Health Reform Notebook

A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform.

AKHR Notebook 2-28-14

Week of February 24 – February 28, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Tough road for states seeking customized Medicaid expansion

Pew States
Of the 25 states that already have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, all but Arkansas, Iowa and Michigan simply added newly eligible adults to their existing Medicaid programs.

Here’s how much your state is losing if it didn’t expand Medicaid

Huffington Post
A map indicates the net loss of federal funds by 2022, in millions, for the 20 states choosing not to participate in Medicaid expansion

Finding consensus on 5 ways to improve ACA

USA Today
There are several bipartisan improvements both fans and foes agree on.

Medicaid reform plan rules out privatization

North Carolina Health News
After a nearly yearlong effort, state health officials presented their plan for overhauling the North Carolina Medicaid program

Report: almost 4 million with mental illness won’t be covered in states that don’t expand Medicaid

Washington Post
States that decide not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will leave more than 3.7 million Americans with mental illness without health-care coverage

In final stretch, Obamacare equation is numbers, days and attitudes

Politico
Four million down. Two million to go. Five weeks to get it done.

Studies offer close-up look at medical home model

Modern Health Care
The difficulty in precisely measuring the benefits of the patient-centered medical home model comes across in two new studies offering seemingly contradictory insights on the concept.

Moderate Republicans unveil Medicaid compromise that expands coverage, dramatically reforms system

Bangor Daily News
A bill drafted by two moderate Republican senators, meant to be a compromise on the divisive issue of Medicaid expansion, was unveiled to lawmakers Tuesday.

AKHR notebook 2-21-14

Week of February 17 – February 21, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health centers see threat from “private option” Medicaid

Kaiser Health News
Medicaid reimburses health centers better than private doctors because federal law requires the centers be paid in relation to the actual cost of care they provide.

Corbett’s final Medicaid expansion plan: Gentler, but still an outlier

Kaiser Health News
The administration is sticking to its most controversial proposal: a requirement for work-search or job training.

Obamacare’s 30-hour workweek challenged by GOP

The Fiscal Times
Congressional Republicans will take aim at a provision in the law that defines “full- time employees” as those working 30 hours or more.

Arkansas’ private option Medicaid alternative bill fails again

Modern Health Care
The Arkansas House failed for the second consecutive day to approve legislation to fund the state’s alternative to Medicaid expansion.

Special collection on: Medicaid Expansion

State Refor(u)m
State Refor(u)m staff have put together a special collection of resources about Medicaid expansion activities across the country

Who will help the newly insured?

Politico
People who have never been insured or who have had long gaps in coverage are often bewildered by the jargon and process

Virginia Senate panel proposes alternative to Medicaid expansion

Washington Post
Instead of expanding Medicaid as it has traditionally operated, the Senate Finance Committee proposed helping up to 400,000 Virginians buy private insurance through a program that would be known as “Marketplace Virginia.”

New York gets $8 billion Medicaid waiver

Modern Health Care
New York’s Medicaid overhaul is expected to save the program $17 billion by the end of 2015, according to state estimates.

AKHR Notebook 2-13-14

Week of February 10 – February 13, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Report: Nearly 3.3 Million Americans have enrolled in private Obamacare plans

Kaiser Health News
About 25 percent of people signing up for coverage through January were between the ages of 18 and 34 in the 36 states served by the federal marketplace

Medicaid expansion is expected to strain mental health services

McClatchy
Higher rates of mental health and substance abuse disorders will be difficult to treat due to a lack of counselors and behavioral therapists who accept Medicaid patients.

Some small firms see little relief in latest health-law delay

Wall Street Journal
Small and midsize businesses stand to benefit the most from the latest delay in the health law’s employer insurance requirement.

CBO report highlights how insurance reform is changing workers’ choices

Modern Health Care
The CBO report discussed the complex decisions Americans make about employment and health coverage and how those dynamics are changing because of the ACA.

Questions and answers on the latest ACA delay

Kaiser Health News
The change doesn’t affect that many companies. And it delivers a new talking point to opponents who say the law is unworkable

AKHR notebook 2-7-14

Week of February 3 – February 7, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

State Senate leaders announce bipartisan Medicaid expansion deal

Union Leader
A bipartisan group of Senate leaders in New Hampshire announced a compromise agreement that would bring expanded health insurance coverage to about 50,000 residents

Model Arkansas way of expanding Medicaid at risk

Washington Post
As Republican lawmakers face election season, the state that pioneered the private option is on the brink of abandoning it.

Half the nation’s uninsured live in just 116 counties.

Washington Post
Half of those under 65 without insurance live in just 116 of the nation’s 3,143 counties.

Reining in health care costs key to trimming deficit

NPR
The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week said this year’s deficit is likely to be about one-third the size it was in 2009

Insurers eye market for supplemental health coverage to fill gaps left by Obamacare, employer plans

Kaiser Health News
As out-of-pocket medical costs grow for many Americans, the insurance industry is offering a way to help and, at the same time, expand its business

Experts: Moving new Medicaid patients out of ER will take time

Kaiser Health News
People tend to use health care more after they obtain coverage, and those unfamiliar with a traditional doctor-patient relationship may stick with what’s familiar.

Texas Medicaid tiptoes toward care coordination

Modern Health Care
Texas may not be expanding Medicaid to cover any of its millions of uninsured, but Gov. Rick Perry’s administration has embarked on an innovative care-coordination program for existing Medicaid beneficiaries.

AKHR Notebook 1-31-14

Week of January 27 – January 31, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Joining GOP trend, US Chamber of Commerce urges fix, not repeal, of Obamacare

Kaiser Health News
Some influential conservatives are now saying the health care law is too entrenched to repeal.

Small ideas for saving big health care dollars

Rand Corporation
A focused review of recent RAND Health research identified small ideas that could save the U.S. health care system $13 to $22 billion per year, in the aggregate, if successfully implemented.

Opting out of Medicaid Expansion: The health and financial impacts

Health Affairs
The Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to opt out of Medicaid expansion will have adverse health and financial consequences.

Affordable care act will improve incomes of Americans in bottom fifth of income distribution

Brookings Institute
Aaron and Burtless find sizeable income gains in the bottom quarter of the income distribution offset by small losses spread across higher income groups.

Medicaid waivers’ role in innovation, coverage expansion

Pew States
Some states want to expand Medicaid, but in their own way.

AKHR Notebook 1-24-14

Week of January 20 – January 24, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Medicaid and financing health care for individuals involved with the criminal justice system

Justice Center
A new brief from the Council of State Governments explores the ways that states are financing health care for individuals involved with the criminal justice system

Little-known aspect of Medicaid now causing people to avoid coverage

Washington Post
In certain cases, a state can recoup its medical costs by putting a claim on a deceased person’s assets.

Employers face tax hit in states with no Medicaid expansion

CNBC
The decision to not expand Medicaid coverage could cost some employers more than $1.5Billion in new taxes starting next year.

In Western NC, getting health coverage means getting creative

Kaiser Health News
Individuals in the “coverage gap” who don’t earn enough to qualify for a subsidy under the health law are finding creative ways to count income

Poll finds drop in uninsured rate

Modern Health Care
The nation’s uninsured rate dropped modestly this month as the major coverage expansion of the ACA got underway

Health care law affects those with insurance through work, too

NBC News
The ACA could touch everything from the drug choices to doctor’s bills of people who have insurance through work

Hospitals, physicians face mounting policy and market pressure to disclose prices

Modern Health Care
Growing pressure is forcing providers and payers to reconsider their longstanding opposition to price transparency.

AKHR Notebook 1-17-14

Week of January 13 – January 17, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Views on employment-based health benefits: Findings from the 2013 health and voluntary benefits survey

Employee Benefit Research Institute
Most workers are satisfied with the health benefits they have now and express little interest in changing the current mix of benefits and wages.

Healing health care

Commonwealth Magazine
Fixing a faulty website is hardly the biggest health care challenge facing the United States.

Health beyond health care: RWLF commission issues new report

Health Affairs
The nation must take a much more health-focused approach to health care financing and delivery by broadening the mindset from treating illness to helping people lead healthy lives.

MedPac policy could cut reimbursement for some home health agencies

Modern Health Care
Home health agencies with high readmission rates could see their Medicare reimbursement cut under a proposed policy

Legislative research predicts negative fallout from Medicaid expansion decision

Alaska Dispatch
Alaska Legislative Research Services concludes that Governor Parnell’s decision not to expand Medicaid in Alaska will have a variety of detrimental effects.

AMA fears privacy loss as Medicare moves to reveal doc pay

Modern Health Care
The American Medical Association is concerned privacy rights may be violated if new policies for informing the public how much money Medicare pays to individual doctors is not handled properly

GOP governors may still go for Medicaid expansion – and cash

Politico
Already seven states have approved Medicaid expansion with the blessing of their Republican governors

Outlook 2014: Obamacare, SGR repeal, ICD-10 and payment cuts top the list of challenges for healthcare players in 2014

Modern Health Care
This month marks the start of comprehensive health coverage for millions of uninsured, underinsured and insecurely insured Americans.

AKHR Notebook 1-10-14

Week of January 6 – January 10, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Healthcare employment drops for first time in decade

Modern Health Care
Healthcare shed 6000 jobs in December with payroll declines in ambulatory care and hospitals.

Most uninsured unaware of cost breaks for Obamacare

McClatchy
A whopping 69 percent of uninsured Americans don’t know about the tax credits and other assistance that will make coverage more affordable.

Wisconsin’s controversial Medicaid plan gets federal nod

Modern Health Care
Governor Walker won federal approval to expand Medicaid to childless adults under 100% of the FPL while shifting those between 100 and 133% to the marketplace.

US Chamber looks to fix, not repeal Obamacare

Modern Health Care
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has accepted that the ACA is here to stay and, rather than continue calling for its complete repeal, will work this year to change what it sees as flaws in the 2010 law.

Obamacare tested by recession’s effect on health care

Bloomberg
The US recession remained a drag on health-care spending three years after it ended.

The 2014 Obamacare tax wave

Politico
Starting in 2014, the Obamacare taxman is coming for insurance companies, wealthier Americans and tanning salons among others.

Healthcare.gov defects leave many Americans eligible for Medicaid, CHIP without coverage

Washington Post
More than 100,000 Americans who applied for Medicaid remain unenrolled because of lingering software defects in the online marketplace.

AKHR Notebook 1-3-14

Week of December 30 – January 3, 2014
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

2013 brought reform, gridlock, glitches and accountable care

Modern Health Care
Healthcare reform moved from talking point to reality in 2013 but its messy rollout provided a new stage for the American public, elected officials and all sectors of the healthcare industry to confront head-on their deep divisions over its sweeping ramifications.

Obamacare rallies from botched debut as 2 million enroll

Bloomberg
About 2.1 million people will have medical coverage as of January 1st after a late surge in enrollment.

Six things that may move public perception of Obamacare

Kaiser Health News
To help make sense of the challenges ahead for Obamacare, this article identifies 6 possible measuring sticks of the law in 2014.

Study: Expanding Medicaid doesn’t reduce ER trips. It increases them

Washington Post
As the health-care law expands Medicaid to cover millions more Americans, a new Harvard University study finds that enrollment in public program significantly increases enrollees’ use of emergency departments.

Missouri Governor pushes GOP-led legislature on Medicaid expansion

Kaiser Health News
Governor Nixon and a coalition of business, labor and health care groups pushed during the last legislative session to expand Medicaid to the working poor, but the bill was shelved by the Republican-led Legislature.

With new year, Medicaid takes on a broader health-care role

Washington Post
With New Year, Medicaid transforms— from a safety-net program for the most vulnerable to a broad-based one that finds itself at the front lines of the continuing political and ideological battle over the Affordable Care Act.

Health care changes to watch for in 2014

USA Today
Some of the changes in 2014 include how the law will effect elections, what the states will decide about Medicaid expansion and what insurers will do to react to their quickly changing demographics

Partners in health

Modern Health Care
Demand for people who can coordinate care and perform multiple tasks has skyrocketed in recent years as payers and providers turn to healthcare delivery models aimed at lowering costs by keeping people with serious chronic conditions out of hospitals and in their homes.

AKHR Notebook 12-20-13

Week of December 16 – December 20, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Expect to pay more for your employer-sponsored health care next year

Kaiser Health News
About 18 percent of large employers say they will increase worker’s payments towards family coverage next year

Another rule in health law is scaled back

New York Times
Millions of people will be allowed to buy catastrophic coverage and will be exempt from penalties if they go without insurance next year

What’s behind health insurance rate increases? An examination of what insurers reported to the federal government in 2012-2013

Commonwealth Fund
Routine costs, not requirements of the ACA, contributed to the majority of health insurance rate increases in the last year.

Minorities disproportionately represented in health care “coverage gap”

McClatchy
Minorities will make up 53 percent of the estimated 4.8million low-income Americans who will fall into the “coverage gap”

Plurality of insured blame health law for eroding coverage

Modern Health Care
Nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year

AKHR Notebook 12-13-13

Week of December 9 – December 13, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Analysts predict surge in health care enrollment

USA Today
Industry experts say the potential for higher enrollments comes from a huge pool of customers who are eligible for subsidies to buy insurance.

ACA enrollment rising, but not fast enough

Medpage Today
Enrollment numbers are still well off what they need to be to hit the target of 7 million enrollees

Iowa wins approval to expand Medicaid by using federal funds to buy private plans

Kaiser Health News
Republican Governor Branstad and state Democrats reached an agreement last spring to send the expanded Medicaid population to private health plans.

On health exchanges, premiums may be low, but other costs can be high

New York Times
As consumers dig into the details of insurance policies, they are finding the deductibles are higher than typical employer-sponsored plans.

Federal exchange sends unqualified people to Medicaid

USA Today
The federal health insurance exchange is incorrectly determining that some people are eligible for Medicaid when they clearly are not.

AKHR Notebook 12-6-13

Week of December 2 – December 6, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Study: Refusing Medicaid expansion will cost states billions of dollars

Washington Post
A new study estimates the decision not to participate in Medicaid expansion will costs states billions of dollars over the next decade – costs that will be passed on to taxpayers.

Health-care law’s critics see court case over subsidies as their last shot

Washington Post
Opponents of the health-care law took their latest legal challenge to a federal courtroom in a case many critics of the law view as their last and best chance to gut it before key provisions kick in on January 1.

In Kansas, a fight over developmentally disabled shifting to Medicaid managed care

Kaiser Health News
Kansas’ Medicaid managed care system will take charge of home and community-based services for about 8500 developmentally disabled people

Controlling health-care costs

New Yorker
From 2007 to 2010, per-capita health care spending rose just 1.8 percent annually. Since then the annual increase has only been 1.3 percent.

Public insurance is increasingly crucial to American families even as employer-sponsored health insurance coverage ends its steady decline

Economic Policy Institute
Most non-elderly Americans rely on health insurance offered in the workplace

AKHR Notebook 11-29-13

Week of November 25 – November 29, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Obama administration delays online insurance enrollment for small business

Modern Health Care
The Obama administration announced a one-year delay of online enrollment for small businesses looking to purchase healthcare for their workers on the federal insurance exchange.

State-run health insurance exchanges report November “enrollment surge”

Washington Post
By mid-November, the 14 state-based marketplaces reported data showing enrollment had nearly doubled from the previous month.

A plea to avoid crush of users at health site

New York Times
White House officials have urged their allies to hold back enrollment efforts while repairs to the website are completed.

Rick Scott’s Medicaid push stalled in Florida

Politico
Governor Rick Scott stuck his political neck out earlier this year to champion covering more his state’s poor residents by expanding Medicaid.

Republican governors gauge possible heat from Medicaid

Washington Post
Most Republican governors tout that they turned down Medicaid expansion, saying they don’t trust the federal government to keep their commitment to cover 90 percent of the costs in the future.

