Health Law Challenges: Birth Control, Grandfathering, State’s ExchangesThe Associated Press: Among the complications posed by the health law is the fight over "social mores" that will could be triggered by the possibility that free contraception will be made available to women as a result of its provisions. A panel of experts set up by the Institute of Medicine will meet in November to determine what types of contraception should be considered "preventive care" under provisions barring insurers from charging copays for such services. "But is birth control preventive medicine? Conflicting answers frame what could be the next clash over moral values and a health law that passed only after a difficult compromise restricting the use of public money for abortions." For instance, Catholic leaders maintain pregnancy is a healthy condition, and not subject to the need for "preventive care" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/31).
Los Angeles Times: Meanwhile, "[i]n another bid to help states implement the new healthcare law, the Obama administration Friday unveiled a new competitive grant program that will give five states money to develop Internet-based insurance exchanges. ... Administration officials said they hope the winning states will come up with systems that could serve as models for the remaining states." The grants follow awards of $1 million to 48 states and the District of Columbia to help set up the online market places Minnesota and Alaska refused the money (Levey, 10/30).
Also, "Under the new requirements of federal health care reform legislation, group health plans will be required to notify their members at the start of their next plan year whether they're in a 'grandfathered' health plan or not," The (Champaign, Ill.) News-Gazette reports. "That's because grandfathered plans are exempt from many of the changes being rolled out under the Affordable Care Act, and whether or not your plan is grandfathered stands to affect not only your coverage but how much you'll be paying for it. Under the new law, health policies purchased before March 23, 2010, are considered grandfathered, but group plans that want to keep their grandfathered status are going to be tightly restricted in terms of how much they can change benefits or raise expenses for their members" (Pressey, 10/31). This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.