KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Today’s OpEds: Insurance Premium Caps; Doc Shortage; High-Risk Pool

Anthem Tries Again Los Angeles Times
The insurer's proposed premium hikes are staggering, but the problem is that medical costs have been growing considerably faster than inflation. AB 2578 would help put a check on unjustified hikes ... The Assembly passed the bill last month, and we urge the Senate to follow suit (7/2).

Premium Caps Damage Small Businesses, Economy The Salem News 
Instead of artificially capping insurance premiums, which could have a devastating effect on our health security, Beacon Hill should be talking about how to make the cost of medical care more affordable (Bill Vernon, 7/2).

Doctor Shortage Could Dash Health-Care Hopes The Orlando Sentinel
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama earlier this year will provide insurance coverage to at least 32 million more Americans by 2014. But there is a potential obstacle that might derail its success: the critical shortage of primary-care doctors (Remigio Lacsamana, 7/2).

Cutting Care Will Exact A High Cost South Bend [Indiana] Tribune
Indiana Family and Social Services' decision to cut 15 percent of the budget for home health care for the elderly and disabled is bad math. Worse is the cruel toll it will take on families (7/2).

Tennesseans Have New Health Insurance Option Jackson Sun
Tennesseans who have pre-existing health conditions that make it nearly impossible to obtain health insurance have a new option beginning this month. The new "Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan" will make comprehensive health insurance available to people with the greatest immediate need (7/2).

Good News For Parents North Jersey Media Group
Recently, the IRS announced that employer health care benefits provided to employees' children age 26 or younger were "now generally tax-free to the employee" and that this was retroactively effective to March 30, 2010. (Workers can make pre-tax contributions to pay for the expanded coverage.) Prior to the passage of the health care reform law, the age limit on such coverage was 19 (or 24 if the son or daughter was a full-time student) (Randy Neumann, 7/2).

Avandia: When Does A Drug's Harm Outweigh Its Benefits? Los Angeles Times
It's scary enough that a widely prescribed diabetes drug, Avandia, was shown in new studies this week to pose a substantially greater risk of heart attacks for users. But what should really get consumers freaked is that healthcare experts and federal regulators say this isn't really surprising. When it comes to drug safety, they say, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs (David Lazarus, 7/1).

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