Friday, January 28, 2011

Finally Friday Edition

President Obama appears today at the Families USA conference and will talk about health reform to an enthusiastic group of staunch supporters.

For those of us who can't be there, here's the news:

Dems say they are willing to tweak the health reform law, but how? They say they're open to malpractice reform, fixing the 1099 problem, but the GOP says they are not being concrete enough about what they are willing to do. Meanwhile, the 1099 fix now has 60 co-sponsors, which means it can pass the Senate.

HHS released a report saying that health insurance premiums will be 14-20% less in 2014 with health reform than they would have been without it. Rate increases are slowing, states are taking more responsibility for rate review, and the medical loss ratio rules (percentage of premium dollars spent on health care) will limit administrative expenses.

However, it's getting harder to find child-only health plans. Many insurers have stopped selling these policies because they now have to cover children with pre-existing conditions. However, some states have pushed back, and HHS says they are still talking to insurers about this.

Three insurers in California -- Anthem, Aetna and Pacificare -- have agreed to delay rate increases at the request of the new Insurance Commissioner. Blue Shield is the lone hold-out. The Commissioner had asked for time to review the rate increases and make sure they comply with the law. The Commissioner does not have the authority to reject the rate increases, so all he can do is ensure compliance with law.

Michelle Obama is lauding a health initiative by the US Army to improve health and nutrition.

And that's it today. A relatively quiet news morning. Enjoy! Jennifer

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