Julie Appleby reports on the implementation of the health care overhaul law, the interplay of health care treatments and costs, trends in health insurance, and policy issues affecting hospitals and other medical providers. Her KHN stories have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer and MSNBC, among others. Before joining KHN in March 2009, Appleby spent 10 years on the health care industry and policy beat for USA Today. She also worked at the San Francisco Chronicle
, the Financial Times
in London and the Contra Costa Times
in Walnut Creek, Calif. She serves on the board of the Association of Health Care Journalists and her education includes a Master of Public Health degree. | Contact: JulieA@kff.org | @Julie_Appleby
Now that the Senate has passed a hotly debated health care bill, Congress is headed to the next step: House-Senate negotiations in January to try to hammer out a final version. Here's where things stand and how you might be affected.
Both the House and Senate health overhaul bills would force insurers to spend the vast majority of premium revenue on medical care for their customers, reducing the amount available for profits, executive salaries, sales and administration.
Hospitals, doctors and insurers are opposed to allowing people under 65 to join Medicare – an idea being considered by Senate negotiators struggling to put together the 60 votes needed to pass a health reform bill.
Two-thirds of employers would raise deductibles, change insurers or scale back coverage to avoid the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost benefits proposed in the Senate Democrats’ health care bill, a survey to be released Thursday by consulting firm Mercer says.
According to analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate Democrats' health care overhaul bill would substantially reduce premium costs for 57 percent of people who buy subsidized coverage through new exchanges, while rates would hold steady or decline slightly for large and small employers.
If a Democratic health bill passes,certain individuals and small businesses initially would pay more for insurance, while others would pay less, experts predict. But the long-term outlook is less clear.
The Senate and House health bills differ in important ways. We ask and answer questions consumers might have about the bills.
Legislation approved by the House Saturday would bar insurers from selling policies that cover abortion if purchased with federal subsidies. There are already states that have similar policies.
Legislation seeks to limit the amount low-and middle-income people will pay for health insurance. But a shift in the way their share of the premium is calculated in the second year of the program may make it more expensive.
People are worried in towns like Warsaw, Ind., considered the "orthopedic device manufacturing capital" of the world. The industry is fighting the $4 billion-a-year tax included in the Senate Finance Committee bill to help pay for health reform.