KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: April 2, 2010

Today's headlines highlight President Obama's speech yesterday in Maine, during which he continued stumping for the new health reform law and urged patience as the measure kicks in.  

Insurance Protection For Adult Children Won't Come Fast Enough For Some Parents
Writing for Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews explores an important provision of the new health care law. "When Allison McMaster Young heard that the new health overhaul law would allow her and her husband to keep their 21-year-old son on their family health insurance policy until age 26, she breathed a sigh of relief. Alex will graduate from Fordham University on May 21. Under the terms of the family plan they have through her husband's job, he'll lose his coverage the very next day because he'll no longer be a full-time student. Keeping Alex on the family policy would be by far the simplest and most affordable way to keep him covered after graduating. But then Young went online and read the legislative language. The provision, she learned, won't become effective until Sept. 23, six months after enactment" (Kaiser Health News).

Obama, In Maine, Needles Republicans Over Calls To Repeal Health Care Overhaul
President Obama continued on Thursday what might be called his Go-for-It Tour, traveling to this Northeastern state - represented by two moderate Republican senators who balked at his health care overhaul - to dare the opposition party to run against it this fall (The New York Times).

Obama's Still Stumping For Healthcare
President Obama took to the road Thursday, telling an audience in Maine that the passage of the healthcare overhaul showed his administration's commitment to small businesses and the struggling middle class (Los Angeles Times).

Obama Urges Patience As Health Care Law Kicks In
Urging a wary public not to judge his ambitious health care overhaul until they see its effects, President Barack Obama on Thursday dismissed those who remain stridently opposed to a legislative victory just one week old (The Associated Press).

Obama Shrugs Off Healthcare Law Criticism
President Barack Obama shrugged off judgments of the healthcare law as premature on Thursday, noting, "It's only been a week." Obama took on Republicans, pundits and the media during a speech promoting the law in Portland, Maine (The Hill).

Obama Blasts 'Fear Mongering' In Healthcare Reform Speech
President Obama touted the benefits of the new healthcare reform law in a public speech here Thursday, using the friendly atmosphere of a state that has been a national leader on bipartisan healthcare reform to push back at"fear mongering"critics who say it will undermine the country (The Christian Science Monitor).

President Obama: 'It's Only Been A Week'
President Barack Obama had a new message Thursday for the critics, reporters and slumping polls that have defined his health care reform package so far: "It's only been a week!" (Politico).

Overhaul A Job-Saver, Obama Tells Maine
An ebullient President Obama pitched his newly-minted health care law to Mainers yesterday, casting it as a job-saving plan, ridiculing those who predict a disaster, and daring opponents to try to repeal it (The Boston Globe).

Those Angry About Health-Care Generally Concerned About The Country's Direction
The health-care debate has generated intense levels of frustration among the bill's opponents, and those who say they are outright angry almost universally believe that the country is going in the wrong direction -- some say toward an America they no longer recognize (The Washington Post).

Some Dems Get Earful Back Home For Supporting Health Reform Bill
Some politically vulnerable Democrats are getting an earful from constituents about their yes votes on healthcare reform (The Hill).

Despite Obama Pitch On Benefits Of Healthcare Reform, Small Business Is Glum
In focusing on the benefits of healthcare reform for small business owners on Thursday, President Obama targeted a group of Americans who need bucking up (The Christian Science Monitor).

Health Care For All, With Obama Down The Street
First through the door of the Portland Community Health Center on Thursday morning was a stick figure of a man, oblivious to the homemade signs and the White House advance team across the street. He had a bald eagle drawn on his sweatshirt, a street-hard weariness in his eyes, and a throbbing pain in his right hand (The New York Times).

Long-Term Care Program Debuts In New Health Law
It got precious little debate in either the House or Senate, and President Obama didn't even mention it when he signed the huge health bill into law. But buried within the new health care overhaul is the first-ever federal insurance program to help Americans meet the often crushing costs of long-term care (NPR).

2 Million Eager For Health Care On Parents' Plans
Congress voted to overhaul the health care system on a Sunday. On Monday, Patti Lawson e-mailed her employer's human resources office to ask how soon she could get her 22-year-old daughter back on her health insurance (The Associated Press).

Insurer Fights Maine Regulator On Premiums
As insurers wrestle with the changes coming from the federal health overhaul in Washington, they also face challenges at the state level from regulators seeking to head off big premium hikes. A court case in Maine underscores the tensions, with a health insurer battling a decision that zeroed out its profit to keep consumers' rates down (The Wall Street Journal).

Health Care Hikes Rejected
Making good on Governor Deval Patrick's promise to reject health insurance rate increases deemed excessive, the state Division of Insurance yesterday denied 235 of 274 increases proposed by insurers for plans covering individuals and small businesses (The Boston Globe).

Massachusetts Insurance Regulators Reject Most Requests For Higher Rates
With the encouragement of Gov. Deval L. Patrick, Massachusetts insurance regulators took the extraordinary step Thursday of rejecting nearly 9 out of 10 rate increases requested by the state's health insurers (The New York Times).

Mass. Agency Limits Health Premium Increases
Massachusetts regulators issued their first batch of health care price controls on Thursday, rejecting the vast majority of small business premium increases sought this year by the state's major insurers (The Associated Press).

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