KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Some States Slow In Implementing Health Insurance Exchanges

The Hill reports that the delays taking place in many states could put their legislatures at risk of handing over this aspect of the health overhaul to the federal government. Meanwhile, in a pair of articles, Politico revisits key political messages of the reform debate - "repeal and replace" as well as "death panels." Finally, other news outlets report on the role some noteworthy people could have on the measure's future: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Donald Berwick and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

The Hill: States Lag In Implementing Health Insurance Exchanges
State insurance exchanges are not being set up fast enough to meet the 2014 deadline set by the health care law, advocates and policy experts say. The delay means that a number of state legislatures are at risk of handing over the central component of the reform effort to the federal government, which will set up the exchanges for states that fail to do so. Governors in 10 states have signed laws that establish an insurance exchange - a new marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to buy insurance (Baker, 7/6).

Politico: What Became Of Repeal And Replace
When they took control of the House, Republicans could barely stop talking about their plans to "repeal and replace" the health care reform law. Six months later, they hardly talk publicly about those plans at all. And they're nowhere close to "replacing" the law (Haberkorn, 7/6).

Politico: 'Death Panels' Haunt Health Care Debate
It has been about two years since accusations of "death panels" began dogging Democratic lawmakers, and the charge persists as the health reform boogeyman. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services was forced to retreat from a regulation that would reimburse for "advance care" counseling, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) tarred the Independent Payment Advisory Board with a related accusation (Feder, 7/5).

The Washington Post: Medicare And Medicaid Chief In Race Against Time
Don Berwick, the administrator in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, was having dinner in Dupont Circle not long ago with five of his predecessors when the conversation veered to how long he could keep his job. In the realms of health care, his is a pivotal role: overseeing two entitlement programs that insure nearly one in three Americans, sheperding the profound insurance changes spurred by the new health care law and serving as chief cheerleader for better care at lower cost. A pioneer in improving medical quality, but a neophyte in Washington politics, Berwick ran into a buzz saw of Republican opposition over old academic writings when President Obama chose him for the task 16 months ago (Goldstein, 7/5).

The Wall Street Journal: House Republicans Scrutinize Kagan's Health Care Role
49 Republicans have asked the House Judiciary Committee to look into Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's supposed prior role in devising a legal defense of President Obama's health care overhaul, in hopes of warranting the justice's recusal from hearing any future cases related to the law (Lee, 7/5).

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