KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP Lawmakers’ Request For Info About Navigators May Slow Process

Meanwhile, in regard to a separate issue, West Virginia's attorney general is criticizing the Department of Health and Human Services for not responding to questions about navigator privacy concerns.

Kaiser Health News: Navigators Say GOP Lawmakers' Information Requests Are 'Shocking'
Organizations that received the latest round of health law navigator grants say last week’s letter from House Republicans could have a chilling effect on efforts to hire and train outreach workers to sign up Americans for health insurance by Oct. 1, the opening day for new online insurance marketplaces (Gold, 9/5).

The Associated Press: W. Va. Attorney General Criticizes Lack Of Health Care Answers
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is criticizing federal health care officials for refusing to respond to questions over a plan to hire workers to help walk people through their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. Morrisey and a dozen other state attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month pointing out privacy concerns with the plan to hire navigators to help roll out the health care reforms (9/4).

Other health exchange headlines include updates from Oregon, Iowa, New York, California and Connecticut --  

The Lund Report: Cover Oregon Takes Outreach Strategy Online
As Cover Oregon prepares to launch the state health insurance marketplace this fall, it's held nine community events -- all of which have been packed -- and plans to hold two more before it begins enrolling people in October. In addition to in-person events and a much-discussed advertising campaign, Cover Oregon is also trying to reach Oregonians online to educate them about the insurance options available in the coming months (McCurdy, 9/4).

Des Moines Register: Insurance Exchange Pricing Delayed
Iowa's insurance commissioner is delaying release of pricing information for policies to be sold on the state's new health insurance exchange, because he wants to wait for a firm commitment that a national carrier will participate. Commissioner Nick Gerhart had planned to release prices next week for policies to be offered on the new system, which is a key part of Obamacare (Leys, 9/4).

Reuters: Hipsters, Paul Bunyan Make Feel-Good Pitch In Obamacare Ads
New commercials to promote Obamacare's state health exchanges strive for an upbeat, and at times humorous, tone to sell healthcare reform to a skeptical and largely unaware audience. Guitar-strumming hipsters encourage Oregonians to "get the best care" and sign up for health insurance. Minnesota's Obamacare ads beckon with the help of Paul Bunyan and his Babe the Blue Ox. For New York State, an eye-catching skyline of Manhattan is seen as voice overs emphasize that "everyone deserves affordable health insurance” (Beasley, 9/4).

California Healthline: The Exchanges Won't Be 'Ready' In Time. And It (Probably) Won’t Matter
While other states waffled, Golden State officials quickly embraced key Obamacare provisions like expanding Medicaid and creating insurance pools for individuals with pre-existing conditions. At the same time, lawmakers crafted legislation intended to conform California's health insurance plans to new standards under the Affordable Care Act. … And a more essential issue might be getting lost, amid the growing number of questions over which state exchanges will be open for business on Oct. 1. "Lots of people are asking about readiness," said Caroline Pearson, who leads Avalere Health's efforts to track health reform implementation. "But no one is asking about whether it matters” (Diamond, 9/4).

CT Mirror Spanish-Language TV Series Will Promote Health Insurance To Latinos
Access Health CT, the state’s new health insurance marketplace, is launching a Spanish-language "edutainment" television series intended to reach uninsured Latinos. Latinos make up 14 percent of the state’s population, but a quarter of the people without health insurance in the state, making them a key target for those trying to enroll people in coverage as part of federal health reform (Becker, 09/04).

Meanwhile, under-the-hood difficulties continue to emerge regarding the online insurance marketplaces --

Reuters: Technical Snafus Confuse Charges For Obamacare Plans
Technical glitches still plague the display of new healthcare plans to be offered to millions of uninsured Americans starting in 26 days, including how medical charges and deductibles are listed, industry officials say. Health insurers planning to sell policies to people who are currently uninsured, under President Barack Obama's health care reform, say they expect the problems will be remedied by October 1, when consumers will be able to buy health insurance from state exchanges (Begley, 9/5).

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