KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama’s Plan Puts Onus On Insurers

Insurance executives say they were caught off guard by the White House decision to allow them to revive canceled policies and many are worried about how to make it work.

The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurers Express Worries Over Obama Shift On Policy Cancellations
The president's move to placate millions of Americans on Thursday rattled health insurers, who said they were unsure how to revive canceled policies in short order. While companies had expected the White House to address the white-hot issue of policy cancellations, President Barack Obama's decision to let people keep their old policies undercuts years of preparations for the overhaul of the health-insurance market and introduces new uncertainties. Two senior insurance executives said they had not yet received any formal direction on how to carry out the change, and had only learned the outlines of the plan Thursday morning (Martin, Weaver and Kamp, 11/14).

Politico: Barack Obama's Messy Breakup With Insurers
President Barack Obama is breaking up with the health insurance industry again. He's had a love-hate relationship with the insurers ever since the early days of the health care reform debate. He yelled at them in public for giving people skimpy coverage, then slipped them a gift-wrapped box of chocolates — the individual mandate they wanted to gain millions of new customers. Even during the implementation of Obamacare, he has stuck with the industry (Nather, 11/15).

NPR: Insurers Aren't Keen On Obama's Pledge To Extend Coverage
Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK." It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been cancelling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry (Rovner, 11/14).

The New York Times: Obama Proposal Worries Insurers And Regulators
President Obama's effort to quiet a political uproar by suggesting on Thursday that consumers should be allowed to keep their current health plans met significant resistance from many insurers and state regulators, who said they had not been consulted in advance about the proposal, doubted it could work and feared it might seriously damage the new insurance marketplace (Abelson and Goodnough, 11/14).

USA Today: Chaos Ensues After Insurance Cancellation Reversal
President Obama's announcement Thursday that consumers can keep insurance plans that don't meet the Affordable Care Act for a year will only create chaos, insurance brokers, regulators and carriers say (O’Donnell, 11/14).

Bloomberg: Obama Health Plan Cancellation Fix Draws Cost Warnings
Just hours after President Barack Obama announced a one-year reprieve for canceled insurance plans, industry executives warned it would cost taxpayers and consumers while state officials split on their support for it. With only weeks until policies are due to lapse in 2014, there was skepticism the cancellations could be undone. Insurers said the move may threaten the viability of the new Obamacare exchanges by creating a parallel market operating under different rules (Nussbaum & Wayne, 11/15).

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