Today's headlines include reports regarding the gathering storm as the White House and GOP lawmakers continue to hold firm in their positions regarding the looming debt limit. President Barack Obama says he won't negotiate while some Republicans are pushing for to defund, or at least delay, the health law's implementation.
Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Readers Ask: Will Premium Subsidies Come In A Lump Sum And What Happens When You Don't Pay Your Premium?
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews answers readers' questions about how online insurance marketplaces will work (8/27). Read the answers.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Colo. Insurance Commissioner Braces For Bumps In Road; Wash. Launches Ad Blitz Promoting Health Exchange; Video: How Will Obamacare Affect Employee Health Coverage?
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Colorado Public Radio's Eric Whitney, working in partnership with KHN and NPR, provides a report on how things are progressing for Colorado's health exchange: "Colorado, which is preparing for the Oct. 1 launch of its new online insurance marketplace, expects bumps in the road as residents start enrolling in new health coverage options created by the Affordable Care Act. 'We're going to have 500,000 new customers,' said Marguerite Salazar, the state's new insurance commissioner, during an Aug. 19 interview – her second day on the job. 'Just think of how many possibilities there are for things to go wrong there.' She has great faith in the staff she's now leading at Colorado's Division of Insurance, she said, but is realistic about the big changes that are coming" (Whitney, 8/27).
In addition, reporting for the Seattle Times in partnership with Kaiser Health News, Amy Snow Landa writes about new health exchange ads in Washington state: "With five weeks left until Washington state launches its online health-insurance exchange, many residents may have heard little about the program designed to offer coverage to the uninsured. That's begun to change. The state began rolling out the first phase of its ad campaign last week to let the public know about the exchange, a central part of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare" (Landa, 8/26).
Also on Capsules, watch video of KHN's Jay Hancock on C-SPAN's Washington Journal Monday morning as he takes viewers' questions about how the health law will affect employee health coverage offered by employers (8/26). Check out what else is on the blog.
The Washington Post: U.S. Faces Mid-October Deadline To Raise Debt Limit
Republicans are demanding significant new spending cuts in exchange for increasing the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit, with some GOP lawmakers insisting on a delay or the scrapping of President Obama's signature health-care law. Obama, meanwhile, says he will not negotiate on the debt limit, the government's legal cap on borrowing. With the two sides far apart, there is no clear path to resolving the differences. Not raising the limit would ultimately lead to a default, undermining the nation's credit (Goldfarb, 8/26).
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Treasury To Hit Debt Limit In Mid-October
The White House has spent several months working with a small group of Republican senators to discuss a budget agreement that some Democrats had hoped would clear the way for an increase in the debt ceiling. Those talks have not progressed beyond an early stage, people familiar with the process have said. House GOP leaders haven't disclosed their strategy for dealing with the debt-ceiling deadline, focusing instead on what to do to avoid a partial government shutdown at the end of next month. They have held talks with rank-and-file members over a proposal to fund the government at existing levels for the next two or three months, a proposal that many Democrats have indicated they could reluctantly accept. A vocal minority of Republicans, however, have said they would vote for a budget bill only if the White House's health-care law is defunded, a demand Democrats wouldn't accept-;setting up a clash that could make it more difficult to reach a bipartisan agreement (Paletta, 8/26).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Treasury Secretary Says U.S. Will Hit Debt Limit In Mid-Oct, Urges Congress To Raise It
Lew said it's impossible for Treasury to predict exactly when borrowing limit will be reached. But he warns that if action isn't taken soon, the government could be left with $50 billion in cash by mid-October. He says that wouldn't be enough to cover Social Security payments, military personnel salaries, Medicare and other programs for an "extended period" (8/26).
Politico: Debt Limit To Be Hit By Mid-October
The deadline, sooner than what some forecasters had estimated, comes amid concern that Congress has no plan for handling the needed increase to the government's borrowing authority. The Obama administration has said it will not negotiate over raising the debt limit, while Republicans have a long list of demands, including revising President Barack Obama's signature health-care law (Faler, 8/26).
Los Angeles Times: Long-Term Deficit Is Chief Fiscal Problem Facing U.S., Survey Says
Many economists believe deficits in the 2020s and 2030s are a more pressing issue than current deficits or those that will be racked up in the next decade, according to a survey by the National Assn. for Business Economics. Economists were mixed on how to fix the long-term problem, which will be exacerbated by aging baby boomers who will increasingly rely on Social Security payments and Medicare (Li, 8/26).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Survey Of Business Economists Calls Deficits In 2020s And 2030s The Biggest US Fiscal Problem
The NABE said 39 percent of those surveyed felt the best way to address the deficit-to-gross domestic product ratio in the next few decades is a mix of spending restraint and increased revenue. It said 32 percent believe the best single tool would be greater spending restraint, and 20 percent said enacting policies designed to encourage economic growth would be the best tactic. Ballooning costs for Social Security and Medicare as the U.S. population ages are expected to result in growing long-term budget deficits (8/26).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Conservatives Group To Run Radio Ad Challenging Senate GOP Leader McConnell On Health Care Law
A conservative group is launching a radio ad challenging Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to oppose any money for President Barack Obama's health care law even if it means triggering a government shutdown. The Senate Conservatives Fund is spending nearly $50,000 on the 60-second commercial that will begin airing on Tuesday in Kentucky, where McConnell is locked in a tough race for a sixth term. The GOP leader faces both a primary rival, businessman Matt Bevin, and a Democratic foe, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (8/26).
Politico: Paul, Cruz Plan Anti-Obamacare Rally
Obamacare opponents are planning a defunding rally for the first day lawmakers return from August recess and just three weeks before millions can start enrolling in coverage. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah), who have been leading calls in the Senate to defund the law in any spending bills, will headline the Sept. 10 Exempt America from Obamacare event, organized by Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica, along with other conservative groups (Millman, 8/26).