Today's headlines detail how the federal government has been shutdown as a result of the ongoing congressional battle over the health law. Still, even as House and Senate lawmakers were unable to overcome this issue to reach a deal to provide funding to continue government operations, Oct. 1 is still the official launch of the overhaul's online insurance marketplaces.
Kaiser Health News: Millions Previously Denied Insurance Coverage Because Of Health Problems Look To Online Marketplaces
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in collaboration with McClatchy, reports: "Denise Marshall of Sonoma, Calif., was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011 and a year later, lost her toy company job along with her health insurance benefits. The good news is that her disease was caught early and she is now in remission. The bad news was her cancer diagnosis made it impossible to buy coverage because insurers thought she was too high a health risk. Marshall, 55, is one of millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions who have been shut out from buying coverage on the individual insurance market. But under the Affordable Care Act., starting Jan. 1 insurers can no longer reject people, charge them more or restrict their benefits because of their health status" (Galewitz, 9/30). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Start Your Exchange Shopping Early, But Don't Rush To Buy
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews reports: "In recent months, all eyes have been focused on today, the day health insurance marketplaces open for business. While the date is a milestone in the implementation of the health law, other dates are likely more critical for consumers planning to shop for health insurance on their state marketplace" (Andrews, 9/30). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Options For Young Adults: Stay On The Folks' Plan, Move To The Marketplace Or Go Without
Reporting for Kaiser Health News in collaboration with NBC News, Michelle Andrews writes: "In 2014, options for young adults, many of whom either aren't offered health insurance at their jobs or can't afford it, will expand again with the opening of the state health insurance marketplaces and the expansion of the Medicaid program to low-income adults in many states. Here's what to look for" (Andrews, 10/1). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Marketplace Shoppers Must Pay 1st Premium By Dec. 15; Answers To Your Online Health Insurance Exchanges Questions
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Phil Galewitz reports on when the first premium payments will be due for new coverage purchased on the exchange: "When consumers start shopping for coverage through new federally run health insurance exchanges on Tuesday, they will be asked dozens of questions before they are shown what health plans are available and how much they cost. Then, to finalize their enrollment, they must contact the private insurer and pay their first monthly premium. If enrollees don't pay their insurer by Dec. 15, they will not have coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, federal health officials said Monday. If they miss that first deadline, however, open enrollment runs through March 2014" (Galewitz, 9/30).
Also on the blog, you can watch Galewitz Monday on C-SPAN's Washington Journal taking questions about the launch of the health law's online health insurance exchanges (9/30). Check out what else is on the blog.
Kaiser Health News also provides a resource page designed to help you navigate your way around what the new health law will mean for you, your family and what health care -- and insurance -- will cost you.
Los Angeles Times: Government Shutdown: House Seeks Conference With Senate
An hour after the federal government began shutting down, House Republicans approved a last-ditch effort early Tuesday seeking to set up a committee with the Senate to resolve their monumental differences over Obamacare. … Although Democratic leaders said they would be willing to work with the House to resolve the differences, they said they would only agree to form a committee after the House approved a government funding bill that was not linked to stopping the president's healthcare law (Mascaro and Memoli, 9/30).
The New York Times: Government Shutting Down In Impasse
A flurry of last-minute moves by the House, Senate and White House late Monday failed to break a bitter budget standoff over President Obama's health care law, setting in motion the first government shutdown in nearly two decades. … In the hours leading up to the deadline, House Republican leaders won approval, in a vote of 228 to 201, of a new plan to tie further government spending to a one-year delay in a requirement that individuals buy health insurance. The House proposal would deny federal subsidies to members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff, executive branch political appointees, White House staff, and the president and vice president, who would be forced to buy their health coverage on the Affordable Care Act's new insurance exchanges. But 57 minutes later, and with almost no debate, the Senate killed the House health care provisions and sent the stopgap spending bill right back, free of policy prescriptions (Weisman and Peters, 9/30).