Health-law sign-up period extended for a week

Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration has pushed back the enrollment deadline from December 15 to December 23 for coverage that takes effect January 1.

ACA’s Medicaid enrollment fairly smooth

Medpage Today
It’s no surprise that Medicaid enrollment is going as expected and sign-ups outnumber those for private coverage by nearly 4-to-1.

AKHR Notebook 11-22-13

Week of November 18 – November 22, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Our View: Parnell wrong on Medicaid

Anchorage Daily News
Governor Parnell announced that he would not sign on to Medicaid expansion, citing the costs and his lack of faith in the federal government

Obama giving people more time to enroll in health plans

Bloomberg
Consumers can now sign up for health coverage as late as December 23 for policies that begin January 1 and open enrollment start in year two is pushed back to November 15, 2014.

Health law is dividing Republican Governors

New York Times
Republicans are planning on using the troubled health law against Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.

Scott Walker treads own path on ACA

Politico Pro
The Wisconsin Republican governor has drawn national attention to his ambitious health reform effort to cover the poor in his state without buying into the president’s health care plan.

Health insurers face an uncertain future

Kaiser Health News
It’s becoming clear that it may take some time for key aspects of the ACA to start working.

AKHR Notebook 11-15-13

Week of November 11 – November 15, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Parnell: Alaska won’t expand Medicaid

Anchorage Daily News
Governor Sean Parnell announced that Alaska will not participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

State releases Medicaid report after months of withholding

Anchorage Daily News
Governor Sean Parnell posted a copy of the state-paid Lewin Group study of Medicaid expansion in Alaska

Medicaid enrollment is health law’s bright spot

USA Today
Almost 400,000 people have learned they are eligible to enroll in the states’ Medicaid programs, and the numbers are high even in Republican dominated states that have chosen not to expand the program.

Capping Medicaid spending, raising age for Medicare among options explored in CBO report

Modern Health Care
The CBO Report offers several approaches for capping federal contributions including fixed block grants, average federal spending per enrollee and bundling payments.

Obamacare glitches shadowing Medicaid

Politico
The challenge applies to all states using the federal sign-up system. The website is supposed to place people in both today’s Medicaid program as well as the expanded one.

AKHR Notebook 11-8-13

Week of November 4 – November 8, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Compass: Medicaid expansion is right thing to do for Alaskans

Anchorage Daily News
Representatives Edgmon and Herron discuss the merits of Medicaid expansion and encourage Governor Parnell to move ahead with the expansion

Anchorage Chamber joins business organizations backing Medicaid expansion

Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce joined a handful of organizations who back the expansion of Medicaid in Alaska

Michigan asks feds for Medicaid expansion approval

Anchorage Daily News
The expansion in Michigan signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Snyder establishes individual health savings accounts for adult recipients.

White House map colors outside Medicaid lines

Politico Pro
The White House is broadening its fight with states over Medicaid expansion challenging them to cover millions of low-income people.

Enrolling in Obamacare in Alaska is possible – A computer degree helps

Kaiser Health News
Despite extensive problems with healthcare.gov, a few dozen Alaskans have managed to enroll in a health plan on the marketplace

Here are the five big reasons Obamacare is changing people’s insurance premiums

Business Insider
This article discusses the five big ACA phenomena that are creating winners and losers in the individual insurance market

17 million people eligible for premium subsidies, study finds

Kaiser Health News
More than a third of the estimated 17 million people who are now uninsured or buy their own health insurance live in three states: California, Texas and Florida.

For uninsured, clearing a way to enrollment

New York Times
Under the ACA, navigators or assisters are searching for the uninsured and walking them through the enrollment process.

AKHR Notebook 11-1-13

Week of October 28 – November 1, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Compass: Medicaid expansion, with conditions, is good business for Alaska

Anchorage Daily News
Alaska Chamber members recently met to adopt policy positions which included support for Medicaid Expansion

In first month, the vast majority of Obamacare sign-ups are in Medicaid

Washington Post
The first month of the ACA rollout has seen large numbers of people applying for an expansion of Medicaid

Coverage under health-care law may change – for the better

Washington Post
The reform underway is rooted in the notion that there is a certain catalog of health-care benefits to which all Americans should have access

Correcting five myths about Medicaid

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
As states consider whether to adopt Medicaid expansion, critics have circulated a number of myths about Medicaid.

More than 60,000 Arkansans have enrolled in the “private option” for Medicaid expansion

Arkansas Times
The private option in Arkansas has already reduced the number of uninsured adults in Arkansas by almost 14 percent

AKHR Notebook 10-25-13

Week of October 21 – October 25, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Consumers who sign up for health coverage by March 31 will avoid penalties under new Obama administration plan

Kaiser Health News
The Obama Administration has said that it would delay imposing penalties for six weeks on some consumers stuck in timing problems with insurance enrollment

State Chamber of Commerce bucks Parnell, backs Medicaid expansion

Anchorage Daily News
The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce listed Medicaid expansion as one of its top five state priorities.

Medicaid could be the next headache for Obamacare

Politico
On November 1 the health law’s enrollment system is supposed to send reams of data to states so they can begin placing thousands of people into Medicaid.

In some states, most early marketplace enrollees qualify for Medicaid

Kaiser Health News
In several states, most of the people enrolling through the marketplace are signing on to Medicaid.

Part-time work still up, but health law isn’t the cause

Wall Street Journal
There’s little evidence to support claims that the ACA is to blame for part-time employment numbers remaining high.

State considering private option for uninsured Virginians

Times Dispatch
Another state considers a private option which would use brokers to enroll uninsured adults in private health plans with commercial benefits at per capita rates that shift the risk of managing their care to insurers.

Nearly half million apply for US health insurance despite flaws

Reuters
Roughly half a million Americans have applied for health insurance through the new federal and state run exchanges

AKHR Notebook 10-18-13

Week of October 14 – October 18, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

What’s the deadline to avoid a penalty for not having insurance?

Kaiser Health News
Starting in January, 2014 most people will need to have health insurance; however, as long as they have coverage by March 31 they can avoid a fine.

Push against Obamacare leaves 5 million without coverage

Bloomberg
About 5.2 Million Americans will be left without health coverage in states that reject the expansion of Medicaid.

Obamacare may be more political than you think

National Journal
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires government agencies to offer individuals the opportunity to register to vote.

State exchanges report strong interest from young people

Modern Health Care
A few states running their own insurance exchanges are touting high levels of interest from young people.

Analysis: Red state or blue, Obamacare pricing seems apolitical

Reuters
The ideological debate between Obamacare’s supporters and opponents seems to have had little relevance when it comes to the affordability of care.

AKHR Notebook 10-11-13

Week of October 7 – October 11, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

New states health exchanges have largely fixed glitches

Wall Street Journal
New state-run health insurance exchanges have largely fixed their technical problems unlike the federally facilitated exchanges.

Senators ask Parnell to lighten up on federal health care law

Alaska Journal of Commerce
Two state senators, Wielechowski and French, are asking Governor Sean Parnell to loosen up on health care reform

Obamacaid

Wall Street Journal
In reality, Medicaid is now mostly a middle class entitlement for nursing homes

WSJ cherry-picks study to attack Medicaid expansion

Media Matters
The Wall Street Journal attacked the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion by claiming that Medicaid beneficiaries would have better health outcomes with no insurance at all.

Commission: Expand Medicaid through private health insurance

Concord Monitor
New Hampshire residents with access to insurance through their employer would be required to take that insurance with the state helping to pay their portion of the premium costs.

Consumers shopping for health policies outside the marketplaces may be confused by mix of plans offered

Kaiser Health News
Starting in January, the individual market will become much more consumer friendly and consistent

Report: Even states not expanding Medicaid will see surge in spending, enrollment

Kaiser Health News
Medicaid enrollment is expected to surge by nearly 5 percent next year in states not expanding the program.

The individual mandate’s penalty costs more than you think

Washington Post
The individual mandate’s penalty is $95 or 1 percent of your taxable income, whichever is greater

The business end of Obamacare

New Yorker
An overwhelming majority of American businesses – ninety-six percent – have fewer than fifty employees.

AKHR Notebook 10-4-13

Week of September 30 – October 4, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Headlines capture huge demand for Obamacare across the country: “A first day rush”, “Busy start”, “Strong early interest”

Think Progress
Though the federal and state based websites experienced glitches, there was strong public appetite for obtaining coverage

Effects of the affordable care act on consumer health care spending and risk of catastrophic health costs

Rand Corporation
This study examines the likely effects of the ACA on average annual consumer health care spending.

Reform update: Training lagging for counselors to help consumers use exchanges

Modern Healthcare
CMS has reported an influx of applications from provider organizations looking to volunteer to become certified application counselors

Obamacare – A game-changer in the making?

Wall Street Journal
The launch of the exchanges was marred by software glitches, confusion and outright resistance in some states.

Millions of poor are left uncovered by health law

New York Times
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance.

AKHR Notebook 9-27-13

Week of September 23 – September 27, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Medicaid expansion through premium assistance: Arkansas and Iowa’s section 1115 demonstration waiver applications compared

Kaiser Family Foundation
Arkansas and Iowa both have proposed to implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion by using Medicaid funds as premium assistance to purchase health insurance.

Obama’s $3000 health-law premiums test limits of affordability

Bloomberg
Health insurance under Obamacare will cost individuals at least $2,988 a year on average.

Firms drop, rather than upgrade, cheapest health plans

Wall Street Journal
Nearly four million people are enrolled in mini-med plans that will be phased out beginning Jan. 1 under the ACA

Some say Obamacare’s “affordable” coverage isn’t affordable for them

Kaiser Health News
How consumers judge affordability of the new health plans remains one of the biggest unknowns of the health insurance marketplace.

A user’s guide: 20 things to know about the affordable care act

Seattle Times
One of the biggest challenges, many ACA advocates say, is helping people understand the value of health care and having insurance when you need it.

AKHR Notebook 9-20-13

Week of September 16 – September 20, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Excise tax on “Cadillac” plans

Health Affairs
To slow growing costs and fiancé expanded coverage, the ACA imposes an excise tax on high-cost health plans to take effect in 2018.

Obamacare supporters in Ohio begin petition drive to expand Medicaid

Reuters
A coalition of businesses, healthcare providers, consumer advocates and labor unions are beginning the process to collect signatures for a ballot initiative to get Ohio lawmakers to consider Medicaid expansion

Pricing glitch afflicts rollout of online health exchanges

Wall Street Journal
The government’s software for the health insurance marketplace can’t reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage.

Health spending over the coming decade expected to exceed economic growth

Kaiser Health News
The nation’s total health spending is projected to grow by an average of 6.2 percent a year over the next decade.

Report to Daugaard: boosting Medicaid rewarding but risky

Argus Leader
The Governor of South Dakota appointed a task force to study the pros and cons of Medicaid expansion in South Dakota.

Obamacare unleashes benefit changes from companies

Bloomberg
The ACA is giving businesses the opportunity to loosen the decades old link between jobs and health insurance.

Tampa business leaders back Medicaid expansion

The Tampa Tribune
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce are talking up the economic boost that will occur as a result of Medicaid expansion

Big insurers skip health exchanges

Wall Street Journal
The insurance companies expected to enroll 7 million Americans in the exchanges are lesser known and in many cases will be offering comparatively lower rates

AKHR Notebook 9-13-13

Week of September 9 – September 13, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

States refusing expanded Medicaid fuel worst losses

Bloomberg
Municipal bonds sold by hospitals and health-care systems have been the market’s biggest losers in the past three months.

Health care law saves consumers $1.2 billion nationwide

US Department of Health and Human Services
A report by DHHS shows that 6.8 million consumers saved an estimated $1.2 billion on health insurance premiums in 2012 due to the “rate review” provision of the ACA.

Waste vs. value in American health care

Economix
Most estimates suggest that about 20 to 30 percent of medical spending could be eliminated with no adverse effects on patient outcomes.

Trader Joe’s sends part-timers to Obama health exchanges

Bloomberg
Trader Joe’s will end health benefits for part-time workers next year, directing them to new insurance marketplaces.

Reluctant states face Medicaid: Yes? No? Punt?

Politico Pro
Obamacare sign-up starts less than a month but a few states, like Alaska, are still answering the basic question: Are we in or out of Medicaid Expansion?

Health-care “data hub” is ready, White House officials say

Washington Post
Obama administration officials stated that they have finished a major piece of the technology that will help millions of Americans sign up for insurance this fall.

Law will shift demographics for Medicaid toward healthier group, study finds

Kaiser Health News
New enrollees under Medicaid expansion could include more white, male and healthy individuals than those eligible before the ACA expansion

Reform update: Real estate investors seeing benefits of reform

Modern Health Care
Savvy investors are finding medical office building s a safe and solid bet as more health services move out of the hospital.

Inside Oregon’s Medicaid lab

Modern Health Care
Oregon policymakers and providers came up with a reform model based on coordinated care organizations which bring previously unaffiliated providers under a single contract

AKHR Notebook 9-6-13

Week of September 2 – September 6, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

IRS issues rules for employer mandate under Obamacare

The Hill
The employer mandate, which has been postponed until January 2015, continues to receive instruction and guidance from the Internal Revenue Service.

The myth of part-time America

The Atlantic
The truth about pert-time America is that a part of America has always been working part-time.

More employers overhaul health benefits

Wall Street Journal
Many employers will give their employees a fixed sum of money and let them choose their insurance plan from an online marketplace

How Rick Perry’s and Bobby Jindal’s Medicaid snubs boost private insurance costs

Forbes
Health insurance rates for individuals purchasing private coverage could jump 10 percent in states opposed to expanding Medicaid

AKHR Notebook 8-30-13

Week of August 26 – August 30, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Workers facing the thorny problems of healthcare and retirement

Los Angeles Times
Meeting workers’ present and future social welfare needs has become a crucial and highly complex issue as healthcare costs continue to outpace inflation

Five myths about Obamacare you shouldn’t believe

Think Progress
Here are five popular myths circulating about Obamacare’s presumed impact that shouldn’t be so quickly believed.

As rates soar, small business owners pass along more health care costs to employees

Washington Post
The number of firms offering health insurance has held fairly steady but employers are asking workers to pay much more of the cost

Administration releases new rules to implement health law’s individual mandate

Kaiser Health News
The Treasury Department and IRS released regulations specify nine categories of individuals who are exempt from the individual mandate

Kaiser health tracking poll: August 2013

Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser health tracking poll finds that the public’s most trusted sources of information on the law are health care professionals like doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Bare bones health plans expected to survive health law

Kaiser Health News
Plans with limited benefits may continue to be offered by some large businesses, especially those with low-paid workers

AKHR notebook 8-23-13

Week of August 19 – August 23, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Americans still wary of, not too familiar with, health law

Gallup
The Obama Administration has spent much of the summer mounting a multi-million dollar outreach campaign to educate the public about the ACA.

The affordable care act and part-time work

New York Times
One attack on the ACA is that it is causing small employers to create part-time jobs so as to remain under the 50 full-time workers cutoff for the employer mandate.

Local governments cutting hours over Obamacare costs

Washington Post
Many cash-strapped cities and counties are opting to reduce the number of hours their part-time employees work.

State laws hinder Obamacare effort to enroll uninsured

Bloomberg
New laws passed in several states are making it more difficult for local “Navigators” to provide information on the ACA.

State resistance to federal government goes back to US beginnings

Stateline
The ACA is the law of the land, but that hasn’t stopped a handful of states from doing what they can to gum up its implementation.

2013 employer health benefits survey

Kaiser Family Foundation
This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage.

Health costs are growing really slowly. Americans haven’t noticed

Washington Post
Health care cost growth is slowing, growing at a low, unprecedented rate.

