California Entertainment Industry Looks For Help From Health Law

Workers in the industry are often self-employed and uninsured so they are poised to benefit from the law. But many still find it confusing. Meanwhile, Politico Pro talks to one of the administration officials who helped bring the federal marketplace back to life after its troubling debut.

Los Angeles Times: Actors, Musicians Are Big Beneficiaries Of Obamacare
More than most people, workers in the area's vast entertainment industry are poised to benefit from the federal health law. But as the new law takes hold, the massive overhaul has also stirred up considerable confusion and anxiety over how to navigate a host of new healthcare options. For decades, artists have flocked to the state, and many have just scraped by while trying to get their big break. According to a study from the National Endowment for the Arts, California has the highest number of artists in the nation. The same study found that more than 30% of artists are self-employed compared with 10% in the general population, and rates of uninsured are typically higher among the self-employed than others (Karlamangla, 5/22).

Related KHN Coverage: In Hollywood, Health Coverage Presents Unique Challenges (Gorman, 12/15/13).

Politico Pro: Obamacare Lessons: Schiliro’s Exit Interview
For the whole month of January, Phil Schiliro and the rest of the administration’s Obamacare team had one goal: Treat every day like a potential Y2K. That was the crisis that never actually happened, of course — the massive computer meltdown that was supposed to happen on New Year’s Day 2000. But by January 2014, the Affordable Care Act rollout had already had its equivalent of an actual Y2K: the federal website disaster that started the enrollment season on such an embarrassing note .… Schiliro said the all-out effort to prevent even worse disasters from happening — and to be better prepared than they were at the initial launch — was a prime example of the lessons the Obama administration learned from the early rollout stumbles (Nather, 5/22).

Politico Pro: Many Newly Insured, In And Out Of Exchanges, Are Under 35
The newly insured are young, healthy and mostly eligible for Medicaid or financial assistance on the health insurance marketplace, according to a brief released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Thursday. More than half of newly insured adults are between 18 and 34 years old, compared with 33 percent of adults who were insured during the previous year, finds an analysis of March data from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey. This figure looks different from the administration’s youth breakdown (28 percent ages 18-34) because in addition to marketplace enrollees, Urban’s survey includes individuals with Medicaid and employer-sponsored coverage (Villacorta, 5/22).

Politico Pro: Meaningful Use Rule Change: Will It Be Enough?
Meaningful use rule change: Will it be enough? Under pressure, the government caved. Yet despite federal IT regulators’ proposal to relax implementation of EHR incentives and penalties, doctors and hospitals are still demanding that CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT make the meaningful use program more provider-friendly (Pittman, 5/22). 

Large employers may not be likely to use the law's marketplaces, but they are helping to pay for it.

Kaiser Health News: Temporary Fee On Big Businesses Funds Obamacare
Like other large, "self-insured" employers, Sherwin-Williams has a strong incentive to keep workers healthy: any health care claims by employees are paid directly by the company. The corporation is betting it will be better off paying those costs rather than paying regular premiums to an insurance company. "The key is to have healthy, engaged, productive, present employees," says Martha Lanning, the company's director of health and wellness plans. Sherwin-Williams and its employees aren't likely to use the individual marketplace created by Obamacare, but they will help pay for it (Tribble, 5/22).

Also, the administration announced some new grants Thursday.

The Hill: HHS To Grant $840M To States
States will be eligible to win federal grants under a new program intended to improve the healthcare system while reducing costs. The Department of Health and Human Services plans to dole out up to $730 million to states under its State Innovation Model initiative, which is intended to help states come up with better public and private healthcare payment and delivery systems (Al-Faruque, 5/22).

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