Wilson, 8/22).

Meanwhile, several outlets explain health-care terminology.

NPR: Say What? Jargon Busters Tackle Health Insurance
Scared you'll have no idea how to choose the best health plan come fall? ... [Dr. Ruth] Parker, a few friends at the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, several young doctors and some Emory students combed through thousands of wonky Web pages and documents so you wouldn't have to. ... The volunteers who worked on the guide went out of their way to steer clear of politics, or to favor one type of insurance over another (Franklin, 8/22).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ On ACOs: Accountable Care Organizations, Explained
One of the main ways the Affordable Care Act seeks to reduce health care costs is by encouraging doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to form networks to coordinate care better, which could keep costs down. To do that, the law is trying a carrot-and-stick approach in the Medicare program: Accountable Care Organizations (Gold, 8/23).

Finally, the health law's Sunshine Act provisions continue to draw attention -

The Wall Street Journal: Doctors Face New Scrutiny Over Gifts
U.S. doctors are bracing for increased public scrutiny of the payments and gifts they receive from pharmaceutical and medical-device companies as a result of the new health law. Starting this month, companies must record nearly every transaction with doctors—from sales reps bearing pizza to compensation for expert advice on research—to comply with the so-called Sunshine Act provision of the U.S. health-care overhaul (Loftus, 8/22).

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