What's New in Health Care Reform provides an overview of the past week’s news, updates, and commentary in health care reform and utilization management.
Obamacare Repeal May Finally Land on Obama's Desk
Obama, of course, would veto the proposal. But it would allow Republicans to finally say that Congress voted to overturn the health care law they've been railing against since it was signed into law nearly six years ago. Republicans have voted more than 50 times over the past five years to repeal Obamacare, with most of the attempts made in the House. Via Politico.
Health Year in Review: Moving Beyond Obamacare
Republicans started 2015 with promises of sending a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to President Obama’s desk – something the Senate is still working on in the waning weeks of this year’s session, albeit not a full repeal. Despite that rhetoric, Congress got more done in health this year, with support from both sides of the aisle, since the passage of Obamacare. Perhaps they had nowhere to go but up. Via Morning Consult.
Top Obamacare Official Makes Tweaks as Insurer Complaints Grow
To reduce turbulence in Obamacare’s fledgling insurance markets, the Obama administration’s top health official is pushing to get more information to consumers about what they’ll actually pay for health care, which can include out-of-pocket costs as well as premiums. The changes are meant to help people choose coverage that fits their needs when up-front premiums and out-of-pocket costs are added together, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said during an interview at Bloomberg News’s Washington bureau. Via Bloomberg.
Medicare Rules Reshape Hospital Admissions
The readmission penalties are at the forefront of a push to slash waste from the $600 billion Medicare program and improve care for the roughly 50 million seniors and disabled people it covers. Earlier this year, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the aim of tying 90% of Medicare’s payments to medical providers to quality or value measurements like the readmission rate by 2018 (pay wall). Via Wall Street Journal.
The Debate Over Health Care Reform
Health and Human Services secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, discusses the debate over health care reform with David Gura on “Bloomberg Markets.” Via Bloomberg.
UnitedHealth Announcement Could Have Impact on Hospitals
The announcement from insurance giant UnitedHealth about its possible exit from the health insurance exchanges may have repercussions for the hospital sector, Bloomberg reported. UnitedHealth Group's change of heart about providing subsidized insurance to tens of millions of lower and middle-income Americans, according to the wire service, may play a significant role in how hospitals fare in the coming years. Via Fierce Health Finance.
Health Care Mergers: Good, Bad, or Both?
The four largest health insurers in the U.S. control the majority of the insurance marketplace, and that has health care academics and industry experts debating the pros and cons of consolidation. Currently, the nation's four largest health insurers control roughly 80% of the private insurance marketplace, said Ed Howard, JD, president of the Alliance for Health Reform. In 2014, the health care sector witnessed a total of 1,299 mergers and acquisitions, a small jump from 1,035 in 2013. Via MedPageToday.
Persuading Young People to Buy Insurance is Major Challenge for Health Reform
You're 28 years old, making $16 an hour, working for a small business that doesn't provide health insurance. You have rent, a car loan, maybe student loans, and would like to have a few dollars for a social life. You rarely if ever need a doctor. Is spending $200 a month for health insurance worth it? Persuading someone that age and with that income to buy health insurance is a major challenge facing the Affordable Care Act as its third enrollment period is underway. Via Journal Sentinel.
Ratings of U.S. Health Care Quality No Better After ACA
53% percent of Americans rate the quality of health care in the U.S. as "excellent" or "good." This is similar to what Gallup has found since 2013, but is down from the more positive ratings of 2008 to 2012. Via Gallup.
ACA Problems Should Come as No Surprise
UnitedHealth Group's announcement this month that it will consider exiting the insurance exchanges in 2017 because of sizable financial losses on its exchange business was the latest in a series of blows to the Affordable Care Act. Other woes include sharply rising 2016 premiums for individual-market health plans, widespread complaints about inadequate provider networks, increasingly large deductibles and cost-sharing, surprise out-of-network bills, and consumer confusion about choosing a plan. Plus, there are worries about the sluggish progress in enrolling the remaining millions of uninsured Americans. But these problems should come as no surprise to long-time followers of the health care reform debate. Via Modern Healthcare.