KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

The Health Law’s Changing World Order

News outlets report on how consumers, employers and even providers are grappling with a score of emerging issues -- ranging from health care costs and demand to the challenges of trying to understand the complexities of the marketplace.  

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law's Impact Has Only Begun
On Jan. 1, the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect. Americans gained access to new health plans subsidized by federal dollars. Insurers no longer can turn away people with existing conditions. Millions are now eligible for new Medicaid benefits. But the federal law also upended existing health-insurance arrangements for millions of people. Companies worry about the expense of providing new policies, some hospitals aren't seeing the influx of new patients they expected to balance new costs and entrepreneurs say they may hire more part-time workers to avoid offering more coverage (Mathews, 2/18).

Politico: Who Will Help The Newly Insured? 
Newfound health benefits often come with newfound questions. But most states have either spurned or run out of federal funding for consumer assistance programs aimed at guiding Obamacare’s newly insured through the complexities of using their coverage. Some states with GOP governors never sought Affordable Care Act dollars for these programs. Most states that did have almost used up the federal cash and are struggling to keep programs afloat. Only 12 states and the District of Columbia now have active consumer assistance programs, and they’re basically on their own (Villacorta, 2/18).

The New York Times: Obama’s Vote-Getting Tactics Struggle To Find The Uninsured
The hunt for the uninsured in Broward County got underway one recent afternoon when 41 canvassers, armed with electronic maps on Samsung tablets, set off through working-class neighborhoods to peddle the Affordable Care Act door to door. Four hours later, they had made contact with 2,623 residents and signed up exactly 25 people. Many of their targets, people identified on sophisticated computer lists generated in Washington as unlikely to have health insurance, had moved away. Some were not home. Many said they already had insurance through Medicare, their parents or a job. A few were hostile at the mere mention of President Obama’s health care law (Shear, 2/18).

The Fiscal Times: ACA Awareness Lacking Among Low Income, Uninsured
Many Americans within Obamacare’s target market -- like young or low income Americans -- are still largely unaware of the president’s health care law.  According to the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, only about a third of all adults have heard either “some or a lot” about Obamacare. Those without insurance and/or below the poverty threshold were even less likely to know about the new law (Ehley, 2/18).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.