By Jonathan Easley and Elise Viebeck - 10/28/13 08:30 PM EDT
President Obama on Monday touted a new report showing that nearly half of single, young adults could sign up for health insurance that cost $50 or less per month. “Less than your cellphone bill, less than your cable bill,” Obama said in an interview with Fusion. “And about 70 percent can get if for less than $100 bucks a month.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report found that many young people have access to cheap coverage under the healthcare law because of low-cost plans, federal discounts to make policies more affordable and the Medicaid program.
Upton bill unveiled: A key Republican lawmaker is floating a bill that would allow some consumers to retain healthcare plans that do not meet new coverage standards under ObamaCare. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) will introduce legislation that expands the Affordable Care Act's "grandfather" clause to include plans sold on the individual market in January 2013. Under the bill, health insurance companies would be allowed to continue selling policies available on and before that date. The story is here.
Microsoft wants to help: Microsoft offered to help fix HealthCare.gov but has not provided specific services yet, the software giant told lawmakers in a letter Friday. The House Oversight Committee sent letters to several technology companies last week to gain details on the little-described "tech surge" to fix ObamaCare's botched enrollment site. Microsoft replied that it has been in "limited contact" with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and private contractors since Oct. 1 on the topic of the sign-up system, and had offered its services to each party. Healthwatch has the details.
Making it official: The Obama administration officially delayed the sign-up date for ObamaCare coverage by six weeks in guidance published Monday. Read about it here.
Fact check: White House spokesman Jay Carney clashed with reporters at a briefing on Monday over President Obama’s claim that under the Affordable Care Act “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” The remark came under renewed scrutiny on Monday, after David Axelrod seemed to acknowledge that, contrary to White House claims, not everyone will get to keep their existing healthcare plans under ObamaCare. The president has repeatedly insisted that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” But since its implementation earlier this month, thousands of people have been notified that they’ll be losing their healthcare policies because they don’t comply with Affordable Care Act requirements. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.
Blame game: Three House Republicans sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday asking her to clarify a remark in which she appeared to hold GOP lawmakers partially responsible for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout. The lawmakers said that Sebelius is seeking to “blame House Republicans and the government shutdown for your failure to provide a workable product,” and asked her to respond to nine questions about how and when HealthCare.Gov was tested, if a delay was ever considered, what last-minute changes were made and who authorized them. Sebelius has been touring the country promoting HealthCare.Gov despite the myriad technical issues that have plagued the site. At a press conference in Austin, Texas, last week, she pointed to consistent opposition by House Republicans to the Affordable Care Act as one of the reasons for the bumpy rollout. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.
Bigfooting: President Obama will hold a healthcare event in Boston on Wednesday, the same day Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is slated to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. That will be the first time the embattled secretary fields questions from congressional Republicans since the rocky rollout of the ObamaCare website. The president’s counter-programming will take place at Faneuil Hall, the 18th-century marketplace where former Massachusetts Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed that state's insurance law. Justin Sink at The Hill reports.
Department of Reimbursements: Five House Democrats are asking the Obama administration to seek a refund from the companies that built the ObamaCare website, which has so far failed to work for most people trying to sign up for health insurance. The letter was sent to Attorney General Eric Holder just days before the House is scheduled to hold two hearings on the failed ObamaCare rollout. On Tuesday, House Ways and Means will meet with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, and on Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce will hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.
The House Ways and Means Committee will host Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Adminsitrator Marilyn Tavenner to testify about ObamaCare's rollout.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a roundtable on research collaboration on aging-related diseases.
State by State
Idaho exchanges careen from crisis to crisis, The Idaho Statesman reports.
The New York Times reports on Monday’s decision by a federal judge to block an important part of Texas’s new abortion law.
The San Jose Mercury News profiles the man tasked with rolling out California’s healthcare exchange.
Kentucky's governor says the federal healthcare law will be fine and everybody needs to “chill out” about it, The Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
Community colleges in Maryland are capping the hours worked by adjunct faculty to avoid paying for instructor’s health insurance, The Baltimore Sun reports.
ObamaCare problems go much deeper than just the website, writes Ezra Klein at The Washington Post.
Dana Perino at Fox News has some tips for House Republicans on how to get substantive answers out of Kathleen Sebelius at this week’s hearing.
Scrapping the individual mandate is the wrong prescription, the Los Angeles Times editorial board argues.
Republicans are responsible for the healthcare mess, Sally Kalson at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes.
What you may have missed on HealthWatch
Republicans say ObamaCare failed to create exchanges in Arkansas.
Republicans will be gunning for Kathleen Sebelius this week.
HealthCare.Gov was back online Monday after a Verizon blowout temporarily took the site down.
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