KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: April 20, 2010

Today's headlines highlight coverage of the political implications of health reform as well as action taken by the nation's two largest insurers to meet a requirement of the new health law early.

Capital Journal: No Health Bounce Yet For Obama
Four weeks to the day after President Barack Obama signed a historic health overhaul into law, Democrats haven't enjoyed much of a political bounce as a result. The question is: Does that really matter yet? (The Wall Street Journal).

Sebelius Gets 2 Insurers To Meet Health Requirement Early
The nation's two largest health insurers have announced they will start early to meet a requirement of the new health law: Letting young adults remain on their parents' health plans until age 26. That means potentially hundreds of thousands of students graduating college this spring won't face a several month coverage gap. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her department reached out to see if insurers would move quickly (NPR).

Insurers Act On Part Of Health Law Early
Thousands of college students scheduled to lose their parents' health coverage when they graduate this spring got a reprieve Monday from several major insurance companies (USA Today).

Benefit For Uninsured May Still Pose Hurdle
William Mann of Pittsburgh earns just enough to get by. He is 46, doesn't own a car, hasn't taken a vacation in three years and hasn't had health insurance for most of his adult life. He is just the kind of person who should benefit from the health care overhaul, and he is, in fact, eligible for heavily subsidized insurance that will cost him an estimated $1,845 a year, while the government contributes about $2,756. But Mr. Mann says he still can't afford it (The New York Times).

Obama Picks Donald Berwick Of Harvard To Run Medicare And Medicaid
President Obama formally announced Monday his nominee for administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, fulfilling widespread expectations that he would tap Donald Berwick, a Harvard University professor and leading advocate for improving health-care quality and efficiency (The Washington Post).

President Nominates Professor To Health Job
President Obama on Monday nominated Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a health policy expert, to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs health programs insuring nearly one-third of all Americans (The New York Times).

More Doctors Are Prescribing Medicines Online
Doctors are increasingly prescribing medications electronically, abandoning the traditional paper scripts that can result in drug errors due to hard-to-read writing or coverage denials by a patient's insurer (The Wall Street Journal).

Medical Marijuana Business Is On Fire
Denver has some 250 dispensary storefronts and Boulder, Colo., has more than 100. So far, the state has issued more than 66,000 cards that allow holders to purchase medical pot. Card demand is so high that there's a six-month waiting period (USA Today).

Australian States Agree To Health Plan
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and all but one of the country's states Tuesday agreed to an overhaul of the country's health care system, with primary responsibility for the nation's hospitals moving from the states to the federal government (The Wall Street Journal).

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