UPS won’t insure spouses of some employees

Kaiser Health News
United Parcel Services is set to remove thousands of spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere

Delaying the employer mandate

Rand Corporation
In July, 2013 the Obama Administration announced a one-year delay in enforcement of the penalty on large employers that do not offer affordable health insurance coverage.

Amid health law expansion, some states trim Medicaid rolls

Kaiser Health News
Most people losing access to Medicaid will be eligible for federal subsidies but may struggle with higher premiums and cost-sharing expenses.

AKHRNotebook 8-16-13

Week of August 12 – August 16, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Feds award $67 Million in grants to help consumers navigate the health law

Kaiser Health News
Navigators will provide assistance on the phone and in person to help people understand the health law’s new benefits

Nonprofits get money to help Alaskans navigate federal health-care act

Anchorage Daily News
Two Alaska nonprofits, United Way of Anchorage and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium) are receiving grants to help Alaskans navigate the Affordable Care Act.

Governor: Obamacare not ready for primetime

State of Alaska
Governor Parnell lays out his reasoning for why Alaska declined to create a state-run health exchange

Reform update: GOP-led states raise security concerns over insurance exchanges

Modern Health Care
Attorneys general from 13 Republican-led states have raised concerns about the security of the personal information of people who enroll on the exchanges

Quantifying tax credits for people now buying insurance on their own

Kaiser Family Foundation
An explanation of how tax credits will work and an estimation of how much premium assistance people now buying their own insurance will be eligible for in 2014.

A limit on consumer costs is delayed in health care law

New York Times
The Obama Administration has delayed until 2015 a consumer protection in the ACA that limits how much people may have to spend on their own health care

Sebelius: Medicaid expansion no “bait and switch”

Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia and 20 other mostly Republican states are opting out of expanding Medicaid eligibility

In states that don’t expand Medicaid, some of the uninsured may still get help

Kaiser Health News
Medicaid is a much more affordable option for people at or near the poverty level but qualifying for subsidies for private insurance would be better than having no coverage

AKHR notebook 8-2-13

Week of July 29 – August 2, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health care changes: A new tool for small business owners

U.S. Small Business Administration
Depending on the size of a business, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act may apply.

Five things to know about Obamacare premiums: A guide for the perplexed

Kaiser Health News
Consumers are understandably confused after weeks of conflicting pronouncements about the expected cost of insurance plans to be sold in the new marketplace.

Health costs are still tame, insurer results show

Kaiser Health News
Health care cost increases stayed tame through the first half of the year perhaps due to Obamacare, poor economy or cost shifting from employers to workers.

Consumers’ misunderstanding of health insurance

Science Direct
The surveys provide strong evidence that consumers do not understand traditional plans and would better understand a simplified plan

Reform update: Online insurance brokers get to play on federally run exchanges

Modern Health Care
CMS signed agreements with five web-based insurance broker firms to help enroll Americans in the health insurance marketplaces

Obamacare enrollment a minor subject for schools

Politico
Supporters of the health law see back-to-school season as a natural time for Obamacare outreach.

Delay in employer health mandate estimated to cost $12 Billion

Wall Street Journal
The Obama Administration’s move to delay a mandate on businesses to provide health coverage will mean $12 Billion in lost tax revenue and additional costs

A different kind of Medicaid expansion

Modern Health Care
A growing number of Medicaid managed-care insurers have received approval to enroll non-Medicaid members on the exchanges in October

AKHR Notebook 7-26-13

Week of July 22 – July 26, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

New health-care law’s success rests on the young

Wall Street Journal
The success of the new health-care law rides in large measure on whether young people decide to pay for insurance.

GAO: Current insurance costs for individual policies vary widely

Kaiser Health News
A report released this week by the Government Accountability Office analyzes how much it costs now for policies in each of the 50 states.

Obamacare outreach campaign to cost at least $684Million annually

Huffington Post
The ACA’s success may hinge on whether advertising can actually reach people without health coverage.

Analyzing the impact of state Medicaid expansion decisions

Kaiser Family Foundation
Medicaid expansion was intended to be implemented in all states; however, the Supreme Court decision on the ACA has effectively left it up to states.

Deciphering the health law’s subsidies for premiums

Kaiser Health News
Tax credits to help low and moderate income Americans buy health insurance will become available in January under the ACA.

Health-care law is tied to new caps on work hours for part-timers

Washington Post
Some employers across the country including state governments have capped part-timers’ hours below 30 hours per week.

Reform update: Medicaid pilot projects cost $32 billion more than expected, GAO says

Modern Health Care
HHS has allowed states to spend billions more on Medicaid pilot projects in recent years than the agency’s own rules allow.

Poll: most Americans don’t want Congress to repeal Obamacare

National Journal
Americans aren’t ready to repeal Obamacare. But that doesn’t mean they think the implementation is going well.

Seeking an exemption

Modern Health Care
The home health industry wants to be permanently exempted from the healthcare reform law’s employer mandate.

AKHR Notebook 7-19-13

Week of July 15 – July 19, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Obama touts savings from healthcare law

Los Angeles Times
President Obama highlighted a provision in the ACA that requires insurance companies to provide rebates if they don’t spend at least 80% of the premiums they receive on their customer’s medical care.

U.S. sees lower than expected Obamacare insurance costs

Reuters
A report by the Department of Health and Human Services indicate preliminary 2014 premiums to be 18 percent lower on average than previous estimates

Obamacare’s definition of a full-time job needs revising

Wall Street Journal
Employers and employees around the country need a more accurate and sensible definition of what is a full-time employee in the health law.

Promoting health insurance exchange, with no help from state

New York Times
In states where state government is doing nothing to spread the word to the uninsured, the private sector may have to step up to help.

Wonkbook: 10 things I learned reporting on Obamacare

Washington Post
10 takeways from interviews with administration officials, state-level implementers, outside experts and critics.

House defies veto threat, votes to delay Obamacare mandates

The Hill
The House voted to delay the ACA individual mandate for health insurance along with a delay of the employer mandate

Obamacare study: Employer mandate may not matter much, but the individual mandate does

National Journal
A new study finds that removing the employer mandate will have little effect on insurance coverage or government spending

Blame states for not expanding Medicaid, Obama administration will tell poor residents

Huffington Post
The federal government wants poor residents of states not expanding Medicaid to know who is denying them health coverage

Obamacare penalties spawn “skinny” plans

Politico
Some companies plan to offer “skinny” plans designed to duck penalties by providing limited coverage

AKHR Notebook 7-12-13

Week of July 8 – July 12, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Appeals court upholds Obamacare’s employer mandate

Wall Street Journal
A federal appeals court rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

The impact of current state Medicaid expansion decisions on coverage by race and ethnicity

Kaiser Family Foundation
This brief examines the implications of current state Medicaid expansion decisions on coverage by race and ethnicity

G.O.P. still trying to stop health care reform

New York Times
House G.O.P. leaders are thinking of new ways to continue their long-running show of trying to stop health care reform from taking effect.

Community clinics get “Obamacare” grants

Wall Street Journal
Community health centers will share in $150 million in grant money to help enroll patients into insurance programs under the ACA.

Q: What do porta-potties, coffee cups and airplanes have in common? A: Obamacare

Washington Post
The advertising outreach of Obamacare illustrates the ability of the health law’s supporters to try almost anything to pitch the benefits.

Tax break can help with health coverage, but there’s a catch

Kaiser Health News
There are two types of financial help for people planning to enroll in the health insurance marketplaces that will open this fall.

Top House Republican endorses Medicaid expansion

Talking Points
A powerful Republican congressman from Louisiana wants his state to take up the Medicaid expansion made optional by Obamacare and build an insurance exchange to implement the law

Current Medicaid patients miss out on better preventative care

Stateline
The guidelines in the ACA for new preventative care pertain only to private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid expansion programs.

Obama’s health law will be judged on 3 questions

Huffington Post
People will judge the ACA on three main points: premiums, choice and the overall consumer experience

AKHR Notebook 7-5-13

Week of July 1 – July 5, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Delay in major health law provision raises doubts at critical stage of rollout

Kaiser Health News
The Obama administration’s decision to delay a major component of the ACA hands ammunition to critics who contend it is unworkable.

Could ACA delay lead to more legal woes, changes?

Modern Health Care
How can the IRS and the Obama Administration simply waive key provisions of the ACA passed by Congress?

Employers welcome delay in health-care overhaul penalties

Wall Street Journal
Employers and their advisers cheered a one-year delay in employer penalties under the ACA.

Going Private

Modern Health Care
As employers interest grows, more companies are offering private exchange platforms.

States of awareness

Modern Health Care
Too many Americans still don’t know enough about the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect them.

The Affordable Care Act, First in a three part series

US Small Business Administration
There are currently 23 million self-employed entrepreneurs in the United States who will now have options for health coverage under the ACA.

Insurers, states brace for opening of ACA exchanges

MedPage Today
An estimated 7 million people will shop for individual health coverage this fall under the ACA.

Medicaid “welcome mat” effect of affordable care act implementation could be substantial

Health Affairs
The ACA will have important impacts on state Medicaid programs, likely increasing participation among populations that are currently eligible but not enrolled.

AKHR Notebook 6-28-13

Week of June 24 – June 28, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

State keeps Medicaid expansion study secret

Alaska Public Media
The state is keeping a tight lid on a study it commissioned last year on expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Supreme Court ACA ruling at 1 year: Many states fleeing Medicaid expansion

Medscape
It’s been a year since the Supreme Court delivered its 2-part decision on the Affordable Care Act.

Best online tools for the toughest health questions

Fiscal Times
The health care landscape will change in 2014 when the most significant portions of the Affordable Care Act kick in.

WellPoint helps cut employers’ health cost

Wall Street Journal
WellPoint is rolling out a program that lets employers pay a set amount for a medical service, asking workers who select costlier care to pay the difference.

Obamacare starts in 99 days. These 99 things need to happen before then

Washington Post
Obamacare hit a pretty important milestone this weekend: The law is now 100 days away from its main provisions coming into effect.

Column: Dear entrepreneur, we are canceling your health insurance

Reuters
The nearly 22 million people who are self-employed will see some of the most dramatic changes in their health care coverage

Working poor losing Obamacare as states resist Medicaid

Bloomberg
Expansion of Medicaid eligibility was intended to provide coverage for the working poor.

The high-deductible trap

Modern Health Care
It has been well documented that out-of-pocket expenses influence people’s health choices and not always in a positive direction.

HHS launches health insurance marketplace educational tools

US Department of Health and Human Services
The Obama Administration kicked off the Health Insurance marketplace education efforts with a new, consumer-focused website and call center

Blue Cross-Blue shield bets big on Obamacare exchanges

Kaiser Health News
The “Blues” are expected to offer health-exchange plans nearly everywhere.

AKHR Notebook 6-21-13

Week of June 17 – June 21, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Implementing health reform: A GAO progress report on exchanges

Health Affairs
The GAO has released a report examining the CMS efforts to establish federally facilitated insurance exchanges.

5 key points to know about the health care overhaul before major provisions of the law begin

The Washington Post
About half the people surveyed earlier this spring by Kaiser felt they didn’t have enough information on the ACA.

Enroll America kicking off its ACA push, but hospitals and insurers have their own campaigns

Modern Health Care
Hospitals and health insurers have moved quietly on their own to promote consumers’ new option in the health insurance marketplace

Reform update: Slow start predicted for expanded Medicaid enrollment

Modern Health Care
Officials hoping to enroll millions more beneficiaries into Medicaid programs this fall are signaling the possibility of a slow start.

It’s the cost-sharing, stupid: Health care spending is slowing because Americans control more of their health dollars

Forbes
Over the past 5 years, while spending continues to grow, it has grown at a slower rate than in years prior.

Implementing health reform: Program integrity and other exchange and market-reform issues

Health Affairs
Proposed rules by DHHS entitled “Program Integrity: Exchange, SHOP, Premium Stabilization Programs, and Market Standards” covers a great deal more than the topics listed.

Obamacare’s big question: What’s it going to cost me?

McClatchy
The cost of health care under Obamacare remains one of the biggest mysteries of the nation’s health care overhaul.

AKHR Notebook 6-14-13

Week of June 10 – June 14, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Arizona Gov. Brewer secures Medicaid expansion

Modern Health Care
Republican Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona, successfully secured healthcare for 300,000 low-income Arizonans after months of negotiation with legislators

Reform update: Medicaid expansion could occur in red states in coming weeks

Modern Health Care
The coming weeks are shaping up to be a big deal for states still on the fence regarding Medicaid expansion

Small business self-insurance push threatens reform

Modern Health Care
The appeal of self-insurance is that such plans will be exempt from many key ACA provisions such as providing an essential health benefits package

What makes employees stick around? One company has an answer

Wall Street Journal
Firms with many part-time or hourly workers are beginning to finalize their decisions on eligibility and workforce scheduling

The Affordable Care Act: Improving incentives for entrepreneurship and self-employment

Robert Woods Johnson
New research estimates that the number of self-employed Americans will increase because of the ACA.

States prepare to launch new health law

Pew States
With the ACA set to debut in January, state legislators debated dozens of measures from exchanges, Medicaid expansion and shoring up anti-fraud protections

States of health: Winners & losers in Medicaid

The Fiscal Times
Eligibility for current Medicaid varies from state to state, with applicants having to meet different standards to qualify.

AKHR Notebook 6-7-13

Week of June 3 – June 7, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Planners expect glitches in health-exchange sites

Wall Street Journal
Teams of technology experts are racing to finish building government websites that people will use to enroll in health insurance this October.

New healthcare model cut even more costs in year two: insurer

Reuters
Patient centered medical home medical care model has reduced costs and improved quality of care.

High court creates a two-tiered Medicaid system

The Fiscal Times
The federal-state health program for the poor and disabled is evolving into a dual system.

The uninsured after implementation of the affordable care act: A demographic and geographic analysis

Health Affairs
Data analyzed from the 2012 Census Bureau estimates the numbers and characteristics of US residents who will remain uninsured in 2016.

Navigator organizations fight concern about fraud, lack of training

Modern Health Care
Navigator organizations are beginning to hire people to help consumers through the enrollment process that will begin on October 1.

Q&A: Will consumers find bargains on health insurance exchanges?

Pew States
Consumers want to know: Will health insurance cost more, less or about the same on the new health insurance exchanges?

FAQ’s: Medicaid and CHIP ACA implementation

Medicaid.gov
CMS released frequently asked questions about the March 18, 2013 State Medicaid Director’s letter titled Federal and State Oversight of Medicaid Expenditures

It’s official: Obamacare’s small-business exchange is partially delayed

Washington Post
The delay on the small business health options program will stand.

AKHR Notebook 5-31-13

Week of May 27 – May 31, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Wonkbook: As Obamacare starts, health insurers are just guessing

Washington Post
Insurers have to decide on how much they’ll charge next year. Once they’ve settled on a price and the exchanges open, that’s the end of it.

ACA still missing key regulatory details

Modern Health Care
Four rules addressing various aspects of the exchanges are undergoing review by the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama Administration releases final rules on employment-based wellness programs

HHS.gov
The final rules continue to support “ participatory wellness programs” which are generally available regardless of an individual’s health status.

Sizing up health costs

Wall Street Journal
Small employers across the US are struggling to get a handle on their health-care costs under the ACA.

Is Obamacare too complicated to succeed?

New York Times
The ACA has been under siege since before it even had a name.

One way Obamacare may already be working

Bloomberg
There was a time when discussion was on “bending the health-care costs curve”. 2012 numbers suggest the curve has bent more than ever

Another piece of Obamacare is working as extravagant insurance plans are pared back

Slate
Functionally the Cadillac tax works the same way as a phase-out of very expensive insurance plans

The Obamacare shock

New York Times
Obamacare is a deeply conservative reform, not in a political sense but in terms of leaving most people’s health care unaffected.

