Health Law Has Businesses, Health Systems Weighing Tough Decisions

News outlets also attempt to "demystify" the health law and report on recent poll results and news regarding accountable care organizations.

Fiscal Times: 7 Ways Businesses Can Dodge Obamacare
The countdown to Obamacare implementation is on. And owners of businesses with 50 or more employees have begun making some tough decisions on ways to minimize their long-term costs. That's because under the law, businesses with at least 50 "full-time equivalent" employees have to provide health care to their workers or pay a penalty. Recent surveys indicate that many small-and medium-sized businesses are restricting hiring and cutting hours to get under that threshold. And according to Kenneth Laks, a certified public accountant at AVZ & Company, many businesses simply aren't prepared (Francis and Pianin, 7/1).

Medpage Today: Health Systems Face ACA Cost, Quality Pressures
When it comes to maximizing quality at the lowest cost, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has presented both a challenge and an opportunity for health systems. It's also presented a level of uncertainty, as many states have not yet implemented changes associated with the ACA. Medicaid expansion has not yet kicked in, so not all health systems have seen the influx of new patients that next year is expected to bring, but many have seen numbers grow as a result of provisions that allow young patients to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26 (Petrochko, 6/28).

NPR: You Ask, We Answer: Demystifying The Affordable Care Act
The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. October 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014. It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law. You weren't shy; our inbox was stuffed. Here are some answers (Rovner, 7/1).

Medpage Today: One Year Later, Readers Reverse Course On ACA
What a difference a year makes! Last year, a majority of readers were in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This year, it's a minority. In June of 2012, MedPage Today asked readers if the Supreme Court did the right thing when it ruled the ACA, in particular its individual mandate, did not violate the Constitution, but effectively left the decision to expand Medicaid up to each state. As part of our anniversary coverage of the Supreme Court's vote, we asked the same question again. The vote tallies are like peering through Alice's looking glass: nearly an eerie mirror image of each other (Kaiser, 6/28).

Modern Healthcare: Several Pioneer ACOs May Exit Program
Medicare's most ambitious test of accountable care could lose a substantial number of its participants after the first year. As many as nine of 32 Pioneer accountable care organizations—the name given to Medicare's first and highest-risk test of the payment model—may exit the program, according to the CMS, and at least four have started to notify providers (Evans, 6/28).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.