Los Angeles Times: With Congress At Impasse, Government Starts Shutting Down
The official word to shut down came from the White House just before midnight Monday. Hours earlier, the Senate, by a 54-46 party-line vote, killed a House measure that would have funded government agencies for six weeks but delayed key parts of Obamacare for a year. It was the second such vote that the Senate took during a day in which the two chambers exchanged volleys of legislation with little expectation that any of it would become law (Mascaro and Memoli, 9/30).
The Wall Street Journal: Government Shuts Down As Congress Misses Deadline
On Capitol Hill, a day of rapid-fire legislative maneuvering between Senate Democrats and House Republicans over the terms of a short-term spending bill collapsed late Monday. House Republicans said they planned to appoint a set of negotiators to work out a budget resolution with a small group with senators. But the GOP move came with no concessions on the party's central demand-;that Democrats agree to scale back the new federal health law-;and it brought lawmakers no closer to reaching a budget deal (Hook and Peterson, 10/1).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Long-Running Feud Over Obama Health Care Law Plunges Nation Into Government Shutdown
The health care law itself was unaffected as enrollment opened Tuesday for millions of people shopping for medical insurance (10/1).
Los Angeles Times: Government Shutdown: Obama Calls House GOP Irresponsible
Speaking for several minutes without taking questions, the president outlined the functions that would continue in a shutdown – including Social Security, Medicare, national security and public safety – and those that would be curtailed, including national parks, NASA, federal lending programs and recovery efforts helping victims of Superstorm Sandy. Obama said the impact would be a setback to a recovering economy. … The president also noted that, despite Republican efforts to kill his healthcare law, the online insurance marketplaces will roll out Tuesday as scheduled. "The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can't shut it down," he said (Hennessey, 9/30).
USA Today: Obama: A Shutdown, A Health Care Law
President Obama spends the first day of a partial government shutdown talking about the issue at the heart of the dispute: The new health care law. At mid-day, Obama will meet with Americans who are signing up for new health care exchanges that are available today. "The President will meet with Americans who will benefit from the opening of Health Insurance Marketplaces and being able to comparison shop for the health plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act," says the White House schedule (Jackson, 10/1).
Los Angeles Times: Full Steam Ahead For Obama Healthcare Law
Three and a half years after President Obama signed his landmark healthcare law, his administration made its final preparations Monday to begin enrolling millions of Americans in health insurance amid persistent anxiety over possible technical problems and intense opposition from Republican critics. Administration officials emphasized that a government shutdown would not prevent the federal website for enrolling in health coverage -; http://www.healthcare.gov -; from going live at 8 a.m Eastern time Tuesday, allowing consumers to begin signing up for plans (Levey, 9/30).
The Washington Post: As Government Shuts Down, Obamacare Moves Forward
The day has arrived when millions of uninsured Americans have their first chance to sign up for what the administration says will be high-quality, affordable health coverage. That achievement is something presidents of both parties sought unsuccessfully for more than 60 years. The coming months and years will show whether the new health-care law, commonly known as Obama¬care, lives up to its aspirations. Those who sign up now, for instance, will not begin to receive benefits until January (Tumulty, 10/1).
The Wall Street Journal: Health Exchanges Open For Business
New marketplaces meant to steer millions of uninsured Americans to health insurance under President Barack Obama's signature health-care law open for business today. After a weeks long scramble by state and federal officials to iron out technical wrinkles and position thousands of outreach workers, the marketplaces are set to launch, warts and all, giving the public a first taste of the health law's core provisions (Weaver, 10/1).
The Wall Street Journal: Muted Rollout For Much-Changed Health-Care Law
It's Oct. 1 and the Affordable Care Act is finally getting its rollout, but President Barack Obama's health-care law looks a lot different from the one he signed 31/2 years ago. Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, about half the states aren't participating in a Medicaid expansion that was a core part of the legislation. The federal government is running the bulk of new marketplaces for health insurance, not the states as originally envisioned. And some of the key provisions are delayed, including one that makes larger businesses pay a fine if they don't offer coverage (Radnofsky, 9/30).
