Obamacare implementation issues: Rollout resembles some of the problems of Medicare Part D

NPR examines how the implementation of that last big government health program might offer lessons for the health law. Also, two stories explore outreach to people needing insurance and the grocery chain Wegmans reportedly is cutting health benefits to part-time workers.

NPR: Messy Rollout Of Health Law Echoes Medicare Drug Expansion
It hasn't been a good week for the Affordable Care Act. After announcements by the administration of several delays of key portions of the law, Republicans returned to Capitol Hill and began piling on. "This law is literally just unraveling before our eyes," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee. ... [But] "About this time in 2005, the percentage of people who had an unfavorable opinion of the law was actually higher than those who had a favorable opinion," says Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute (Rovner, 7/12).

The Associated Press: Q&A: Latest Health Law Fight: Battle Of Mandates
The battle of the mandates is the latest clash in the long-running political fight over health care -; a fight that's far from over. Under President Barack Obama's big overhaul, most people will be required to have insurance starting next Jan. 1, and larger businesses were supposed to offer affordable health care to their employees who average 30 hours of work a week. Here are some questions and answers in the aftermath of the administration's sudden delay of the employer mandate. ... Most people are unaffected because they already have coverage (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/12).

Related, earlier KHN story: FAQ: What Workers And Employers Need To Know About The Postponed Employer Mandate (7/3)

The Hill: Wegmans Grocery Chain Cuts Healthcare For Part-Time Workers
The Wegmans supermarket chain has stopped offering health insurance to its part-time employees, according to a report in The Buffalo News. The popular chain had previously offered coverage to employees who worked at least 20 hours per week. But the company has dropped that benefit, citing President Obama's healthcare law, employees told the News. The healthcare law requires large employers to offer insurance to all employees who work more than 30 hours per week. The Obama administration announced last week that it would not enforce the requirement until 2015 (Baker, 7/11).

Kaiser Health News: Connecting Minnesota's Latino Community To Health Care
When Samuel Alcocer arrived at the reception desk of a North Minneapolis clinic with a swollen cheek in 1996, he was desperate for relief. One of his wisdom teeth had erupted into a throbbing, painful ache. At the time, Alcocer, a native of Santa Cruz in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, spoke no English. No one at the clinic spoke Spanish. ... [Latinos] are a big part of the state's uninsured population. One in eight Minnesota Latinos lacks health insurance (Stawicki, 7/12).

Kaiser Health News: Can Humor Sell Health Insurance?
The law's requirement that almost everyone buy insurance sounds like a marketer's dream – captive shoppers directed by the government to buy your product. But when the product is health insurance, there are undoubtedly some pitfalls: Customers may not love your brand. In fact, they may despise you. ... It's the perfect moment, says [James Percelay, the co-founder of the viral marketing firm Thinkmodo], for a little humor (Varney, 7/12).

Other news outlets reported on several other issues dealing with the law --

St. Louis Beacon: Obama, Congress Shifting Billions From Public Health Initiatives To Other Programs
An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but finding money for prevention can be elusive when it comes to health care. Case in point is what is happening with the federal health reform law. Unprecedented spending to prevent illness and improve public health is one key promise of the Affordable Care Act. ... But typical of the roller-coaster history of ACA, some of the money for this part of the program is being shifted, raising concerns that public health spending will be undermined in future years (Joiner, 7/11).

CNN Money: Computer Glitch Causes Latest Obamacare Delay
An Obamacare computer glitch could limit penalties for most smokers -- but at the same time raise insurance costs for younger tobacco users. It's the latest delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which largely goes into effect in 2014. According to Obamacare rules, insurers that offer plans on the new exchanges are prohibited from denying insurance to those with a preexisting condition. But they are allowed to charge more based on age and tobacco use (Pagliery, 7/12).

The Hill: Analysis: HHS Is No. 1 In Violations Of Anti-Paperwork Law
The American Action Forum (AAF) found that the Health and Human Services Department has violated the anti-paperwork statute more than any other department in the past three years. ... "HHS lacked the legal authority to compel the collection of information, but still imposed the paperwork," the conservative think tank's analysis said (Baker, 7/11).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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