KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Covered California ‘On Track’ To Launch Enrollment Oct. 1

The California state agency implementing the health law said computer tests indicate the website will be ready to go on the launch date. Also in the news, organizations and businesses dig into to efforts to promote enrollment in the overhaul's new online insurance marketplaces, but political battles continue to surround the "navigator" program.

Los Angeles Times: Covered California Says Healthcare-Law Enrollment On Track For Oct. 1
California's new health insurance marketplace says online enrollment should launch Oct. 1, dismissing earlier concerns about a delay. Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, said recent computer tests indicate that its website will be ready to take online sign-ups on schedule (Terhune, 9/9).

Fox News: Communities Race To Hire, Train Experts On Obama's Health Care Reform Plan
Over 100 nonprofits and related organizations, which specialize in everything from running soup kitchens to organizing farm workers, have been recruited by the federal government to sign up "navigators" to help the 30 million uninsured people who can now gain coverage. Many of the groups have little expertise in health insurance. And the timeline for training the workers is tight. According to the new health law, people can begin shopping among the new policies on Oct. 1. The enrollment period lasts six months. Coverage begins in January (9/9).

Politico: Rite Aid Joins Promotion Effort For Obamacare
Rite Aid is joining the nationwide Obamacare education effort, announcing on Monday plans to host insurance agents in its stores in a few weeks. The pharmacy chain will invite independent insurance agents into more than 2,000 of its stores to offer free help starting Oct. 1, the first day millions of Americans can enroll in coverage on Obamacare health insurance exchanges. All Rite Aid stores — more than 4,600 across 31 states and Washington, D.C. — will offer informational brochures about the Affordable Care Act, and the company has set up a website to educate customers (Millman, 9/10).

The Washington Post's Wonk Blog: Two Groups Quit Obamacare Outreach Program
In the face of mounting Republican opposition, two organizations have dropped out of a key Obamacare program meant to enroll millions of the uninsured in coverage. Republican legislators in Washington began investigating "navigators," the thousands of outreach workers funded by the health law, who are fanning out across the country to give Americans face-to-face help with signing up for Obamacare's new programs (Kliff, 9/9).

Reuters: Obama Administration Concerned About Republican Obamacare Inquiry
The Obama administration on Monday expressed concerns about a congressional Republican inquiry aimed at nonprofit groups and other organizations that are getting ready to enroll people in subsidized insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform. Less than two weeks ago, a Republican-controlled oversight committee in the House of Representatives sent questions to 51 groups in 11 states that have received $67 million in federal grants to hire and train "navigators" who will help uninsured people apply for health coverage in new online marketplaces beginning October 1 (Morgan, 9/9).

Meanwhile, news from Wisconsin and Minnesota on state implementation -

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Former Scott Walker Rival Kathleen Falk To Lead Obamacare Startup
Wisconsin consumers need to see the full details on what they'll be paying for the coverage being offered next year under Obamacare, said the new federal official charged with implementing the health care law in the Upper Midwest. Kathleen Falk, the former Dane County executive who unsuccessfully sought to run as a Democrat against Gov. Scott Walker in last year's recall election, will now be working with the GOP governor to implement the federal law (Stein, 9/9).

Minnesota Public Radio: Organizers Trying To Drum Up Support For Affordable Care Act
Anne Jones recently visited the Minneapolis Farmers Market to pass out fliers she hoped would debunk persistent myths about the federal health care overhaul. "We're trying to counter the notion that this is a government takeover of the health care system," said Jones, of Minneapolis, a member of Organizing for Action. The non-profit group, an offshoot of President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, aims to support his national agenda (Richert, 9/9).

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