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.
Health Care ‘Subsidies’ are More Popular than Medicaid
Maybe it’s the name of the benefit that matters. The term “Medicaid” is a lot less popular than the more generic idea of health care subsidies, according to a recent Morning Consult poll. Even Medicaid’s theoretical bad name isn’t that bad. Among registered voters, it appears that if people have an opinion at all, it is more likely in favor of help for the poor. Via Morning Consult.
Health Care Fines Press Millennials as Deadline Nears
Millions of young adults healthy enough to think they don't need insurance face painful choices this year as the sign-up deadline approaches for President Barack Obama's health care law. Via Associated Press.
Some States Look to Avoid Federal Obamacare Payments
By banding together, some states could minimize payments to the Obama administration for using HealthCare.gov technology. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a rule last year requiring that certain states essentially “lease” HealthCare.gov through a user-fee rate of 3 percent of the monthly premium the issuer charges for each policy plan—meaning that, for the first time, using the federal platform for state-based marketplaces won’t be free. Via National Journal.
Federal Spending on Health Programs to Jump 11%
Federal spending on major health care programs will jump by $104 billion, or 11.1 percent, this year, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. Those figures include a $24 billion increase stemming from a shift in the timing of certain Medicare payments from 2017 into 2016. Today’s CBO figures are a detailed version of the broader estimates published last week. Via Morning Consult.
Congressional Agency Reduces Health Law Signup Predictions
Fewer people than expected are purchasing health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law, a report confirmed. The Congressional Budget Office study said that 13 million people are likely to purchase policies through the Affordable Care Act this year, down about 8 million from estimates the agency made early last year. That's based on updated enrollment figures through last month. Via Associated Press.
States Simplify Medicaid Sign-Ups
Getting on Medicaid has never been so easy. In the past two years, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but even more have simplified sign-ups and renewals, according to a 50-state survey released. Via Kaiser Health News.
President Pushes Obamacare as Enrollment Deadline Nears
President Obama touted the successes of his signature health care law, just days before the deadline for enrolling in 2016 ObamaCare coverage ends on Jan. 31. “This is health care in America today,” he said in his weekly address. Via The Hill.
Inpatient Services Fall at Hospitals As Affordable Care Act Expands Insurance
Hospitals continued to report weaker demand for inpatient care even as the Affordable Care Act expanded coverage to millions of Americans, the latest data from the American Hospital Association show. Demand for hospital care, as measured by the total number of days of hospital care provided throughout the year declined by 1% in 2014 compared with the prior year, according to the Chicago-based trade group's annual survey of the nation's hospitals. Inpatient days have declined in recent years, dropping 1.6% in 2013; 0.9% the prior year and 1.3% in 2011. Via Modern Healthcare.
Check the Fine Print: Some Work-Based Health Plans Exclude Outpatient Surgeries
Libbi Stovall couldn’t believe it last month when she looked at the fine print in her company’s 2016 health plan, which supposedly meets the strictest standard for employer obligations under Obamacare rules. The insurance paid for inpatient hospital care, office visits and diagnostic imaging. But it provided no coverage for outpatient surgery, which accounts for two out of every three operations in the nation, according to hospital industry data. Via Kaiser Health News.
Study: GOP Win in Obamacare Suit Would Hike Spending
The House is challenging Obamacare’s “cost sharing reductions,” which are payments to insurers to reimburse them for picking up more of the cost for lower-income Obamacare enrollees. Even if the House wins the lawsuit, insurers would still be mandated to give extra help to lower-income people, they would just no longer get reimbursed by the government for doing so. Via The Hill.