KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Exchanges Set To Launch Oct. 1 Amid High Stakes And Political Pressure

Politico predicts that Tuesday will be a split-screen day -- tracking developments related to the government shutdown and launch day of the health law's online marketplaces. Those who are watching the insurance exchanges note that it may be months after opening day, even years, before it's possible to assess how well they are working. 

Politico: As Government Shutdown Looms, Obamacare Exchanges Still Set For Launch
It's looking more and more like Tuesday will be a split-screen day: The government will shut down, and Obamacare will open for business. That's going to annoy a lot of Republicans -- because the ones who are pushing the shutdown are doing so precisely because they want to halt Obamacare (Cunningham and Nather, 9/29).

Los Angeles Times: As Key Parts Of Obamacare Kick in, Stakes Are High For Both Parties
The debate over President Obama's signature health care law enters a crucial phase this week as the real effect on consumers starts to come into focus after more than 3 1/2 years of partisan claims and counter-claims. For both sides in the protracted battle over what has come to be called Obamacare, it is a moment of political peril (Levey, 9/29).

Bloomberg: Obamacare's Latino Push May Give Democrats Political Edge
The battle over Obamacare is taking on political importance as Democrats hope a successful roll-out among Hispanics will further bind those voters to the Democratic Party and undermine Republican efforts to build more support before the 2016 presidential election. In California, where Hispanics will outnumber whites within a year, backers of the Affordable Care Act are ramping up outreach in places like Richmond, a San Francisco Bay Area city whose population is almost 40 percent Hispanic and where about 18 percent of residents live below the poverty line (Vekshin, 9/30).

The New York Times: U.S. Plans To Unveil New Insurance Options
The Obama administration plans on Monday to announce scores of new health insurance options to be offered to consumers around the country by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the United States Office of Personnel Management, the agency that arranges health benefits for federal employees, according to administration officials. The options are part of a multistate insurance program that Congress authorized in 2010 to increase options for consumers shopping in the online insurance markets scheduled to open on Tuesday (Pear, 2/29).

The New York Times: On The Threshold Of Obamacare, Warily
The insurance marketplaces that form the centerpiece of President Obama’s health care law are scheduled to open on Tuesday, a watershed moment for the Obama administration, but also a crucial turning point for millions of Americans who will finally get the chance to square the law’s lofty ambitions with their own personal needs. While some people desperate for coverage will need no persuading to sign up, for others the decision will amount to a series of complicated calculations that would challenge an accounting whiz, let alone an ordinary human (Thomas and Abelson, 9/28).

Kaiser Health News: Three Critical Measures Of Marketplaces' Impact Could Take Several Years To Assess
Rev your engines: On Oct. 1 people can start shopping for insurance on the new on-line marketplaces created by the health law. The first weeks and months will be closely watched, but many policy experts say don't speed to judgment on how well they are working. While people can enroll for insurance until the end of March, real assessments of these marketplaces will take months if not years (Rau, 9/29).

NPR: One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare
Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business. No one really knows who is going to sign up -- not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance? (Kestenbaum, 9/30).

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