Today’s Headlines – January 4, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports that the Department of Health and Human Services gave seven more states the thumbs up to run their own health exchanges.

NPR: Bargain Over Fiscal Cliff Brings Changes To Health Care
The bill that prevented the nation from plunging over the fiscal cliff did more than just stop income tax increases and delay across-the-board spending cuts. It also included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs (Rovner, 1/4).

Politico: Health Care Guide To Debt Limit Battle
Congress’s most recent spending battle left the health industry with some nicks and scratches, but it’s leery of having to hand over even bigger savings in the next battle looming two months from now. From hospitals to doctors to insurers to drug makers, industry players are expecting they’ll come up in the mix as lawmakers search for ways to pay for another deal to avert sequestration and increase the debt limit (Haberkorn and Cunningham, 1/3).

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Politico: Jack Kingston Has Bipartisan Goals For ACA Funding
Rep. Jack Kingston wants to repeal Obamacare, and his ascension to the top of an Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over health funding puts him in a powerful position to leave an imprint. But the affable Georgia Republican — set to chair the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services in the new Congress — wants it known he’s not a saber-rattling, repeal-at-any-cost zealot (Cheney, 1/4).

Los Angeles Times: More States Cleared To Run Own Health Insurance Exchanges
The Obama administration Thursday cleared what could be the final group of states to open their own health insurance exchanges this fall, advancing a key goal of the 2010 healthcare law to provide Americans with new options to shop for coverage (Levey, 1/3).

The Washington Post: Plans For Health Insurance Exchanges Approved By White House For Seven More States
The Obama administration on Thursday approved plans by seven states to create health insurance exchanges, the new marketplaces at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. With this final round of approvals, the White House has signed off on blueprints by 17 states and the District to operate their own exchanges in 2014, as long as they continue to meet certain benchmarks over the course of the next year (Kliff, 1/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Seven States Clear Health-Exchange Hurdle
The Obama administration on Thursday gave conditional approval to plans by seven states that want to run their own health-insurance exchanges under the health-overhaul law. Among them was Utah, which already runs its own insurance exchange but would have to make significant changes to comply fully with the law, raising questions over whether the state will end up operating its exchange in October when open enrollment begins (Radnofsky, 1/3).

USA Today: Feds Approve Eight State Health Insurance Exchanges
The newly approved states that will run their own exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah. Arkansas will partner with the federal government for its exchange. Although states with Republican governors have fought the law, such as Texas, four of them — Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah — have created the exchanges (Kennedy, 1/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Admin. Gives Initial Go-Ahead For State Insurance Markets; 4 GOP-Led States On List
With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans just nine months away — Oct. 1, 2013 — the four GOP-led states became part of a group totaling 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have gotten an initial go-ahead to build and run insurance exchanges. Seven were approved Thursday (1/3).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: House Call: Democratic Caucus Adds Two Doctors
House Democrats doubled the number of doctors in their caucus with the swearing-in of California freshmen Raul Ruiz and Ami Bera, both of whom have signaled their eagerness to weigh in on health-care issues (Radnofsky, 1/3).