KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

IPAB And Health Law Repeal Efforts Mixing Up Political Loyalties

Some Senate Demcrats are considering voting with Republicans to repeal the health law's Independent Payment Advisory Board, while several GOP lawmakers are voicing concerns about the broader repeal strategy. Also, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has introduced legislation to change the law's medical-loss ratio.  

The Hill: Vulnerable Senate Dems Don't Rule Out Voting Against Obama Cost-Control Board
Several Senate Democrats up for reelection tell The Hill they haven't ruled out bucking President Obama by voting to repeal the health law's cost-control board. The House is expected to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board next week, putting pressure on the Senate to follow suit. While the bill has broad bipartisan support in the House, no Senate Democrats have so far signed onto repeal legislation despite coming under increasing pressure to do so (Pecquet, 3/17).

The Hill: GOP Split On Health-Law Repeal Strategy
Two conservative Republicans on Friday blasted House leaders for scheduling a vote to repeal an unpopular provision of the healthcare reform law. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) wrote in the The Washington Times on Friday that a 2012 electoral debate focused simply on whether to repeal the law would "do our nation credit and do great service to the electorate" (Pecquet, 3/16).

ProPublica: Senate Bill Could Roll Back Consumers' Health Insurance Savings
This summer, health insurance companies may have to pay more than a billion dollars back to their own customers. The rebate requirements were introduced as part of the 2010 health-care reform law and are meant to benefit consumers. But now an insurer-supported Senate bill aims to roll back the rebate requirements. ... Last month, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., introduced a bill that would change what costs companies can include in the 15 to 20 percent they are allotted for overhead, salaries and marketing. The bill, similar to a House bill introduced in March 2011 that has yet to come up for a vote, focuses on payments to insurance agents and brokers (Groeger, 3/16). 

In a look at those rebates -

Fox News: Millions Could Receive Insurance Rebates In 2012, Despite Industry Opposition
Millions of Americans stand to receive insurance company rebates by the end of the summer, as a result of a new requirement in the federal health care overhaul that strictly governs how insurers spend their cash. The insurance industry, along with a slew of state officials, have been fighting the policy. Based on rules that were issued at the end of last year, Washington will require insurers to spend between 80 and 85 percent of premium dollars on medical care. Insurance companies that violate the rule will be required to effectively refund their customers (Berger, 3/17).

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