AKHR Notebook 5-24-13

Week of May 20 – May 24, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

The fog of Obamacare

Washington Post
There is a sizable group of American workers in small and medium size companies who are confused about the impact of the ACA.

Insurers feel pressure from health group with ties to White House

The Hill
Current and former administration officials have taken on leadership and fundraising roles for Enroll America.

Clock ticking on full Medicaid expansion funds

Politico
Medicaid expansion remains an open question in about a dozen states after months of legislative fights.

Obamacare won’t stop most from offering coverage

Wall Street Journal
Fewer than 1% of all organizations in a recent poll plan to discontinue offering health care coverage.

Milliman index shows healthcare cost rise slowing

Wall Street Journal
The cost of healthcare rose at the lowest rate on record with a larger share of the increase being borne by employees.

Market, insurers will keep premiums low, analysts say

USA Today
Market forces and an impetus to attract younger, healthier people into the insurance market will help keep health insurance premiums lower.

Employers eye bare-bones health plans under new law

Wall Street Journal
Employers are increasingly recognizing they may be able to avoid certain penalties under the ACA by offering very limited plans

AKHR Notebook 5-17-13

Week of May 13 – May 17, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health law’s Cadillac tax bite on companies drops by $57 Billion

Bloomberg
The ACA’s projected tax bite on employers with more generous health benefits is dropping as medical spending slows.

Arizona Senate passes budget with Medicaid expansion

Modern Health Care
The republican controlled Arizona Senate passed a budget that embraces a Medicaid expansion proposal.

Government to pay $1 Billion for innovative health care ideas

CBS News
The U.S. government will award up to $1 Billion in grants for innovative health care ideas that drive down medical costs.

CBO projects less growth in healthcare spending

Modern Health Care
The Congressional Budget Office has lowered their projections for the next decade’s outlays on Medicare, Medicaid and covering the uninsured.

Covering the rising cots of Long-term care

New York Times
The rising cost of long term care services has many ill prepared for the sticker shock of basic care.

CMS won’t penalize hospitals in states slow to expand Medicaid

Kaiser Health News
Disproportionate share hospitals will have a two year reprieve from reductions in payments in states that opt-out of Medicaid expansion

“Navigators” of state health insurance exchanges prepare to help applicants

Roll Call
Navigators will assist consumers with the process of enrolling for health coverage in the newly minted health insurance marketplaces

State spending on consumer assistance could have “huge impact” on marketplace enrollment

Kaiser Health News
There is a wide variation in spending to hire and train people to provide consumer assistance in the first year of the marketplaces

AKHR Notebook 5-10-13

Week of May 6 – May 10, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Community health centers get $150Million to boost exchange enrollment

Kaiser Health News
The Obama Administration pledged $150Million to help community health centers provide in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured patients.

U.S. says it’s on track to make health exchanges work

USA Today
The federal government has met its deadlines, tested its system and collected insurance plan information critical to rolling out the 2010 health care law.

Obamacare tax aimed at “Cadillac Plans” will hurt ordinary workers: Report

Huffington Post
The ACA includes a tax on high-cost insurance plans that’s both a funding mechanism for the law and meant to encourage choosing less-expensive plans.

Health care spending growth may have slowed permanently – with huge implications for the economy and deficits

Talking Points
Health care spending growth has slowed over the past five years which may not just reflect temporary economic weakness but also structural shits in health care delivery

4 in 5 employers penalize, reward to coax better health

Forbes
More than 80% of the nation’s large employers are moving to a “carrot or stick” approach to coax their employees to better health.

A tale of two markets

NASHP
Shortly after the ACA was enacted, there was a great deal of talk about how states could leverage their joint purchasing power in an expanded Medicaid program and a robust health insurance exchange.

Securing the enrollment of uninsured Americans in health coverage

Health Affairs
Tens of millions of uninsured people will soon have the ability to gain health coverage.

AKHR Notebook 5-3-13

Week of April 29 – May 3, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

GOP clashes stymie Medicaid expansion

Wall Street Journal
Republican governors who support Medicaid expansion are running into resistance from their states’ GOP-led legislatures.

Analysis: Big insurers wary of entering new Obamacare markets

Reuters
The nations’ largest health insurers appear reluctant to join new state health insurance exchanges.

Here’s what the Oregon Medicaid study really said

Washington Post
A second set of results on Medicaid expansion in Oregon have yielded mixed reviews – not much improvement in health indicators with the big exception in mental health.

Implementing health reform: Defining “Minimum value” for employer coverage

Health Affairs
The IRS has released a notice o f rulemaking intended to answer questions regarding the implementation of the premium tax credit program.

The Arkansas Medicaid model: What you need to know about the “Private option”

Kaiser Health News
Arkansas would let newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries shop for insurance policies along with other consumers in the online marketplace.

Next big challenge for health law: Carrying it out

New York Times
There are immense challenges facing the Obama administration as it puts in place the most significant parts of the ACA.

Governors missing the point on Medicaid

CNN
Medicaid expansion appears to not only make sense from a coverage perspective, but also from a bottom-line perspective

Health care’s “Dirty little secret”: No one may be coordinating care

Kaiser Health News
Coordinated care is touted as the key to better and more cost-effective care and is being encouraged with financial rewards and penalties under the ACA.

Competing for consumers

Modern Health Care
Some health care systems are trying to capture a greater share of the overall healthcare delivery market by simultaneously insuring new potential customers.

If this was a pill, you’d do anything to get it

Washington Post
Health quality Partners’ has reduced hospitalizations by 33 percent and cut Medicare costs by 22 percent

AKHR Notebook 4-26-13

Week of April 22 – April 26, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Lack of competition might hamper health exchanges – Part One

Stateline
Supporters of the ACA worry that in many states people won’t have a lot of health insurance choices when the exchange opens in October.

Insurance monopolies in some states – Part Two

Stateline
The lack of competition in nearly a dozen states could present problems when the exchanges launch in October.

Survey finds rate for young adult coverage improves while others decline

Kaiser Health News
In 2012, approximately 46% of those aged 19 to 64 were considered uninsured or underinsured according to a survey by Commonwealth Fund

Implementing health reform: Progress, but much work remains

Health Affairs
Activity to implement the ACA is moving full speed ahead at the federal level as efforts continue to implement the exchange.

Health chaos ahead

New York Times
Regulatory regimes can be simple and dumb or complex and sprawling. When you build complex, it takes awhile to work through the consequences.

Healthcare industry asks feds for clearer guidance on fraud, fewer audits

Modern Health Care
Staff members for the Senate Finance Committee sifted through 2000 pages of public comments from the healthcare industry asking for fewer more focused audits.

Employers face complex new measures under mandate

UPI
The nuts and bolts of the ACA are unclear, leaving businesses and labor unions worried that regulations are too complex.

Here’s why health-care costs are slowing

Washington Post
Health-care spending is growing slower now than any point in the past five decades.

AKHR notebook 4-19-13

Week of April 15 – April 19, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Help is at Hand: New health insurance tax credits for Americans

Families USA
The ACA will extend health coverage to millions of Americans in part by offering tax credits to help offset the costs of private coverage.

State reform update: Arkansas Medicaid alternative in spotlight as other states mull similar plans

Modern Health Care
Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to the governor’s plan to use new federal Medicaid funding to buy private coming in the coming marketplaces.

Hospitals serving the uninsured face challenge under Obamacare

Washington Post
Hospitals that treat the most vulnerable patients may have the toughest time weathering spending cuts under the ACA

Health law could overwhelm addiction services

AP
3 to 5 million people with drug and alcohol problems will become eligible for insurance coverage under the ACA

Insurers flock to private exchanges while states grapple with Obamacare marketplace

Forbes
Private employers and insurers are flocking to the concept of offering their workers benefits via online marketplaces

Q&A: Small business health exchanges

Wall Street Journal
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is a key part of the health-care law designed to make health insurance more affordable for small employers

Health insurance actuaries in the hot seat on “rate shock”

Kaiser Health News
In recent weeks experts have predicted costs for some health plans could soar next year.

Baucus warns of “huge train wreck” enacting ObamaCare provisions

The Hill
Baucus, the chairman of the chamber’s powerful Finance committee and a key architect of the ACA, fears people do not understand how the law will work.

AKHR Notebook 4-12-13

Week of April 8 – April 12, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Strengthening affordability and quality in America’s health care system

Robert Woods Johnson
A diverse group of health care stakeholders present their recommendations for controlling costs and improving the quality of our health care system

Obama trims details on health law as exchange cost rises

Bloomberg
The $1.3 trillion U.S. health care system overhaul is getting more expensive and will initially accomplish less than intended.

State-level trends in employer-sponsored health insurance

Robert Wood Johnson
Recent analysis of employer sponsored insurance coverage provides a baseline to facilitate monitoring ACA expansions of public and private coverage in 2014.

How price transparency could end up increasing health care costs

The Atlantic
Cost/quality comparisons don’t work in the same way for health care that they do for other big purchases

Consumer groups fear patients could be hit with large out-of-pocket costs

Kaiser Health News
Some consumers may continue to face out-of-pocket health costs that are double the amount allowed by the ACA.

Funding to enroll uninsured in new markets called “drop in bucket”

Kaiser Health News
The Obama Administration will award $54million to community groups in 33 states to help people sign up for insurance in the new marketplaces

Insight: Insurers see promise in pay-for-performance health plans

Reuters
Both private insurance plans and Medicare plans in hundreds of locations around the country are using incentives to try to cut healthcare spending.

Health care costs: A state-by-state comparison

Wall Street Journal
Health care spending in the US averaged $6815 per person in 2009.

AKHR Notebook 4-5-13

Week of April 1 – April 5, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health insurance premium spin

Fact Check
A new analysis on the ACA prompts Republicans and the White house to trade misleading claims about the law’s impact on insurance premiums.

Some small businesses see Obamacare as welcome relief

Entrepreneur
Small businesses do not uniformly oppose the ACA feeling that the ACA “was the compromise solution to the demands of businesses to get health insurance and health care costs under control”.

Setting the record straight on health law’s delayed small business features

Small Business Majority
The DHHS’s proposal to delay critical requirements for small business health insurance exchanges in some states is a disappointment to millions of small businesses.

Paper offers options on limiting higher health rates

New York Times
State regulators are looking for ways to protect consumers against increases in health insurance rates

Implementing health reform: Proposed regulations for exchange “Navigators”

Health Affairs
On April 3, 2013, DHHS released proposed regulations establishing standards to govern navigators and non-navigator assisters in the exchanges.

Why uninsured might not flock to health law’s marketplaces

Kaiser Health News
Getting sufficient enrollment, especially from the young and healthy, is vital to holding down premium costs.

AKHR Notebook 3-29-13

Week of March 25 – March 29, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Purchasing Coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries in the exchange: A review of premium assistance options

State Health Reform Assistance Network
This brief examines some of the legal, policy and operational issues states should contemplate while considering using “premium assistance” to purchase coverage for Medicaid eligible adults.

Obamacare should make health care cheaper – Just not right away

Bloomberg Business Week
The Society of Actuaries came out with a report saying that medical claims will rise 32 % over the next three years.

Oregon shows costs of putting Medicaid enrollees in private coverage

Kaiser Health News
Oregon has been using Medicaid money for over a decade to enroll people in private individual coverage.

Restaurant chains cut estimates for health-law costs

Wall Street Journal
Restaurant chains say the ACA may not be that costly after all. They say many employees won’t qualify for coverage or will decline company-offered insurance.

How Fortune 500 companies plan to cut health costs: Act like Medicare

Washington Post
Nine of every 10 health-care dollars do not factor in the value of care delivered.

The health care dilemma that could bankrupt women

The Fiscal Times
Over the past year, several insurance companies have announced plans to hike premiums for long term care insurance by 50 percent.

Report card on health reform

New York Times
The ACA has thrown a lifeline to people at high risk of losing insurance or being uninsured.

Obamacare’s five biggest challenges

Washington Post
Obamacare still faces a slew of obstacles.

Redesigning healthcare

Modern Health Care
Healthcare providers are experimenting with new ways of doing business.

AKHR Notebook 3-22-13

Week of March 18 – March 22, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Without Medicaid expansion, employers face higher tax penalties under ACA

Jackson Hewitt
States that do not expand Medicaid leave employers exposed to higher “shared responsibility” payments under the ACA

Who are the uninsured? The feds parse the numbers

Kaiser Health News
There are 48.4 million uninsured Americans – about 18 percent of the population- according to the last census.

States urged to expand Medicaid with private insurance

New York Times
The White House is encouraging skeptical state officials to expand Medicaid by subsidizing the purchase of private insurance for low-income people.

Health insurers warn on premiums

Wall Street Journal
Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individual and small businesses could increase sharply next year due to the ACA.

Sebelius: GOP governors will eventually expand Medicaid

USA Today
Republican governors and GOP controlled legislators will eventually decide to expand Medicaid in their states because the financial benefits are too big to ignore according to HHS Secretary Sebelius

The face of future health care

New York Times
The days when doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid separately for each procedure will disappear eventually.

Entice states to expand Medicaid, though not at all costs

Bloomberg
It’s not clear how states like Arkansas will mange the use of Medicaid expansion funds in the insurance marketplace while preserving the program’s efficiency

Questions abound in learning to adjust to health care overhaul

New York Times
Companies that employ more than 50 full-time employees are challenged with the requirement of offering health insurance to their workers.

Implementing health reform: Waiting periods and enforcement of market reforms

Health Affairs
The Director of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight stated that most of the final rules needed to implement the ACA 2014 insurance reforms are now in place.

Scott Walker Medicaid decision could cost Wisconsin employers $36million

Journal Sentinel
A national study estimates that Wisconsin governor’s decision to not expand Medicaid could leave employers with high federal penalties

AKHR Notebook 3-7-13

Week of March 4 – March 7, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

There’s no precedent for feds dialing back Medicaid dollars

Washington Post
Since Medicaid was passed in 1965, average funding levels have remained flat and haven’t oscillated outside the 55-59% range since 1980.

Implementing health reform: Federally facilitated and partnership exchanges

Health Affairs
DHHS issued detailed information as to how the federal exchanges are going to work.

Obamacare’s exchange-based health insurance will be better than Medicaid. But how much costlier?

Forbes
The Obama administration is allowing Arkansas to apply Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges to the low income population that was supposed to receive Medicaid.

Obamacare requires employers to offer insurance. What if it’s too expensive?

Washington Post
Millions of lower-income workers may gain access to employer-sponsored health insurance under the ACA – but they may decide not to purchase that coverage.

Corporate wellness programs: Not quite the cost savers

Washington Post
A recent study of a large wellness program saw reduced spending on hospitalizations coupled with increased spending on pharmaceuticals and out-patient visits.

AKHR Notebook 3-1-13

Week of February 25 – March 1, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Governor’s D.C. summit dominated by Medicaid and the Sequester

NPR
The Governor’s summit was dominated by two pressing issues: whether to expand the Medicaid program and the budget cuts associated with sequester.

Christie says he’ll take U.S. money to expand Medicaid

New York Times
Governor Christ Christie of New Jersey announced that he would accept federal money to expand the Medicaid program in his state.

Parnell opposed to Medicaid expansion now

Anchorage Daily News
Governor Sean Parnell said he is opposed to expanding Medicaid in the state right now given what he knows about the federal budget. He said he will continue to study the issue, with his next decision point coming with next year’s budget.

Update Medicaid game-changer

Arkansas Times
The feds have given Arkansas permission to pursue a plan that would use federal Medicaid dollars to provide health insurance through the exchange.

