OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Is ObamaCare reaching its targets?

ObamaCare isn’t achieving its primary goal of extending coverage to those who previously did not have health insurance, a new study found.

The survey released Thursday by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm found that only 27 percent of those who have selected a plan on the new exchanges didn’t previously have coverage. The Obama administration says 4 million people have selected a plan since the exchanges launched on Oct. 1, but has not said how many of those previously had coverage.

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At a healthcare industry conference on Thursday, Gary Cohen, a top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said it’s not something the administration has the ability to track. A CMS official told The Hill that it’s an important metric the agency hopes to be able to report on in the future. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

Targets, Part II: Some of the core groups that the Obama administration hopes to net in its enrollment efforts know little about the options available to them under ObamaCare, a new study found.

According to an analysis by the Urban Institute, young people, the uninsured and the poor who might be eligible for subsidies know less about the new healthcare exchanges than their older, insured and wealthier counterparts. For example, 22.6 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said they had not heard about the insurance marketplaces, compared to 16.4 percent of 35- to 49-year-olds and 11.5 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds.

Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

Medicare: Republican doctors in the House are joining the chorus of stakeholders urging the administration to drop proposed reimbursement cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA). The letter is part of a growing push against further reductions to private Medicare, which saw cuts last year and under the Affordable Care Act.

The Medicare agency proposed a 2 percent cut to plans in February that will be finalized on April 1. Supporters of the cuts argue they will fight waste, and note that Medicare Advantage receives more money on average per beneficiary than traditional Medicare. Opponents say the popular program will see real harm under further reductions. Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

SGR: Pressure is building on congressional leaders to hold votes to overhaul Medicare's flawed physician payment system before the end of March, when the current "doc fix" expires. A coalition of healthcare provider groups threw its support behind the push Thursday despite signals that lawmakers will resort to another patch this month rather than repeal the sustainable growth rate. Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

Mandate: The House will vote next week on legislation to delay ObamaCare's individual mandate and prevent a cut in Medicare payments to doctors. Republicans are putting the two bills together so that revenue generated by delaying the individual mandate could be used to pay for preventing a cut in doctor payments. 

Merging the two bills could make the vote particularly difficult for Democrats, who would be forced to support a delay of the mandate that people buy health insurance or face a penalty, in order to vote for the popular doc fix. Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill reports.

State by State:

GAO to audit Oregon’s busted ObamaCare site.

New Hampshire Senate OKs Medicaid expansion.

Republican Pennsylvania governor shifts Medicaid expansion stance.

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