KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Resets The ‘Keep Your Insurance’ Pledge, Heads To Texas

President Barack Obama will be visiting an area -- Dallas County -- that has one of the highest concentrations of uninsured people in the nation. He is expected to urge Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch opponent of the health law, to follow the lead of other Republican state executives and pursue the overhaul's Medicaid expansion.

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Recalibrates 'Keep Your Insurance' Pledge
President Barack Obama has continued to recalibrate his promise that "you'll be able to keep your health-care plan" under the Affordable Care Act, adding new language to those oft-repeated words and arguing that those who are losing their insurance will end up with better coverage. The altered phrasing comes amid criticism that Mr. Obama didn't properly characterize the law since thousands of Americans are receiving notices that their health insurance has been canceled. The administration has worked to explain how events on the ground match Mr. Obama's assurances that the new federal law wouldn't force people out of their health plans (Nelson and Nicholas, 11/5).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Adjusts Pitch For Healthcare Law
While a team of techies tries to reboot the broken federal insurance website, President Obama is trying to retool efforts to promote the flailing healthcare law. The flawed launch of the new online marketplaces has forced Obama to spend time defending the insurance exchanges rather than selling them to a skeptical public, as he had planned. More than a month into the rollout, he has few bright spots to highlight and one big gaping hole to avoid: The website he planned to sell with the zeal of a late-night infomercial pitchman does not work properly (Hennessey and Mascaro, 11/6).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama To Pitch Health Care Law In Texas, Drawing Attention To High Rate Of Uninsured
Beset by hard-to-keep promises and a massive website failure, President Barack Obama is promoting his embattled health care law in the state with the highest rate of uninsured Americans in the nation, but also the state that has been among the most politically hostile to the signature initiative of his presidency (11/6).

USA Today: Obama Heads To Dallas For Health Care PR Blitz
President Obama heads to Dallas on Wednesday to make his case for uninsured Americans to enroll for coverage under the Affordable Care Act — heading to a city in a "red state" that the administration believes is prime to hear the president's pitch. Obama will be visiting an area that has one of the highest concentrations of uninsured people in the USA — with more than 670,000, or 28% of Dallas County's population, uninsured (Madhani, 11/5).

Stateline: Texas First In Residents Eligible For Premium Tax Credit Under Obamacare
Texas leads the nation in the number of residents eligible for tax credits to reduce the cost of buying health insurance on the new exchanges, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Texas has 2.5 million eligible residents followed by California with 1.9 million and Florida with 1.6 million. Vermont has the fewest number of residents eligible for the tax credits with 27,000 (Ollove, 11/5).

Politico: Obama To Pressure Perry On Health Care During Texas Visit
President Barack Obama plans to call on Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- one of the most prominent Obamacare foes in the country -- to follow the lead of a handful of other Republican governors and agree to the expansion of Medicaid in the state as he visits Dallas on Wednesday. "This isn't a political issue. This is about making sure people where they live have access to good quality, affordable health care," White House deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy David Simas said Tuesday as he previewed the president's trip (Epstein, 11/5).

Dallas Morning News: As He Touts Health Care Law In Dallas, Obama Will Urge Rick Perry To Expand Medicaid
President Barack Obama will use his Dallas visit Wednesday to take aim at both obstacles to his signature health care law. He will prod uninsured Texans to sign up. And he will pressure Gov. Rick Perry to relent in his refusal to expand Medicaid, a move that alone could lop 1.5 million Texans off the rolls of the uninsured (Gillman, 11/6).

Dallas Morning News: Abbott Suggests State Will Boost Requirements On Obamacare Navigators
Attorney General Greg Abbott hinted strongly Tuesday that Texas may impose additional training and background checks on "navigators" hired under federal grants to help people sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. A day before President Barack Obama was to meet with navigators in Dallas, Abbott said his office and the state Department of Insurance have found weaknesses in federal rules (Garrett, 11/6).

Meanwhile, the Obama administration faces positive and negative signs from recent polls -

The Texas Tribune: UT/TT Poll: Texans Like Parts Of Federal Health Law
Most Texans don’t like the Affordable Care Act, but big majorities like many of its components, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Overall, only 33 percent said they have a favorable opinion of the law that is widely known as Obamacare, while 54 percent have an unfavorable opinion, including 46 percent who said they have a “very unfavorable” view of it (Ramsey, 11/6).

The Hill: Interest In ObamaCare Rises Despite Problems
Interest in the Affordable Care Act has gone up since before its insurance marketplace launched last month, despite the problems plaguing HealthCare.gov. Forty-four percent of uninsured people in the U.S. view the new health insurance more favorably, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday (Shabad, 11/6).

Bloomberg: Obama’s 39% Gallup Rating Lowest Amid Health Care Fallout
President Barack Obama’s rating in the daily Gallup poll has fallen to its lowest level since October 2011 as his administration continues to be tarnished by the rocky debut of his health-care program. The Democrat’s approval rating stands at 39 percent in the survey, down since the start of October when the rollout of online health exchanges began (McCormick, 11/5).

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