NC lawmakers vote to bar Medicaid expansion

San Francisco Chronicle
North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill barring the state from expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul

Pa. Democrats build Medicaid pressure on Corbett

York Daily Record
Pressure on Governor Tom Corbett is growing to accept the federal government’s offer to fund the lion’s share of Medicaid expansion.

Group says expanded Medicaid will add W.Va. jobs

Logan Banner
Expanding Medicaid will do more than provide coverage, it will also create jobs and spread millions through the state’s economy.

Tracking Medicaid Expansion Decisions

State of Refor(u)m
The chart on this page includes direct links to statements and reports from governors, legislators and fiscal and demographic analyses from the state or other institutions.

AKHR Notebook 2-22-13

Week of February 18 – February 22, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Governors fall away in G.O.P. opposition to more Medicaid

New York Times
Seven Republican governors are cautiously moving to expand Medicaid helping to insure many more low-income people.

Why Republican governors are saying yes to Medicaid, no to Obamacare’s exchanges

Washington Post
The exchanges present little reward ro governors for setting up a very complex insurance marketplace.

New federal rule requires insurers to offer mental health coverage

New York Times
HSS issued a final rule defining essential health benefits requiring insurers to cover treatment for mental illnesses, behavioral disorders, drug addiction and alcohol abuse.

U.S. funds 25 states to test new Medicaid models

Reuters
DHHS will provide 25 of the 50 states with funding to test new ways to lower costs and improve care within the Medicaid program

Rick Scott’s Medicaid gambit

Wall Street Journal
Rick Scott states that DHHS granted Florida a waiver that will allow it to shift Medicaid recipients to managed care plans.

Essential health benefits standards: Ensuring quality, affordable coverage

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight
DHHS released a fnal rule that helps consumers shop for and compare health insurance options in the individual and small group markets.

U.S. to operate 26 state health exchanges with little local help

Reuters
24 states are on track to run their own exchanges or do so in partnership with the federal government while the remaining will rely on federally facilitated exchanges

Opt out at your own peril

Modern Health Care
The ACA calls for creating a menu of choices for consumers depending on the level of benefits: dubbed bronze, sliver gold and platinum.

Some employers could opt out of insurance market, raising others’ costs

New York Times
There is growing concern that companies with relatively young, healthy employees may opt out of the regular health insurance market to avoid the minimum coverage standrads in the ACA.

AKHR Notebook 2-15-13

Week of February 11 – February 15, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health laws Medicaid expansion moves forward, but with many questions

McClatchy
In the largest one-year enrollment bump in program history, 8 million Americans are expected to gain health insurance in 2014 through Medicaid.

New data suggests Obamacare is actually bending the healthcare cost curve

Forbes
A new Congressional Budget Office report indicates hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending for Medicare and Medicaid are being removed from government projections.

Study: One-third of individual plans exceed law’s out-of-pocket cap

Kaiser Health News
Consumers who buy their own health insurance will see the total amount they could pay out of pocket for medical care capped starting next year.

Feds recovered $4.2 billion from anti-fraud efforts

USA Today
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said for every dollar spent on fraud and abuse in the past three years, the government brought $7.90 back in through lawsuits and fines.

Fewer young adults in US lack health insurance in 2012

Gallup
Hispanics and the low-income still are most likely to lack health insurance

What’s the matter with Texas?

Modern Health Care
The economic consequences of failing to provide coverage to near poor Americans are well-known and includes raising prices to cover the cost of uncompensated care.

In Medicaid, a new health-care fight

Wall Street Journal
Employers in several states are bracing for higher health-care costs as some governors resist a planned Medicaid expansion.

Inside the Obama administration’s plan to build 25 insurance marketplaces

Washington Post
The Department of Health and human Services has put a lot of effort into building something called a “federal data hub” where eligibility can be checked.

AKHR notebook 2-8-13

Week of February 4 – February 8, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

ANTHC issues master report on economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Alaska

ANTHC
ANTHC has issued a master report which provides a summarized version of information from reports by Urban Institute and Northern Economics on the economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

Why the GOP’s resistance to Medicaid expansion is eroding

National Journal
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s announcement that her state intends to expand Medicaid represents an important shift in opinion.

Republican governors embrace part of healthcare law

Washington Post
Several Republican governors have embraced a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act: extending Medicaid to 17 Million Americans.

Implementing health reform: The basic health program and federal Medicaid matching rates

Health Affairs
HHS continues to issue sub-regulatory guidance on a regular basis including two guidance documents issued on February 6, 2013.

The Medicaid silver linings playbook

Boston.com
Until last June 28, expanding Medicaid was not an option for states , and was included in the ACA as a mandate.

Feds consider exchange option as part of Medicaid expansion deal

Arkansas Times
Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe, has asked the feds about giving people between 100-138% of FPL the option to buy subsidized health insurance on the exchange if the state opts for full Medicaid expansion. The feds said maybe.

House GOP launches “Obamacare Burden Tracker”

The Hill
House Republicans unveiled a report highlighting the estimated number of hours required to comply with the ACA.

Health care costs slowdown is good news for Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare: CBO report shows

Huffington Post
Congressional Budget Office’s recent report indicates that recent years of sluggish health care cost increases had a big impact on future projections.

Part-time employee health care rare ahead of Obamacare: Study

Huffington Post
Just 8 percent of part-time workers are enrolled in their company health insurance plans according to a report issued on Monday.

AKHR notebook 2-1-13

Week of January 28 – February 1, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Governors address Medicaid expansion in “State of the State” speeches

State (re)forum
Read what Governors have said about Medicaid expansion in their state of the state speeches.

Implementing health reform: Shared responsibility tax exemptions and family coverage affordability

Health Affairs
The proposed rules issued by Treasury and Health and Human Services define who is exempt from the ACA’s shared responsibility tax.

You can thank the health care industry for the economic recovery

National Journal
Since the recession hit in late 2007, a huge proportion of the new jobs have been in the health sector.

Many states lack authority on new insurance rules: report

Modern Health Care
Nearly half of state insurance departments lack the power to fully enforce new insurance regulations that take effect next year.

Small business owner’s Obamacare fix: Turn employees into corporations

Huffington Post
An entrepreneur has proposed a solution for small business owners who raise rising payroll costs under Obamacare: Cut staff and outsource

To open eyes, W-2’s list cost of providing a health plan

New York Times
As workers open their W-2 forms this month, many will see a new box with information on the total cost of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.

Consumer alert: new health care markets on the way

AP News
This fall, new insurance markets will open in each state which will offer individuals and their families a choice of private health plans.

AKHR Notebook 1-25-13

Week of January 21 – January 25, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Fiscal and economic impacts of Medicaid expansion in Alaska: A Preliminary Evaluation

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
ANTHC leadership distributed an independent report that explores the fiscal and economic impacts of Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

TurboTax, not Travelocity, may be better analogy for health exchanges

Kaiser Health News
A consumer focus group suggests people are going to want health insurance exchanges to provide a lot of customer support.

Getting into gear for 2014: Findings from a 50-State survey of eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost-sharing policies in Medicaid and CHIP, 2012-2013

Kaiser Family Foundation
Many states are moving into high gear to prepare for implementation of the major provisions of the ACA, including a new streamlined Medicaid enrollment system.

Polling: Public wants states to use federal funds to cover uninsured through Medicaid

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Registered voters in seven states want their governors to participate in the Medicaid expansion under the ACA.

HMO-like plans mat be poised to make comeback in online insurance markets

Kaiser Health News
Limited network plans are expected to play a prominent role in new online markets where individuals and small businesses will shop for coverage.

Many Medicaid patients could face higher fees under a proposed federal policy

Kaiser Health News
Millions of low-income people could be required to pay more for health care under a federal policy that would give states more freedom to impose co-payments on Medicaid patients.

Obama health law needs delay, state insurance head says

Bloomberg
It’s unclear how well the federal government or any of the participating states will perform on Oct. 1 when millions of Americans are supposed to begin shopping at online markets.

Insurance policy: Once again, hospital systems see value in adding health plans to their organization

Modern Health Care
Providers are realizing that to stay competitive, they need to have a hand not only in healthcare delivery, but also healthcare financing.

The time bomb in Obamacare?

Washington Post
The Supreme Court rescued the ACA from being found unconstitutional, but the manner in which they did this may have put the ACA on a path to ultimate extinction.

Medical-home consulting emerges as growth industry

Modern Health Care
Today, experts stand ready to advise physicians on transforming their practices into patient-centered medical homes.

AKHR Notebook 1-18-13

Week of January 14 – January 18, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

New regulations shed light on looming health-care reform costs for businesses

Washington Post
The ramifications of health care reform for business owners are coming into focus as regulators float new rules to govern employer-sponsored coverage.

Countdown to healthcare reform

Reuters
In a post-Obamacare future, expect more employers to adopt defined contribution healthcare plans.

U.S. Governors and the Medicaid expansion – No quick resolution in sight
Medicaid expansion

New England Journal of Medicine
At least 22 governors support an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act while others are expected to decide in the coming weeks.

New website part of push for uninsured to get coverage

USA Today
The federal government kicked off an effort to raise awareness about the requirement for the uninsured to buy health care insurance.

In ”fiscal cliff” deal, a blow to Obamacare

Washington Post
When Congress struck a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, it also killed a multibillion dollar program meant to boost health insurance competition by funding non-profit health plans.

Implementing Health Reform: Medicaid and premium tax credit eligibility and appeals

Health Affairs
Proposed rules issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services continues to prepare the way for implementation of the 2014 ACA reforms.

More cliffs ahead

Modern Health Care
The healthcare industry will probably remember 2013 for more fiscal fights and deep federal cuts.

Holes in the ACA: A damage assessment

Boston
There have been eight consequential, substantive changes to the Affordable Care Act since its signing in March 2010.

States will be given extra time to set up health insurance exchanges

New York Times
The White House says it will give states more time to comply with the new health care law after finding that many states lag in setting up exchanges.

AKHR Notebook 1-11-13

Week of January 7 – January 11, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

CMS announces over 100 new ACO contracts

Modern Health Care
Medicare nearly doubled the size of one accountable care program as of January 1 with 106 new ACO contracts that offer hospitals and doctors financial incentives to improve quality and slow health spending.

A guide to health insurance exchanges

Kaiser Health News
It seems like a simple idea: create new marketplaces, called exchanges, where consumers can comparison shop for health insurance.

Confronting costs: stabilizing US health spending while moving toward a high performance health care system

The Commonwealth Fund
The United States could save $2 trillion in health care spending over the next decade, if the U.S. government used its influence in the public and private sectors to nudge soaring costs into line with economic growth.

Smart health-care strategy hidden in “cliff” deal

Bloomberg
An incentive for doctors to expand their use of clinical data registries was tucked in last week’s fiscal-cliff legislation.

Growth of health spending stays low

New York Times
The rate of health spending in 2011 was the same as in 2009 and 2010.

Consumers and the promise of health insurance exchanges

The Hill
Prior to the enactment of the ACA, consumers looking to learn about or purchase health insurance on their own, faced a difficult and complex search process.

GOP Governors face tough dilemma on Medicaid expansion

Talking Points Memo
The Obama administration has not established a deadline for states to make a final determination. But the Medicaid expansion takes effect in Jan. 2014, and states are widely expected to include their decisions in their upcoming budgets early this year.

Laying the groundwork in states for payment reform and more integrated delivery

NASHP
This webinar is part of a NASHP series to help states that are ready to take the next step in thinking about multi-payer approaches to payment and delivery reform, moving beyond the medical home.

Health care and profits, a poor mix

New York Times
Which services does government do better, which services do private non-profit organizations do better, and which services do private for-profit organizations do better?

AKHR Notebook 1-4-13

Week of December 31 – January 4, 2013
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

U.S. approves health exchanges in four Republican-governed states

Reuters
17 states and the District of Columbia have all won conditional approval to establish their own state exchanges.

Bargain over fiscal cliff brings changes to health care

NPR
The “fiscal cliff” bill included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs.

Co-op funding cut, but consumer-led plans may survive

Modern Health Care
The fiscal cliff deal’s elimination of funding for not-for-profit consumer-led health plans may not spell the end for such plans.

Column – Cliff deal offers hope of solution on long-term care

Reuters
One notable bright spot in the fiscal cliff discussion: Congress agreed to take a hard look at long-term care.

Health Reform: The political storms are far from over

Brookings
The ACA was the major domestic legislative achievement of the victorious incumbent president who won reelection.

Five ways your health care will change in 2013

Washington Post
Many of the big changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act will start gradually in 2013.

Employers must offer family care, affordable or not

New York Times
Employers must offer health insurance to their employees and their children, but will not be subject to any penalties if family coverage is unaffordable to workers.

AKHR Notebook 12-28-12

Week of December 24 – December 28, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Healthcare tax hikes for 2013 may be just a start

Modern Healthcare
New taxes are coming January 1st to help finance President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

Healthcare’s tumultuous year

Modern Healthcare
Historians will no doubt look back on2012 as a watershed year in the evolution of the US healthcare system.

Medicare’s role and future challenges

The Journal of the American Medical Association
This month’s Visualizing Health Policy provides a step-by-step guide through the options and requirements for health coverage under the ACA in 2014.

“Rate Shock” will be at heart of new scare campaign against Obamacare

Huffington Post
Many people who have bought policies believe they have a health plan worth keeping.

Healthcare law may help baby boomers

USA Today
Baby Boomers stand to gain the most with full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

2013: How health care will affect you

CNN Opinion
There’s a lot that will happen in 2013 with respect to health care.

AKHR Notebook 12-21-12

Week of December 17 – December 21, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

The affordable care act has led to significant gains in health insurance and access to care for young adults

Health Affairs
The ACA enables young adults to remain as dependents on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.

Next challenge for the health law: Getting the public to buy in

New York Times
Many of those the ACA is supposed to help have no idea what it could do for them with a few knowing only that they could face a fine if they don’t have health insurance.

Three Obabmacare tax changes start in 12 days

Washington Post
The ACA has three new tax provisions that take effect the end of 2012 that are expected to raise $245.4 Billion in revenue by 2019.

Will fast food turn healthy next year?

Slate
One of the least noticed elements of the ACA is a federal rule requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus starting in 2013.

Obamacare rollout: What companies need to know

Wall Street Journal
The administration will continue to move full steam ahead with implementation, giving companies just over a year to comply with the numerous employer coverage and reporting requirements under the law.

The administration’s decision on partial Medicaid implementation: True to the law

Health Affairs
Can a state expand Medicaid to less than 133% of the federal poverty level and still receive 100% federal matching funds? NO.

Obama to run most health marketplaces as states opt out

Bloomberg
More than half of the state exchanges to be created under the ACA overhaul are expected to be run by the federal government.

AKHR Notebook 12-14-12

Week of December 10 – December 14, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

“Obamacare” is the law of the land, but 3 enormous challenges loom

National Journal
Much of the health reform law takes effect at the start of 2014. There’s not much time left for states and employers to prepare.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad Obamacare

Wall Street Journal
The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that it’s implementation was never going to be easy.

GOP state leaders fumble by ceding control of health exchanges to federal officials, critics say

Washington Post
Just 18 states and the District of Columbia say they plan to operate their own health insurance exchanges which are slated to begin enrollment in October, 2013.

Insurers face jumbled market with health exchange rules

Bloomberg
Rules for the six state insurance exchanges that have conditional approval are split evenly between those with strict criteria and those who have opened their exchanges to all comers.

HHS tells states it will not fund partial Medicaid expansion

Kaiser Health News
States may not expand Medicaid only part of the way and still get the additional federal funding provided in the Affordable Care Act.

Employers grumble about “sleeper” fee to stabilize insurance market in Obama’s health overhaul

Washington Post
There is a new charge to health insurance plans that will cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions.

New taxes to take effect to fund health care law

New York Times
The new levies, which take effect in January, include an increase in payroll tax on wages and a tax on investment income, including interest, dividends and capital gains.

