KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Industry Continues To Give Thumbs Up To Overhaul

On Tuesday, "[p]rovider groups hailed the president's historic signing of the Senate's healthcare reform bill, which seeks to overhaul the healthcare system through the establishment of a new insurance marketplace, expansions to Medicaid and various insurance reforms," Modern Healthcare reports. The American Hospital Association president said, "While the path to universal coverage has been long, today we are closer than ever to reaching this important goal." The American Medical Association president said the bill means "32 million people will now have access to healthcare coverage" (Lubell, 3/23).

Insurers waited until after legislation passed to reverse course on the overhaul, Time reports. "The health-insurance industry, which spent months campaigning against Democratic health reform, has shifted focus in the wake of its passage, pivoting from opposition to making sure the new law succeeds beyond most expectations." For instance, they joined a campaign called Enroll America that will promote the overhaul and find coverage for uninsured people. The reason? Health insurers want more customers to spread the risk in insurance pools (Scherer, 3/24).

Meanwhile, "makers of medical devices ... may find the health care reform legislation signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama a bittersweet pill, for it both opens new markets and brings a new tax," NJBiz reports. "The legislation includes a proposal to introduce a 2.3 percent excise tax from 2013 on sales of almost all medical devices, excluding eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and everyday items bought at drug stores" (Shankar, 3/23).

Overall, "U.S. stocks finished strongly higher on Tuesday as Wall Street relished more certain footing with health-reform legislation signed by President Obama," MarketWatch reports (Gibson, 3/23).

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