KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

ACO Rule Revisions Get Nod From Medical Industry Group

Also, Modern Healthcare delves into the projections for Medicaid growth under the 2010 health law.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Key Medical Industry Group Says Obama's Medicare Quality Plan Changed For The Better
An influential medical group's change of heart is boosting President Barack Obama's plan to use Medicare to promote higher quality, less expensive care. The American Medical Group Association represents premier organizations like the Mayo Clinic, the models for the proposed "accountable care organizations" in Obama's health care overhaul law. The networks of doctors and hospitals will collaborate to keep patients healthier (10/28).

Modern Healthcare: Medicaid Math — Fun And Confusion With Numbers
Pity the poor policymaker trying to make budget decisions based on expert analysis. New projections for Medicaid growth under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could be as low as 8.5 million people or as high as 22.4 million new enrollees. That assessment is fluid and differs from other recent projections (Evans, 10/28).

And, in other headlines, news outlets report on how health disparities present a challenge — even with the health law's mandate to address them; and, how the medical-loss ratio could take on political prominence.

Politico Pro: Experts: Disparities Beyond HHS's Reach
The health care reform law gives federal health officials a new mandate to address the fact that racial and ethnic minorities tend to be sicker than the rest of the population. But there are limits to what they can actually do about the problem. The root causes, public health experts say, are social forces such as poverty, poor schools and crumbling infrastructure that are outside the control of HHS. While there are some things HHS can do to improve minorities' access to quality health care, broadly addressing health disparities requires the department "to lead in areas where they have no authority," said James Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Feder, 10/31).

Politico Pro: Senate GOP Uses MLR For Attack Fodder
The medical loss ratio may not be the first thing that comes to voters' minds when they think of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans campaign operatives are trying to change that. While the health reform law has provided plenty of fodder for the GOP — think "death panels" and the individual mandate — new National Republican Senatorial Committee attacks exploiting the MLR show that the health reform law may be the gift that keeps on giving to Republicans (Millman, 10/28).

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