Affordable Care Act Questions and Answers

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
CMS has developed a question and answer document to address many of the questions they have received.

AKHR Notebook 12-7-12

Week of December 3 – December 7, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Governors weigh options on health insurance exchanges

Kaiser Health News
To partner with the federal government or not. That is the question facing many governors as time approaches to carry out the ACA.

Interest groups push to fill margins of health coverage

New York Times
The main goal of the ACA has always been to guarantee medical coverage to nearly all Americans, but as states finalize their benefits packages, what is received will depend partly on location.

Small employers weigh impact of providing health insurance

New York Times
Some business owners and consultants warn that opting to have more part-time workers may not be the answer because many workers might decide to find jobs elsewhere.

Threading the needle – Medicaid and the 113th Congress

The New England Journal of Medicine
Medicaid is a veteran of decades of warfare over its size and cost. Nevertheless, the program plays a vital role in the US health care system.

New state-by-state report: consumers saw nearly $1.5Billion financial benefit from the ACA’s medical loss ratio requirement in 2011; Those with individual health insurance policies had greatest gains

Commonwealth Fund
Consumers with individual policies saw substantially reduced premiums when insurers reduced both administrative costs and profits to meet the new standards.

Huge experiment aims to save on care for poorest, sickest patients

Kaiser Health News
A large federal effort to move 2 million of the nation’s sickest and most expensive patients has begun to be rolled out..

How the fiscal cliff affects health care: Six questions

Kaiser Health News
The impending “fiscal cliff” is a package of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to kick in next month unless President Obama and Capitol Hill agree on a way to stop them.

The huge (And rarely discussed) health insurance tax break

NPR
The most tax revenue the federal government forgoes every year is from not taxing the value of health insurance that employers provide their workers.

Health plans gear up to sell directly to consumers

Kaiser Health News
Insurers are seeking novel ways to reach new customers who will mostly be shopping for and buying their own health insurance.

Health insurers will be charged to use new exchanges

New York Times
The Obama administration has said it will charge insurance companies to sell health insurance in new online exchanges run by the federal government

AKHR Notebook 11-30-12

Week of November 26 – November 30, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Analysis: Health exchanges and the litigation landscape

Kaiser Health News
The broadest legal challenge turns on whether Congress intended tax credits and subsidies to help consumers buy health insurance be available only through state-created exchanges.

Pay a penalty? Biz owners face health care dilemma

AP
Right now, no one knows how much insurance will cost, and business owners aren’t sure if they’d be better off not buying health insurance for their employees or paying the penalty.

Insurers join former adversaries to publicize health law

Bloomberg
A new non-profit organization plans a broad-based educational campaign to make uninsured people aware of the ACA’s benefits and help them sign up.

Unaffordable cost seen for some under Affordable Care Act

Bloomberg
Many uninsured will be surprised at how much they have to pay beyond the premium subsidies.

State-by-State impact of federal budget debate

AFL-CIO
Interactive map provides state by state detailed information on the impact of tax cuts and benefit cuts for social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Hope and Exchange

Wall Street Journal
The exchanges will help enforce the individual mandate and premium increases but will cost an incredibly high amount of money in information technology.

The cost and coverage implications of the ACA Medicaid expansion: National and State-by-State analysis

Kaiser Family Foundation
This analysis provides national and state-by-state estimates of the impact of the ACA on federal and state Medicaid costs and enrollment.

New, higher hurdle to deduct care

Wall Street Journal
Starting next year, taxpayers will only be able to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of their adjusted gross income.

AKHR Notebook 11-21-12

Week of November 19 – November 21, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

HHS releases proposed ACA insurance regulations

Modern Health Care
HHS on Tuesday issued highly anticipated regulations to implement provisions of the ACA related to health insurance market reforms.

Administration defines benefits that must be offered under the health law

New York Times
The rules released by HHS on Tuesday related to the ACA lay out 10 broad categories of essential health benefits, but allow each state to specify the benefits within those categories.

Governors have no excuse not to build insurance exchanges

Bloomberg
Any state that opts out of the effort to build its own exchange will have a one size fits all insurance exchange that will be built by the federal government.

Capretta and Levin: Why Obamacare is still no sure thing

Wall Street Journal
The ACA won’t be repealed while President Obama is in office, but the administration is heavily dependent on the states for its implementation.

GOP Governors welcome extension on health exchange decision

Kaiser Health News
News outlets run down which states have decided to develop their own marketplaces and which will defer to the federal government.

Five “Obamacare” battles to watch

The Hill
Republicans aren’t going to repeal the ACA in the next four years, but there’s still plenty of room for both political fights and policy changes.

AKHR Notebook 11-16-12

Week of November 12 – November 16, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Administration expected to release many new rules for health law shortly

Kaiser Health News
A deluge of new rules is expected in the coming days and weeks as the Obama Administration fleshes out the law’s complex components

Obama Administration extends deadline for state exchanges – Again

Kaiser Health News
Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, pushed back the deadline until Dec. 14 for states to submit letters of intent to build state-based insurance exchanges

Employers are giving employees the option of choosing their own health insurance plan

Washington Post
Some companies are giving employees a fixed amount of money and allowing them to choose their own health insurance coverage based on their individual needs.

Even without Rick Scott and GOP governors, Obamacare exchanges should flourish

Forbes
Whether online insurance shopping markets are run by states or by the federal government, these health insurance exchanges should effectively provide health benefits.

Alaska rejects state-run health insurance exchange

Anchorage Daily News
Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell’s spokesperson reconfirmed that Alaska will not create a state-run health insurance exchange.

Improvements sought for health insurance law

USA Today
Both Democrats and Republicans say now is the time for them to come together to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act.

Budget-cutters eye healthcare law’s insurance subsidies

The Hill
Advocates wonder if Congress might look to the healthcare law for spending cuts, specifically the health law’s subsidies.

Where each state stands on ACA’s Medicaid expansion

The Advisory Board Company
The SCOTUS ruling on the ACA allowed states to opt out of the law’s Medicaid expansion, leaving each state with a decision to participate

AKHR Notebook 11-9-12

Week of November 5 – November 9, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

President’s win is reprieve for “Obamacare”

Kaiser Health News
President Obama’s victory cements the Affordable Care Act but leaves weighty questions about how to pay for it.

With Obama re-elected, states scramble over health law

New York Times
President Obama’s re-election all but guarantees that the ACA will survive. Now comes another hurdle: making it work.

John Boehner says Obamacare is the law of the land, but still favors repealing legislation

Huffington Post
House Speaker John Boehner said that the president’s Affordable Care Act was now the “law of the land”.

What Obama’s re-election means for health care

Time
The biggest fear on election night for hospitals and businesses like health insurance companies and drug makers was that they would be left with a big mess to clean up.

Health care reform lives: What Obama must do to ensure it thrives

Huffington Post
The biggest obstacle facing successful implementation of the ACA is the law’s reliance on states to carry out the Medicaid expansion.

Obamacare survives – now what?

Politico Pro
Americans will now see what the ACA is supposed to look like with the big pieces such as individual mandate and coverage for pre-existing conditions coming in 2014.

Election 2012: A win for health reform, but much work remains

Health Affairs
Rules implementing the Affordable Care Act are needed

AKHR Notebook 11-2-12

Week of October 29 – November 2, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Halvorson: Premium costs in the exchanges will “depend entirely” on participation – The KHN interview

Kaiser Health News
Key to success of the exchanges is how well states do in getting people to enroll in coverage.

How the health law might be changed by the next president

Kaiser Health News
On the presidential campaign trail, Republican Mitt Romney has called for repeal of the ACA while President Obama has vowed to implement.

Employer-based health coverage declining at small firms, study finds

Modern Health Care
Although most Americans still receive health insurance coverage through their employers, a new study shows fewer than half of US employees in small firms were offered insurance.

Commentary: Catalyst for payment reform calls for price transparency by 2014

Modern Health Care
We all know we need to be careful stewards of our healthcare dollars. But if we can’t get at the price information, it’s just not doable.

Medical start-ups challenged by health care reform

Wall Street Journal
Medical entrepreneurs who have survived the downturn now face a new challenge: expanding their business amid the uncertainty created by health care reform.

U.S. bill for senior care higher than Canada’s

MedPage
Medicare spending in the U.S. has grown nearly three times faster since 1980 than a comparable group in Canada.

States seek help making health exchange rules

USA Today
Limited guidance meant to give states room to develop individualized health exchanges may be hampering their ability to meet the Nov. 16th deadline for blueprints, etc.

Consumer advocate cautions that state rules will impact scope of health law

Kaiser Health News
Health policy experts selected by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have released a report describing problems consumers might encounter under the ACA’s insurance reforms.

U.S. set to sponsor health insurance

New York Times
The Obama administration will soon take on a new role as the sponsor of at least two nationwide health insurance plans to be operated under contract with the federal government.

Analysis: Employees to face healthcare sticker shock

Reuters
Over the next 18 months, people who get insurance coverage through their employers may be paying more of their doctor’s bills themselves

The price of Medicaid expansion opt-outs: $53.3 billion

Washington Post
The national Association of Public Hospitals estimates the US will spend as much as $53.3 billion on the uncompensated care.

AKHR Notebook 10-26-12

Week of October 22 – October 26, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Medicaid costs rose at slowest rate since 2006, report says

Huffington Post
Medicaid spending increased during the 2012 fiscal year at the lowest rate since 2006., as a recovering economy reduced demand for health care programs for the poor.

Public-hospitals group warns uncompensated-care costs could rise

Modern Health Care
US hospitals could face as much as $53.3 billion in additional costs of uncompensated care by 2019.

Seven factors driving up your health care costs

Kaiser Health News
There is no one villain in the battle against rising health care costs. This article provides seven cost drivers that play a role in the rising costs of health care.

This election is all about health care

Bloomberg
The most important fact of the 2012 election is that the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010; it just hasn’t been fully implemented yet.

GOP plan would cut Medicaid by $1.7 Trillion, study says

Kaiser Health News
The House Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and turn Medicaid into a block grant program would save the federal government $1.7 trillion from 2013 to 2022.

What the Medicaid eligibility expansion means for women

National Women’s Law Center
Starting in 2014, 15 million uninsured Americans, including 7 million women will be newly eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Primary care with a personal touch

Modern Health Care
Patient centered medical homes: A practice model that emphasizes care coordination, increased access and enhanced doctor-patient communication.

RAC ‘em up

Modern Health Care
Five hundred staff hours spent by a large hospital each week recently dealing with recovery audit contractor audits.

Large employers look to on-site health clinics to reduce costs and absenteeism

Washington Post
On-site health clinics are increasingly being set-up at large companies that are looking for new ways to reduce health care costs.

Industry and Occupational Forecasts 2010 to 2020

Alaska Economic Trends
Health care and social assistance are projected to grow 31 percent in the next 10 years.

AKHR Notebook 10-19-12

Week of October 15 – October 19, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

A state-by-state look at the Medicaid expansion part of Obama’s health care law

Washington Post
The ACA would expand the number of people on Medicaid by raising the income eligibility. Here’s a look at where states stand.

Maybe the elephants really can dance!

Huffington Post
A lot of smart people and powerful organizations are spending time and capital to implement ambitious, sweeping changes.

How Wal-Mart may have just changed the game on health care

California healthline
Wal-Mart announced last week that it will become the first retailer to offer a national program that covers heart, spine and transplant procedures for its employees.

Making behavioral health a primary concern

Modern Health Care
IMPACT’s particular form of integrated mental healthcare calls for three clinicians – a frontline care manager, a primary care physician and a consulting psychiatrist.

Home health aides often as old as their clients

NPR
As America ages, its 2.5 million home health workers are graying right along with the clients they care for.

As more employers drop coverage, retirees turn to specialized insurance exchanges

Kaiser Health News
Some employers are contracting with companies that operate exchanges where retirees can enroll in plans to replace what they used to get from an employer.

Study finds premium support plan could raise Medicare premiums in many parts of country

Kaiser Health News
The study modeled the impact of a generic version of premium support, under which beneficiaries would receive a defined subsidy, or voucher to buy health insurance.

To the winner: Good luck – You’ll need it

Wall Street Journal
The presidential election is heading down to the wire. With three weeks to go, the polls show Mitt Romney and Barack Obama within a few points.

AKHR Notebook 10-12-12

Week of October 8 – October 12, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

State wants study of Medicaid expansion costs

Anchorage Daily News
The state health department is soliciting proposals for a study on the cost of Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

The wrong way to help the poor

The New York Times
Each year, American tax payers spend nearly $1 Trillion to help the poor, according to a recent study by the Cato Institute.

This election, a stark choice in health care

The New York Times
The presidential candidates’ sharply divergent proposals for Medicare, Medicaid and coverage of the uninsured have created much uncertainty.

Understanding health care in the 2012 election

New England Journal of Medicine
The outcome of the 2012 election will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of U.S. health care.

Implications of the affordable care act for American business

Urban Institute
Critics frequently characterize the Affordable Care Act as a threat to American business and to the survival of employer-based health insurance.

In new health exchange, human element of customer service is up for debate

Kaiser Health News
Health insurance exchanges are supposed to make it easy to compare health plans side-by-side.

The homestretch

Modern Health Care
Change meets challenge as healthcare interest groups anticipate the political outcome- and resulting policy consequences- of next month’s presidential election.

AKHR Notebook 10-5-12

Week of October 1 – October 5, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Insurers get ready for exchanges, but exchanges may not be ready for them

Kaiser Health News
The attraction of the 2010 health law for insurance companies is obvious: Millions of new customers and billions in new spending.


HHS signs $3Million PR contract to promote federal exchange

The Hill
The Obama Administration has awarded a $3 million public relations contract to highlight the federally facilitated exchanges in states that don’t set-up their own exchange.

On health care, two visions with their own set of facts

The New York Times
One are where Mitt Romney and President Obama seemed to inhabit parallel universes at their recent debate was on the question of health care and the government’s role in providing it.

Small businesses push back on D.C. insurance-exchange mandate

Washington Post
The District’s small businesses may have to buy their employee health insurance through a city-run exchange come 2014.

How will the election change Medicaid?

Kaiser Health News
The future of Medicaid – the state-federal workhorse of the nation’s health system that provides health coverage to the poorest and sickest Americans – hangs in the balance on election day.

Health insurance exchanges: Long on options, short on time

Price-Waterhouse Cooper
88 percent of the people new to health coverage after the health law fully goes into effect will be in relatively good health.

Many insurance plans heap healthcare costs on consumers

U.S. News
An analysis of 6000 health insurance plans marketed to individuals and families reveals that many of the consumers who enroll may confront high out of pocket costs.

Aging population a boon for health care workers

USA Today
As Baby Boomers age into retirement by the millions each year, their growing health care needs require more people to administer that care.

Administration advises states to expand Medicaid or risk losing federal money

New York Times
The Obama Administration is putting pressure on states to expand Medicaid.

For hospitals, health reform starts today

The Washington Post
October 1st saw two big parts of the ACA go into effect: preventable hospital re-admissions and value based purchasing

States probe HHS on partial Medicaid expansion options

American Medical News
Several states are querying the federal government on how flexible they can be in tailoring eligibility levels to expand Medicaid starting in 2014.

AKHR Notebook 9-28-12

Week of September 24 – September 28, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Analysis: Access to health care beginning to look like airline travel

Kaiser Health News
This article compares the health care system to the purchasing of airline tickets from being able to afford any kind of seat to being left on stand-by at the gate.

Who are the 6 million Americans paying the individual mandate tax?

The Atlantic
The penalty is meant to do two things: encourage Americans to buy health insurance and raise revenues for the government.


How to maximize your savings through smart health care benefit decisions

The Washington Post
Employers will soon be offering workers their yearly opportunity to make changes to their health care benefits.

