Under Health Law, States Serve As Testing Grounds For Innovation

Media outlets report on a range of issues related to the measure's implementation, including how some states are finding opportunities in the overhaul to pursue their own health system changes. Also in the news, the latest on the roles being played by emergency rooms, faith-based non-profits and accountable care organizations.     

The Wall Street Journal: Some States See In The Health Law A Chance To Pursue Unique Solutions
The federal health-care law was intended to create a uniform standard of health coverage across the U.S. But the law also is creating opportunities for states to pursue their own solutions. For states like Vermont, that means pursuing liberal experiments that go further than the Affordable Care Act; for others, it means expanding coverage for the poor in a way that's more palatable to conservative lawmakers (Radnofsky, 6/8).

Louisville Courier Journal/USA Today: More Patients Flocking To ERs Under Obamacare
It wasn't supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month. ... Nationally, nearly half of ER doctors responding to a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians said they've seen more visits since Jan. 1, and nearly nine in 10 expect those visits to rise in the next three years. Mike Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, said members statewide describe the same trend. Experts cite many reasons (Ungar, 6/8).

The Washington Post: Opponents Of Health-Care Law Turn To Faith-Based Non-Profits to Cover Medical Expenses
Susan Tucker is one of millions of Americans who dislike the health law and want nothing to do with it. But the 54-year-old Venice, Fla., homemaker took her opposition a step further: She opted out. Tucker dropped the private health plan she had carried for more than a decade and joined Christian Healthcare Ministries, a faith-based nonprofit in which members pool their money to pay for one another’s medical needs — and promise to adhere to biblical values, such as attending church and abstaining from sex outside marriage (Somashekhar, 6/5).

Los Angeles Times: Anthem, HealthCare Partners Save $4.7 Million By Coordinating Care 
Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross and the HealthCare Partners physician group say a new effort to coordinate care among 55,000 patients helped save $4.7 million. In results released Friday, the two companies said their collaboration, known as an accountable-care organization, or ACO, cut costs by reducing hospital admissions, emergency-room visits and lab tests, particularly among patients with chronic conditions (Terhune, 6/6).

Meanwhile, the ACA's discount drug program faces a legal challenge -  

The New York Times: Judge Voids Expansion Of Discount Drug Program
A federal judge has struck down a new rule requiring drug companies to offer certain drugs at discounted prices, saying the Obama administration had no authority to issue the rule. Federal officials said the decision could provide a windfall to drug makers. However, the pharmaceutical industry said that the administration was stretching the Affordable Care Act to provide discounts on more drugs for more people, and that the rule was “inconsistent with the plain language of the statute” (Pear, 6/8).

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.