KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

$600M For Health Law Implementation In President’s Proposed Budget

In the meantime, the budget also proposes $5.5 billion for "risk corridors" in 2015 to pay insurers who find themselves with a higher number of sicker and older people they must insure. Some call that program a bailout.

Kaiser Health News: HHS Seeks $600 Million For Health Law Enrollment Efforts
Just in case Congress doesn’t pass President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget plan, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services say they have other options for finding the money they need to implement the health care law (Carey, 3/5 ).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Health Budget Seeks Funds For Health-Law Rollout, Doctor Training
The Obama administration has asked Congress for about $600 million in new funds to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act in 2015, including work on the insurance-enrollment website HealthCare.gov. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that it will cost about a total of $1.8 billion to keep rolling out the president's signature health-care law. However, the administration estimates that about $1.2 billion will come from various taxes and fees that were created by the health law. Part of the law's funding comes from fees imposed on the pharmaceutical and health-insurance industries (Corbett Dooren and Burton, 3/4).

Bloomberg: Insurers' Obamacare Losses May Reach $5.5 Billion in 2015
Health insurers such as WellPoint Inc. (WLP) and Humana Inc. (HUM) stand to gain $5.5 billion next year to cover losses from Obamacare in a program the law’s opponents label a bailout. The money, outlined in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins in October, is designated to help insurers who find the cost of the law higher than expected, based on the percentage of older, sicker people who sign up compared with younger enrollees (Wayne, 3/4).

The Hill: Budget Allots $5.5B For Obamacare Program Decried As A 'Bailout'
The White House’s 2015 budget proposes spending $5.5 billion next year on an Obamacare program that Republicans have labeled a “bailout” of the insurance industry. The Affordable Care Act creates a temporary pool of money, known as risk corridors, to pay insurers who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients through 2016 (Easley, 3/4).

The Fiscal Times: $5.5 Billion For Obama’s Contested Risk Corridors
The president’s 2015 budget proposal includes $5.5 billion in new spending for a controversial Obamacare provision that Republicans have dubbed a “bailout” for insurance companies. Here’s how it works: If signups and pay-ups fall short of the administration’s anticipated goals of getting 6 - 7 million people to pay for Obamacare, with about 40 percent being young and healthy, the cost to insurers would explode. They would, in turn, pass those costs on to consumers in the form of increased premiums and deductibles. The “risk corridor” program establishes a safety net for insurers that don’t earn enough revenue in order to stabilize those premium prices under the health care law (Ehley, 3/4).

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