KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Industry Insiders Analyze, Predict And Prescribe

Kaiser Health News checks in with former HHS chief Michael Leavitt while CQ HealthBeat details insights from another insider, Robert Laszewski.  

Kaiser Health News: Former HHS Head Offers His Insight Into The Health Law's Problems
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby talked with Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration,... Leavitt: "The administration needs to come up with the 60 percent workaround. That is, they’ve got to find a simple way to solve a complex problem, which will have imperfections for everyone. We did the [Medicare] prescription drug plan in 2006 and had lesser problems, but of a similar nature, where people were walking up to the pharmacy counter to get their drugs and their name wasn’t in the computer" (Appleby, 1/8).

CQ HealthBeat: No ‘Obamacare Death Spiral’ In 2015, Insurance Insider Says
The man who, more than any other person, has kept the press informed about the foul-ups bedeviling insurers since the launch of the health law’s online marketplaces says plans won’t jack up their premiums next year. That’s unexpected, given the series of blogs posted by industry consultant Robert Laszewski in recent weeks detailing how those problems are likely to swamp the exchanges with too many high risks (Reichard, 1/7).

Meanwhile, Bloomberg examines the latest health spending figures through the lens of the health law -

Bloomberg: Obamacare Tested By Recession’s Effect On Health Care
The U.S. recession remained a drag on health-care spending three years after it ended as a net of 9.4 million people lost private insurance coverage before key provisions of Obamacare had begun, a government report showed. ... The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s largest health-care expansions didn’t begin until this year, including private insurance for about 2.1 million new people and expanded Medicaid coverage for others (Wayne, 1/7).

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