Supreme Court to hear cases on hospital deals, payment appeals

Modern Healthcare
The US Supreme Court has set hearings in November and December for three healthcare cases that will test the boundaries for acquisitions, Medicare payment appeals and settlements in wage and hour class action lawsuits

2011 health care cost and utilization report

Health Care Cost Institute
After a two year slow down, health care spending grew 4.6 percent per capita in 2011.

The next frontier for elite med schools: Primary Care

Kaiser Health News
Elite schools have always focused on training specialists and researchers, but with the ACA’s increased emphasis on primary care, some are expanding their mission to include family medicine.

Health care law’s impact on businesses varies

USA Today
Investors, analysts and policymakers say any business that can help health care providers cut costs or keep patients from being readmitted to the hospital is attracting more customers and seeing more investment.

Liking it or not, states prepare for health law

The New York Times
The ACA requires states to have a plan in place for running a state based exchange or leave it to the federal government by November 16th.

AKHR Notebook 9-21-12

Week of September 17 – September 21, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Is a competitive health care model all it’s cracked up to be?
Kaiser Health News
For most of the last 50 years, health care spending, both by government and private programs, has grown an average of 2.5 percent points faster than GDP each year.

New bipartisan policy center report identifies key drivers of health care costs
Bipartisan Policy Center
A new report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) found that health care costs in the United States are expected to increase in coming years due to population growth, utilization and intensity of health care services and increasing prices.

The New Era Of Payment Reform, Spending Targets, And Cost Containment In Massachusetts: Early Lessons For The Nation
Health Affairs
The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that sets annual state spending targets, encourages the formation of accountable care organizations and establishes an independent commission to oversee health care system performance.

Health reform: Seven things you need to know now
Consumer Reports
Consumer reports has just released a new straightforward, easy-to-understand guide to help people understand how the changes brought about by the ACA will affect them.

Health care reform to ease health insurance shopping with plain-language paperwork
The Huffington Post
Starting this month, health insurance companies are required to use a new, standardized, plain-language form to explain what plans cover—and what they don’t.

Health reform 2.0: governors push back on Medicaid expansion
U.S. News
One of the main goals of the ACA is to extend health insurance coverage to most uninsured Americans. It does this for many lower-income people by expanding eligibility for Medicaid.

Six million uninsured will pay penalty – CBO
The Fiscal Times
Though 30 million people will remain uninsured in 2016 after the ACA goes into effect, nearly 6 million of them will pay the financial penalty recently upheld by the Supreme Court.

Dr Kate Scannell: Nation needs to talk wisely and calmly about health care costs
Mercury News
A new movement is afoot in health care to drag the “C word” (cost) out of hiding.

AKHR Notebook 9-14-12

Week of September 10 – September 14, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

What’s behind the slow down in health care costs?
National Journal
Healthcare spending increased by just 3.9 percent in 2010 and 3.8 percent in 2009, under 4 percent for the first time in fifty years.

Income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2011
U.S. Department of Commerce
The US Census Bureau announced that in 2011 median household income declined, the poverty rate was not statistically different from the previous year and the percentage of people without health insurance coverage decreased.

Realizing health reform’s potential: The Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition insurance plan: Enrollment, Costs and lessons for reform
Commonwealth Fund
This issue brief compares the pre-existing insurance plan with state-based high-risk pools that existed before the ACA.

Poor health costs US economy $576 billion according to the integrated benefits institute
Integrated Benefits Institute
There is a growing body of evidence that investing in a healthy workforce can have profound impacts on the bottom line.

Health care jobs report: A dire warning to Congress
Kaiser health news
A report predicts that the 2 percent cuts to Medicare providers included in the “budget sequester” beginning in January will cause as many as 766,000 health care jobs by 2021.

Cost of employer-sponsored coverage rises 4 percent over past year
Washington Post
The cost of employer-sponsored family health insurance rose a moderate 4 percent over the past year.

2012 annual rate review report: Rate review saves estimated $1 billion for consumers
Health care.gov
The ACA has saved consumers an estimated $2.1 billion on health insurance premiums according to a new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services

Medicaid as a middle class entitlement
Washington Post
Former President Bill Clinton recasts Medicaid as a program for the middle class, rather than for the welfare population.

AKHR Notebook 9-7-12

Week of September 3 – September 7, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health system in US plagued by $765 Billion in waste
Bloomberg
An Institute of Medicine advisory panel presented a report compiling $765 Billion in health-care waste, including $210 Billion a year in unnecessary treatments and $190 million in excessive administrative costs.

With Medicaid, long-term care of elderly looms as a rising cost
New York Times
Medicaid accounts for nationally a third of spending for elderly in nursing homes.

Biz groups push for answers on Minnesota exchange
Kaiser Health News
Business groups like the Chamber of Commerce are going public with complaints that major policy decisions remain to be made about the health insurance exchange in Minnesota.

Health care reform leaves some low-income Americans at risk for big medical costs
Huffington Post
Having health insurance is no guarantee one will be able to manage the bills when they come due.

Young people pay less for health coverage, older people pay more, under Maine’s market-based approach
Kaiser Health News
“Insurance reform is about ways to make what we charge consumers more fair, but it’s not a means to reduce the cost of insurance.”

Health-care goal should be quality, not quantity
Bloomberg
The Independent Payment Advisory Board was designed to be a backstop to make sure the health-care system makes a transition from fee-for-service payments to payments based on value.

2 campaigns differ sharply on Medicaid, seeking vast growth or vast cuts
New York Times
The outcome of the election will probably have a more immediate effect on Medicaid than Medicare.

AKHR Notebook 8-31-12

Week of August 27 – August 31, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Guidance on Analyzing and Estimating the Cost of expanding Medicaid
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Over the coming months, most states will be examining the impact of expanding Medicaid on their state budgets.

Medicaid expansion: States’ implementation of the PPACA
Families USA
This report addresses actions states are taking to implement the Medicaid expansion.

Implementing the ACA’s Medicaid-Related health reform provisions after the Supreme Court’s Decision
Kaiser Family Foundation
This brief addresses questions that may arise for states in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

Expanding Medicaid: The smart decision for Maryland
Health Affairs
The choice to expand Medicaid in Maryland reflects clear evidence that the expansion will support Maryland’s economy and the state budget.

Deal says he won’t pursue Medicaid expansion
Georgia Health News
Georgia’s Governor Deal announced at the Republican National Convention that he has no intention of expanding Medicaid in Georgia

Zero out of 512 employers plan to drop health insurance, survey says
The Washington Post
Employers are getting closer and closer to making a very big decision on whether to continue providing health insurance after coverage subsidies come online.

A glitch in health care reform
The New York Times
Confusing language in the health care reform law has raised the possibility that millions of Americans living on modest incomes may be unable to afford family policies nor qualify for subsidies.

Texas counties consider going it alone on Medicaid expansion
The Washington Post
Local officials in Texas are discussing whether to band together to expand Medicaid coverage in some of the state’s biggest counties.

AKHR Notebook 8-24-12

Week of August 20 – August 24, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

CBO cuts healthcare spending projections
Modern Health Care
A $160 million net decrease from earlier projected healthcare spending estimates helped slow somewhat the federal government’s expected accumulation of debt over the next decade.

The shift to an older Alaskan
State of Alaska – Trends
Baby boomers across the United States are reaching retirement age, and Alaska has a particularly large baby boom population.

AHA pushes HHS on Medicaid questions
Modern Health Care
Hospitals pressed HHS this week to address a range of Medicaid related uncertainties created by the Supreme Court’s decision on the ACA.

Health insurers see gains in serving poor and elderly
CNN Money
Giant health insurers have been gobbling up smaller ones, partly to take advantage of a new government experiment allowing them to manage care for millions of the nation’s sickest, poorest and oldest patients.

GOP: Add health taxes to fiscal cliff debate
Politico
When lawmakers return to Washington after the November elections, some House and Senate Republicans want the party to fight to repeal billions of dollars worth of new taxes designed to help pay for the health care overhaul.

House leaders press CMS for details on exchange rules
Modern Health Care
With three months left until states must submit their insurance-exchange applications, House leaders are putting pressure on CMS for more information about pending regulations related to insurance marketplaces and Medicaid.

Health Reform testing home-based care
US News
The independence at home demonstration project could have a huge impact on seniors with chronic illnesses.

GOP Govs fight with hospitals over Medicaid opt-in
The Fiscal Times
Three Governors, whose states have among the highest uninsured populations say their states can’t afford Medicaid expansion.

AKHR Notebook 8-17-12

Week of August 13 – August 17, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Opting into the Medicaid expansion under the ACA: Who are the uninsured adults who gain health insurance coverage
State Reform News
Purely monetary calculations ignore the potential human, financial, and productivity benefits associated with improved access to affordable health care.

Implementing health reform: A final exchange blueprint and other news
Health Affairs
On August 14, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released the final version of its Blueprint for approval of affordable state-based and state partnership insurance exchanges.

Washington health policy week in review: Deceleration in health spending: Is it only the weak economy?
The Commonwealth Fund
A big part of slower health care spending growth is a weak economy but it’s not all the economy according to a former head of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Obama pushed for state help on health exchanges
Reuters
The US Department of Health and human Services has scheduled four regional meetings this month to discuss exchanges with state officials.

Ambiguity in health law could make family coverage too costly for many
New York Times
Some working class families would be unable to afford family coverage offered by their employers, and yet they would not qualify for subsidies.

Brewer advisers form health pact to push to expand Medicaid
Arizona Central
An Arizona statewide group of human service providers have banded together with the goal of marshaling a united front to push Medicaid expansion through the legislature.

Medicaid: Flood of funds awaits ok in Georgia
Atlanta Journal – Constitution
The ACA would inject $40 billion into Georgia’s health care economy over 10 years with a $4.5 billion cost to the state.

End the chaos in health care
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
The Supreme Court ruling on health care reform presents unique opportunities, or challenges, for innovation, individual choice and market dynamics.

AKHR Notebook 8-10-12

Week of August 6 – August 10, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Some plans deny pregnancy coverage for dependent children
Kaiser Health News
The ACA does not guarantee that young women who stay on their parents’ health plans will have coverage for pregnancy.

Urban Institute’s ACA implementation monitoring and tracking series: Case studies
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Urban Institute is undertaking a comprehensive monitoring and tracking project to examine the implementation process and effects of the ACA.

Health care reform is a good deal for states
The Hill
States cannot afford to miss out on the cash and the almost free pass to provide coverage and care for millions of uninsured residents.

States can expand Medicaid, cut it later, CMS says
Modern Health care
States that expand their Medicaid programs under provisions of the ACA are free to cut them again in the future, the CMS has confirmed.

Retailers and hospitality industry employers face big healthcare reform cost increases: Mercer
Modern Health care
Employers in the retail and hospitality industries face the greatest cost increases when provisions of the ACA imposing financial penalties on employers who do not provide coverage go into effect in 2014.

Falling through cracks if states don’t expand Medicaid
NBC News
One of the main goals of the ACA was to extend health insurance starting in 2014 to 32 million people who are currently not covered.

Obama’s health-care law: The fitness and wellness provisions you may have missed
The Washington Post
Under the ACA it’s illegal for insurers to charge consumers a co-payment for a long list of health care services designed to prevent disease.

Study: Nearly a third of doctors won’t see new Medicaid patients
Kaiser Health News
About 69 percent of doctors nationally accept new Medicaid patients, but the rate varies widely across the country.

Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion helps middle-class families, state economies
Huffington Post
Medicaid is a lifeline for seniors, children, working families and people with disabilities. It creates jobs by pumping dollars into local economies.

U.S. officials brace for huge task of operating health exchanges
New York Times
Obama administration officials are getting ready to set up and operate new health insurance markets in about half the states.

AKHR Notebook 8-3-12

Week of July 30 – August 3, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Opinion: The costs of expanding (or not expanding) Medicaid
Health Policy Solutions
The cost of Medicaid expansion should be measured in three ways: the number of lives saved, the number of lives improved and the bottom-line cost in dollars and cents.

House GOP grill IRS commissioner on health care tax credits
Associated Press
House Republicans grilled the head of the IRS on the agency’s decision to apply the health care law’s tax credits in states that decide not to establish a state-run Exchange.

A systemic approach to containing health care spending
The New England Journal of Medicine
To effectively contain health care costs, solutions must target the drivers of both the level of costs and the growth in costs.

Medicaid expansion? Expand Pay too, physician’s say
Medscape Medical News
More people will gain coverage with Medicaid expansion, but not necessarily a clinician who is willing to treat them.

States see increased costs in Medicaid expansion: survey
Modern health care
Most states expect the Medicaid eligibility expansion to increase their costs, even during the three years that the federal government provides 100% reimbursement for the expanded enrollment.

Federal exchanges will be ready to operate by 2014, regulator says
Bloomberg BNA
Since not all states will be ready to set up online health insurance markets by 2014, the federal government will be ready to run a federally operated exchange.

5% of Americans spend 50% of health care dollars
The Fiscal Times
A new issue brief from the National Institute of Health Care Management showed that in 2009 half the population spent on average $236 per person on health care.

Thanks to Charles Bingham from SEARHC for the following articles:

Balancing Care: Going outside could harm local institutions

Alaska Native medical center a model for curbing costs, improving health

Dying to live: A behind the scenes look at cancer’s financial impact

AKHR Notebook 7-27-12

Week of July 23 – July 27, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

A formula for cutting health costs
Southcentral Foundation

New York Times
A health care system owned and managed by Alaskans has achieved astonishing results in improving the health of its enrollees while cutting the costs of treating them.

States eye leveraging health reform ruling to cut Medicaid eligibility
American Medical News
Some governor’s are challenging the validity of the “maintenance of effort” requirements established under the most recent federal stimulus law.

Forget the company plan – The boss wants you on dad’s insurance
Kaiser Health News
Young adults who need health insurance have more options than before under the health-care overhaul.

Exchanges can slow growth of health care costs
Politico
Exchanges create a transparent, easy-to-shop place for consumers to purchase health insurance from competing plans.

What does the Supreme Court’s health care decision mean for federal-state relations?
Boston Globe
Congress created a back-up plan in case states refused to create virtual insurance marketplaces but didn’t account for states refusing to expand Medicaid.

Is Parnell punting on Alaska health care?
Alaska Dispatch
As many as 77,000 Alaskans will enter the health insurance market once the ACA has been fully implemented.

Supreme Court decision cuts reform law’s 11-year cost by $84 billion, CBO says
Congressional Budget Office
The court’s decision to remove financial penalties on states that opt to not expand their Medicaid programs will reduce the law’s expected 11-year cost to $1.168 trillion from the projected $1.252 trillion.

Is Medicaid expansion good for the states?
US News and World Report
The Supreme Court ruled the federal government could not withdraw Medicaid funding to punish states for not expanding their programs.

Low-income older women will be worst hit if states don’t expand Medicaid
The Nation
More than 4 million women could be left uninsured if their states opt out of expanding Medicaid.

Medicaid expansion reduces mortality, study finds
Kaiser Health News
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a 6.1 percent reduction in mortality among low-income adults in 3 states that have expanded Medicaid coverage

AKHR Notebook 7-20-12

Week of July 16 – July 20, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Governors put off decisions on healthcare law until after Election Day
Modern Health care
Many governors from both parties said they haven’t decided how their states will proceed on two parts of the ACA under their control: Medicaid expansion and Exchanges

State of Alaska releases report on insurance exchange
State of Alaska
The Alaska Department of Health and Social released the final report by Public Consulting Group (PCG) on health insurance exchange planning.

Parnell rejects idea of state-run health exchange
Anchorage Daily News
Governor Parnell’s decision to not create a state-run health insurance exchange was announced shortly after the state health department released the PCG report.

