KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Democrats To Sebelius: Confusion Over Health Law Persists

Politico reports that congressional Democrats shared concerns with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that seniors, among others, remain fearful about the health law's impact on their benefits. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times explores a loophole that could allow insurers to avoid some of the law's provisions for another year and The Associated Press reports the individual mandate exemption has been broadened for Native Americans.

Politico: Dems To Kathleen Sebelius: Seniors Confused On Obamacare
Congressional Democrats told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday that Americans are still very confused about the health care law — including older people who worry that Obamacare will change their Medicare. Sebelius went to the Hill for another update with Democrats on Obamacare rollout. HHS this week overhauled its website, focusing more on the exchange enrollment, which starts Oct. 1 (Cunningham and Haberkorn, 6/27).

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare Law's Renewal Loophole Divides Health Insurers
Ahead of next year's healthcare overhaul, some major insurers and consumer advocates want California lawmakers to bar companies from renewing most individual policies beyond Jan. 1. At issue is a loophole in the federal Affordable Care Act that enables health insurers to extend existing policies for nearly all of 2014, thereby avoiding changes under the healthcare law (Terhune, 6/26).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Exemption From Health Law's Individual Mandate Broadened For Native Americans
The Obama administration on Wednesday broadened an exemption for American Indians from the new health care law's requirement that virtually every U.S. resident has health insurance starting next year. New rules clarify that people who are eligible to receive medical care through the federal Indian Health Service will be exempt from the requirement to have health insurance or face fines from the Internal Revenue Service. The Indian Health Service, a division of U.S. Health and Human Services, oversees a network of clinics that are required through treaty obligations to serve all patients of Indian ancestry, even if they cannot document their federal tribal status (6/26).

CQ HealthBeat: Final Rule On Exemptions Similar To Proposed Rule
A final rule released Wednesday that outlines who would be exempt from health law penalties if they don’t have insurance coverage next year largely mirrors the proposal Health and Human Services made in January The 139-page regulation spells out who will be eligible to get certificates showing that they are exempt from the requirement to have health coverage. The penalties are one of the health care overhaul’s most unpopular features (Adams, 6/26).

And California Healthline looks at how the Supreme Court's decision one year ago upholding most of the health law has affected implementation --

California Healthline: One Year Later: What's Changed Since The Obamacare Verdict
Much has changed, certainly, since Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote to uphold the law. (Beyond those bettors' account balances, and the existence of InTrade itself, which mysteriously shut down in March.) Here's a look at how the Supreme Court's decision on June 28, 2012, affected five hot-button issues related to the health law (Diamond, 6/26).

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