Birth Control Rule – Reflections on Reporting

As a public policy student, one of whose focuses is health care policy, I subscribed and am following health care news and analyses by the Kaiser Health News, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Care Payer and other sources. I admire these organizations’ excellent work in keeping the public informed on health care policy in the United States, and aspire to contribute to more awareness on health care policies once I graduate from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

In this article, I would like to point out what I would improve to the way Kaiser Health News reported on the Obama Administration’s birth control rule – regulation aimed at addressing some women’s unwillingness to make a co-payment transaction for birth control but instead have that covered by their health insurance. On the other side of the issue, religious-affiliated groups opposed to contraception and other employers opposed to contraception refuse to provide their employees with health plans that include such coverage. The policy alternative that the Obama Administration reportedly took was to “adjust Federally-facilitated Exchange user fees that insurers pay”  in an effort not to force insurers pay for the service.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) reported that “the insurer could offset the costs of those policies through an “adjustment” in the fees that will be charged to insurers participating in the health marketplaces.”

What readers would ask themselves immediately after reading the KHN article or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) fact sheet is why insurers would have to pay in order to participate in the state-based marketplaces, also known as exchanges. The New York Times explained it in a separate article. It turns out that these fees are established in an effort to promote competition in the insurance marketplace, and to pay for administrative costs. If the information in this article is presented in a more synthesized form in both the KHN article and the HHS’ fact sheet, both will look more informative and therefore more accessible to the reader.

What do you think?

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