Alaska lawmakers took a step toward clarifying who will regulate the budding marijuana industry.Download AudioThe House passed a bill on Thursday that would help define a municipality’s role in regulating marijuana businesses, add marijuana clubs to the list of regulated marijuana businesses, and allow a municipality to develop some criminal penalties for marijuana.The bill would also enable established villages to prohibit marijuana businesses through an election or ordinance.The bill also clarifies some components of personal use: it would reiterate the ban on public consumption, and set a maximum household limit of 24 marijuana plants if there are three or more residents.An amendment proposed by Rep. Bob Lynn that would have lowered the household limit failed.The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The problems with the healthcare.gov website has put a hold on those plans.Bloomberg: Fumbled Obamacare Cools Cities’ Interest In WebsiteThe crash-plagued debut of the Obamacare website is leading cities and towns to pull back on plans to curb billions of health-care costs by sending retired workers to the federal insurance marketplace. Detroit postponed the shift of 8,000 retirees under the age of 65 in early November, a month after the healthcare.gov website opened to outages (Linskey and Christoff, 11/22).Insurance brokers are also expected to be affected by the website problems.The Washington Post: Insurance Brokers, Agents Also Caught In Healthcare.gov Technology WoesBrokers and agents say a host of technological problems is blocking their ability to help consumers sign up for coverage through the federal health insurance Web site. They say it is a particular problem for people with major health issues — those considered high-risk — because they are least able to weather a gap in coverage (Sun and Kliff, 11/22).CQ HealthBeat: Direct Enrollment Seen As Powerful Tool For Building Exchange Plan MembershipWith the federal insurance exchange website sputtering, industry executives and Health and Human Services officials are looking harder at added ways to build health plan membership, with “direct enrollment” a particular focus. It’s a potentially powerful tool, says one insurance expert, and if that’s true, it would be welcome news for the Obama administration, whose sign-up efforts thus far through the federal marketplace have bordered on the disastrous. But developing the approach isn’t going to happen overnight, analysts say (Reichard, 11/21).Doctors say they are concerned about plans on the marketplaces.Medpage Today: Docs Unhappy With ACA Exchange PlansAbysmal payments. Lack of information. Even questionable business practices. Those are all complaints physicians have had in the early stages of working with health insurance companies selling plans through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges. MedPage Today asked several attendees at this week’s American Medical Association’s interim meeting about their experiences with the new plan offerings. Responses from those with experience dealing with them on the whole weren’t positive (Pittman, 11/21). Some Cities Delay Plans To Move Retirees To Marketplaces For Coverage