KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP Bills Would Kill Health Law’s Employer Mandate

The legislation, which has little chance of passage, would undo requirements that large employers offer workers insurance or pay a fine. Meanwhile, two Senate committees examine changes to Medicare.

The Hill: Bills Would Halt Health Law's Employer Mandate
House and Senate bills introduced Thursday would kill a key provision of President Obama's healthcare law — the mandate that most employers must offer health benefits to workers. The legislation was introduced by prominent Republicans, who called the requirement a "job killer” (Viebeck, 2/28).

CQ Healthbeat: Health Care Policies Focusing On Quality Instead Of Volume, Official Says
Policies aimed at moving the health care delivery system toward a focus on value rather than volume of services are showing signs of progress, an Obama administration official told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. Jonathan Blum, the head of Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, pointed to four pieces of information that he said are reasons for optimism. But Finance Chairman Max Baucus indicated that he wants his panel to be kept in the loop as the new efforts are implemented and to work out a system to share interim results (Attias, 2/28).

Medpage Today: Big Incentives Needed For Health Change, Senators Told
Healthcare providers won't implement delivery system reforms imposed by Congress and Medicare unless the incentives to change are strong enough, a health policy expert told Congress. "There [have] to be financing systems [such] that it's very much in the organization's interest to improve care and improve efficiency," David Goodman, MD, co-principal investigator of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care in Hanover, N.H., told members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging Wednesday afternoon. … Healthcare payers and providers are trying to figure out what those incentives should be and how strong to make them; many are experimenting with new models like accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to testimony from witnesses at the hearing, which was aimed at discussing ways to control Medicare costs while improving care (Pittman, 2/28).

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