Politico: Obama: Expect Months Of 'Glitches'
President Barack Obama on Monday said he "absolutely" expects glitches and problems with Obamacare as enrollment kicks off Tuesday. But even with the inevitable complications and issues that accompany the new health insurance exchanges, the president told NPR News he is "confident" the law will offer "the prospect that any American out there who does not currently have health insurance can get high-quality health insurance" (Weinger, 10/1).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Agencies Set To Implement Health Law, Shutdown Or No
A Department of Health and Human Services memo says staffers helping to get the Affordable Care Act off the ground won't be furloughed along with other federal workers. That includes employees who are helping with "coordination between Medicaid and the Marketplace, as well as insurance rate reviews," according to the memo. Although Congress is fighting about funding for the law known as Obamacare, a government shutdown wouldn't actually stop the law from being implemented Tuesday. That's because the principal funding for the Affordable Care Act comes from mandatory spending rather than a short-term extension to discretionary spending that Congress is considering now (Schatz, 9/30).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Insurance Marketplaces Open For Coverage, But Their Success Remains Far From Assured
Millions of Americans will be able to shop for the first time Tuesday on the insurance marketplaces that are at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care reforms, entering a world that is supposed to simplify the mysteries of health coverage but could end up making it even more confusing, at least initially. Whether consumers will be pleased with the experience, the premiums and the out-of-pocket costs of the plans offered to them will finally start to become clear. Tuesday's rollout comes after months of buildup in which the marketplaces, also known as exchanges, have been both praised and vilified (10/1).
The Washington Post: White House Shows Off Web Site to Buy Health Insurance Under Obamacare
The Obama administration on Monday showed off the federal Web site, Healthcare.gov, where millions of Americans starting Tuesday will be able to buy coverage under President Obama's health-care law, promising it will be open for business despite congressional battling and widespread reports of computer problems. People seeking to buy health insurance on the federal marketplace will be able to enter personal information, including their incomes and Social Security numbers; learn how much government assistance they might qualify for, if any; search for plans by price and coverage level; and then purchase a plan directly from the insurance company (Somashekhar and Sun, 9/30).
USA Today: HHS Puts Final Touches On Exchange Sites Before Launch
Starting at 8 a.m., visitors to healthcare.gov, the federal government's health care website, will be able to navigate how to shop for and buy health insurance as part of the law, Sebelius said. … The stakes for the health exchanges are high, and there have been some stumbles on the way. In July, the administration acceded to the wishes of business groups and delayed the requirement that employers with more than 50 workers provide health insurance to their employee or pay a fine. Businesses had complained the tax and insurance requirements were too complicated and difficult to implement in time for the Jan. 1. Deadline (Kennedy, 10/1).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Consumers Will Need Personal Details, Financial Info, Basic Insurance Knowledge To Get Covered
Getting covered under President Barack Obama's health care law might take you more than one sitting. In a media preview, it felt like a cross between doing your taxes and making an important purchase that requires research. "Nothing like this has ever existed before," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (10/1).
Politico: Poll: Most Will Get Health Insurance
Asked whether they plan to get insurance when the requirement takes effect or pay the fine for not doing so, 65 percent of uninsured Americans said they would get health insurance, according to a Gallup poll out Monday. Twenty-five percent said they would pay the fine. Gallup also asked about the whether those individuals planned to use the exchange markets that launch Tuesday to buy their insurance. Almost half, 48 percent, said they planned to use the exchanges, 36 said they did not and 17 percent weren't sure (Kopan, 9/30).
The New York Times: House To Add Measure Cutting Health Subsidy For Congress
Conservative activists have framed the language as ensuring that Congress and the White House live under the same strictures as ordinary Americans under the health care law. In fact, the language would put poorly paid junior staff members at a disadvantage. Most people purchasing coverage on the exchanges will be subsidized by generous tax credits. Most Americans will still get their insurance from their employers who will remain subsidized by a tax deduction for the cost of that care (Weisman, 9/30).