Bill Frist to GOP Governors: Get cracking on exchanges
Kaiser Health News
A former GOP power player is urging Republicans to rethink their rejection of the health law and to implement state insurance exchanges.

Tax credits in federally facilitated exchanges are consistent with the ACA’s language and history
Health Affairs
Opponents to the ACA have theorized that tax credits would only be available through health insurance exchanges established by a State and not the federally facilitated exchanges

AKHR Notebook 7-13-12

Week of July 9 – July 13, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Ten things you didn’t know were in the ACA
Kaiser Health News
The measure’s hundreds of pages touch on a variety of issues and initiatives that have, for the most part, remained under the public’s radar.

Medicaid expansion a tough sell to governors of both parties
The Washington Post
While the resistance of Republican governors has dominated the debate over the SCOTUS decision, a number of Democratic governors are also quietly voicing concern

How the SCOTUS Medicaid ruling could save money
Kaiser Health News
The Supreme Court ruling on the health care law could have an unexpected effect – saving the federal government money.

Sebelius signals to states: Don’t roll back Medicaid eligibility
Kaiser Health News
The nation’s top health official signaled Tuesday that states should not try to use the SCOTUS ruling on the ACA to make it more difficult to qualify for Medicaid

Experts on Medicaid: Go slow
Politico Pro
The unexpected Medicaid ruling by the Supreme Court left states with unexpected options and dozens of questions.

States urged to consult with hospitals on Medicaid-expansion decisions
Modern health care
The importance of states checking with hospitals before rejecting the Medicaid expansion has drawn some bipartisan congressional support.

Brawling over health care moves to rules on exchanges
The New York Times
Critics of the new health care law are mounting a challenge to the provisions under which the federal government will subsidize health insurance for millions of low income people.

Obama’s 4 major ACA hurdles to go
Politico
There are four additional hurdles before President Obama and his administration can consider themselves clear of danger.

Opinion: The Supreme Court decision’s impact on Medicaid expansion
Healthcare Solutions
The way forward in states that do not elect Medicaid expansion as a viable solution will either be one of business as usual or a path marked by new tensions.

AKHR Notebook 7-6-12

Week of July 2 – July 6, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Clarity at Last
Modern Healthcare
The SCOTUS decision clears the way for a wave of implementation goals in the ACA, whose effects will ripple across the nation’s $2.7T healthcare industry for years to come.

Hospitals urge Medicaid expansion
Wall Street Journal
Hospitals are urging states to expand Medicaid enabling more people to be covered for costly services which currently are bad debt expenses to the hospitals.

Giving health care a chance to evolve
The New York Times
When the court affirmed the ACA’s constitutionality, many forecasters were astonished. The ruling came by the slimmest of margins.

Health-care ruling raises thorny questions about practical, financial ramifications
The Washington Post
The SCOTUS decision that states can opt out of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid without losing current federal funding has raised some thorny questions.

Limits on spending power seen as health ruling’s legacy
Bloomberg
The SCOTUS decision on the ACA has drawn attention for limiting Congress’s authority over interstate commerce, yet constitutional scholars say its biggest impact may be a curb on lawmaker’s ability to alter state Medicaid funding.

Making the Medicaid expansion an ACA option: How many low-income Americans could remain uninsured
Urban institute
The SCOTUS ruling on the ACA put the decision to expand Medicaid coverage to non-elderly with incomes below 138% of the FPL in the hands of the states.

Fifteen governors reject or leaning against expanded Medicaid program
The Hill
At least 15 governors have indicated they will not participate in the expansion of Medicaid under the healthcare law.

More legal challenges to ACA on way
Politico Pro
The next wave of lawsuits likely wouldn’t put the whole law at stake, as the challenge to the individual mandate could have.

Medicaid expansion: Who’s in? Who’s out?
NPR
Now that the Medicaid expansion is optional, it’s unclear how many uninsured people will ultimately gain coverage under the law.

Small business owners facing tough decisions in wake of health care ruling
Huffington Post
Small business owners are divided in their opinions of whether the SCOTUS decision was good or bad news for small business.

AKHR Notebook 6-22-12

Week of June 18 – June 22, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Supreme Court pushes health care ruling to next week
Boston Globe
The Supreme Court on Thursday indicated that it is likely to go into overtime next week to present its decision on the ACA.

Healthcare to create 5.6Million new jobs by 2020, report says
L.A Times
The healthcare industry will spawn 5.6 Million new jobs by 2020 – most of them high paying – requiring post-secondary training and education.

Billions of dollars are in play over health care law
New York Times
While speculation has focused on how the SCOTUS decision will affect the future of the nation’s health insurance market, little attention has been paid to the billions of dollars in federal money appropriated for a host of other provisions in the law.

Court challenge could result in Medicaid cutbacks instead of expansion
Kaiser health news
The future of the nation’s largest health insurance program – Medicaid – hangs in the balance of the Supreme Court’s decision on the 2010 health law.

Analysis: Healthcare sees emerging future in frugal innovation
Reuters
Big companies like GE and Siemens are working to develop cheaper medical devices that can secure sales in emerging markets and potentially win business at home.

Not just insurance is at stake
Wall Street Journal
It isn’t just large employers, medical businesses and constitutional scholars who are invested in the court’s decision. Chain restaurants, tanning salons and grocery stores have a lot riding on whether the law stays in place.

Health lobby poised to dissect ruling
Politico
Lawyers and lobbyists are preparing their rapid-response plans to dissect the decision and tell clients what it means.

Workplace clinics are expanding focus beyond injuries, preventative care
Kaiser health news
On-site workplace clinics used to be primarily focused on patching up people who got injured on the job.

Washington state provides case study on effects of health-care reform
Washington Post
In 1993, Washington state passed a law guaranteeing all residents access to private health care insurance, regardless of their health, and requiring them to purchase coverage.

AKHR Notebook 6-15-12

Week of June 11 – June 15, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

3 large insurers promise to keep many popular features of health law if high court strikes it down
Kaiser Health News
At least three major insurers Monday promised to continue following some of the rules in the ACA that are already in effect.

Some states too small to succeed with health exchanges
Politico Pro
There is concern in several states about whether there would be enough people to make the exchange viable.

Report: health law saw 6.6 million insured under parents’ plans
The Hill
The 6.6 million figure of 19 to 25 year olds insured on their parents’ plans represents a jump from the previous estimate of 2.5M.

As state revenues recover, increasing health costs remain a burden
The Washington Post
State revenues are finally returning to pre=recession levels, but the growing cost of providing health care for the poor is leaving most governments in dire fiscal straits.

Government forecasts modest health spending growth
Chicago Tribune
The annual growth rate for US health care spending will hover near historic lows in 2013 and rise at a modest pace for much of the next decade.

Health law without mandate may hike costs
Market Watch
If the Supreme Court throws out a central part of the ACA, it is likely to disrupt but not totally derail changes to the medical and insurance system that are already under way.

Medicaid fraud audits cost five times amount US found
Bloomberg
A program to fight fraud in the Medicaid health system for the poor has cost the US at least $102M in auditing fees since 2008 while identifying less than $20M in overpayments.

AKHR Notebook 6-8-12

Week of June 11 – June 15, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

California health insurance exchange awards operational contract
Los Angeles Times
California’s new health insurance exchange awarded a contract worth nearly $360M to create a website and enrollment system to help Californians shop for health coverage

Big changes in college health plans
Wall Street Journal
Some colleges are dropping student health-insurance plans for the coming academic year and others are telling students to expect sharp premium increases.

The new normal in health insurance: High deductibles
Kaiser
Seventy percent of large companies recently surveyed said they’ll offer high deductible insurance by 2013.

In health reform debate, white house looks beyond individual mandate
The Huffington Post
Health care reform advocates are growing more confident in the idea that the ACA can remain viable even if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate.

Analysis: HHS has missed nearly half of healthcare law’s deadlines
Health watch
HHS has missed nearly half of its legal deadlines while implementing President Obama’s healthcare law.

Feels like it’s 2018
Employers prepare for health-plan tax
Modern healthcare
A tax on so called “Cadillac” health insurance plans set to take effect in 2018 is already a focus for some employers.

States join to create tools for implementing ACA
The Washington Post
For 14 months, a bipartisan group of 17 states has been quietly collaborating with the Obama administration to help build a foundation for the health-care reform law’s success.

US Administration ready for health ruling: Sebelius
Reuters
HHS Secretary Sebelius said the administration will be ready to respond if the Supreme Court strikes down all or part of the ACA

AKHR Notebook 6-1-12

Week of May 28 – June 1, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Louisville’s strategy for the future: Stick with the old folks
Growing number of companies dealing with Long term care

Kaiser Health News
Louisville hosts the largest concentration of nursing home and extended care companies in the nation.

A health care set-up both sides could live with
News Observer
Even if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA, people will still be getting sick, costs will keep rising and too many people will be uninsured.

Don’t force consumers to use insurance brokers
Des Moines Register
Before the Iowa legislature adjourned this month, they passed a bill requiring navigators in the Health insurance Exchange to be licensed agents.

Few takers for Obama’s small-business health care tax credit; Congress unlikely to fix flaws
Washington Post
Many small businesses struggle to afford health insurance for their workers, but a new tax credit meant to help them seems to be turning into a disappointment.

IT could end up being health reform’s highest hurdle
Politico Pro
Even states that are solidly committed to pursuing an exchange are facing major logistical challenges in building the computer systems that will be able to handle enrollment for exchanges.

Senate Republicans signal big shift on “Obamacare”
Talking Points
Senate Republicans are echoing the House GOP’s shift in favor of some of the more popular ACA provisions.

Medicaid expansion: California’s big bet on health reform
Center for Health Reporting
According to a policy brief by Kaiser, California is one of only eight states currently expanding its Medicaid program ahead of health reform.

AKHR Notebook 5-25-12

Week of May 21 – May 25, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Study: Health care costs on rise
Politico Pro
A new study could pose a challenge to the basic premise of President Obama’s approach to controlling health costs – that spending will come down if doctors don’t give patients as much unnecessary medical care.

Few states set for health exchanges
Politico Pro
Many insurance experts and health policy consultants predict only a dozen or so states will be ready to run exchanges on their own.

A long view on health care: Think like an investor
New York Times
Could health care costs be reined in by improving access to preventative care? It’s an idea that appeals to policy makers and many public experts.

How is the affordable care act leading to changes in Medicaid today? State adoption of 5 new options
Kaiser
One primary goal of the ACA is to significantly reduce the number of uninsured through a Medicaid expansion and the creation of new health insurance exchanges.

More than half of individual health plans offer coverage that falls short of what can be sold through exchanges as of 2014
The Commonwealth Fund
More than half of Americans who have health coverage through the individual market are in plans that would not meet the standards for “e

AKHR Notebook 5-18-12

Week of May 14 – May 18, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

U.S. sets deadline for proposals on state healthcare exchanges
Reuters
The Department of Health and Human Services released a detailed blueprint of the legal and operational requirements states must meet in their proposals if they expect to win federal approval to begin operating regulated insurance markets by January 1, 2014

Health care reform: GOP preps plan for ruling on law
Politico Pro
House Republican leaders are quietly hatching a plan of attack as they await a historic Supreme Court ruling on the ACA.

Individual insurance benefits to be available under health reform would have cut out-of-pocket spending in 2001-08
Health Affairs
Under the ACA, individual health insurance will probably become more generous and more like employment-related insurance.

Study: Insurers to lose $1Trillion if health law struck down
Healthwatch
Nearly one-tenth of the insurance industry’s total revenue through 2020 is at stake in the Supreme Court’s decision on healthcare reform.

Not enough doctors
McClatchy
The physician workforce that will be needed to care for millions of newly insured people deserves attention.

Insurers must also report when they do meet MLR target, rule says
Modern health care
Health insurance companies that meet or exceed the medical loss ratio standard in the ACA must notify policy holders on or after July 1.

Senate panel looks at innovative health care strategies
Kaiser Health News
No matter how the Supreme Court rules next month, there will be continued focus on making the health care system more efficient.

Innovation grants: Adding resources to ideas to improve health care delivery
Kaiser Health News
Last week, the CMS innovation center awarded 26 grants to a variety of health care organizations.

AKHR Notebook 5-11-12

Week of May 7– May 11, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Report: Millions of employers fail to claim healthcare tax credit
The Hill
Millions of small businesses failed to claim tax credits they could have received under the ACA.

Study: States should limit number of plans in exchange
The Hill
States should use their new insurance exchanges to narrow down the number of plans consumers can choose from.

Health Care Innovation Awards: Project Profiles
CMS
The CMS Innovation Center has announced the first batch of preliminary awardees for the health care innovation awards.

Jawboning by HSS doesn’t scare insurers
Politico Pro
Health insurers flagged by the Department for “unreasonable” premium hikes are refusing to back down in the first year of HHS’s new rate review authority.

High uninsured rates can kill you – even if you have coverage
The Washington Post
There are many health policy studies that link uninsurance to worse health outcomes. A study in the Journal of health Economics finds that rates of uninsurance mean worse outcomes even for those with coverage.

Health care access worsened for Americans since 2000: Report
Huffington Post
Even having good health insurance is no guarantee of getting the best health care.

Study: Savings and risks in health insurance trend
The Seattle Times
It’s the hottest trend in job-based health insurance: plans that give you a personal savings account for medical bills but also require you to pay a hefty share of costs before coverage kicks in.

Long-Term care insurance: Who needs it?
NPR
Americans routinely buy all sorts of insurance – for cars, homes, health. But when it comes to long-term care insurance, relatively few sign up.

High health care spending seen driven by price
Stateline
The rising cost of health care has plagued state Medicaid programs for decades, with the federal-state health plan for low income patients now claiming more than a quarter of state budgets.

What’s in a name: Health exchanges, marketplaces…Or swap meets
Kaiser Health News
Health insurance exchanges may be up for rebranding.

AKHR Notebook 5-4-12

Week of April 30 – May 4, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Quick facts about high deductible health plans
Kaiser health news
A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about half of all workers in “small” businesses (up to 199 workers) who have health insurance have high deductible plans.

In hopeful sign, health spending is flattening out
New York Times
The growth of health spending has slowed substantially in the last few years, surprising experts and offering some fuel for optimism about the federal government’s long-term fiscal performance.

Implementing health reform: Amidst turbulence, federal work goes on
Health Affairs
ACA implementation continues its onward march as the federal agencies – The Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor – press ahead with “guidance” notices on requirements and procedures on which implementation depends.

Pitting employees against each other…for health
Wall Street Journal
A growing number of workplace programs are borrowing techniques from digital games in an effort to encourage regular exercise and foster healthy eating habits.

Kitzhaber saves Oregon budget and his reputation in health care deal with Obama administration
Oregon Live
Governor Kitzhaber worked with the Obama administration to ensure a Medicaid waiver for delivering health care to the poor was approved.

U.S. health care spending “dwarfs” that of other countries
Politico Pro
The United States spends more on health care than 12 other industrialized countries, a new Commonwealth Fund study finds. The US spent nearly $8000 per person for health care services in 2009.

Employers save $422B if they dump health coverage. Will they?
Washington Post
A report out from Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, estimate that America’s largest companies could save a collective $422B over a decade by dropping health insurance for their employees.

More doctors on the way, higher costs to follow
The Fiscal Times
A major expansion is underway at the nation’s medical schools that will sharply increase the number of new physicians entering the workforce over the next decade.

AKHR Notebook 4-27-12

Week of April 23 – April 27, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Getting more value for your premium dollar
Estimates of insurer rebates

Health Care Blog
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that insurer rebates will total $1.3B in 2012.

As Supreme Court mulls healthcare, rumors fly
Justices maintain their secrecy

Reuters
It has been more than 25 years since any word of a case’s resolution has been leaked.

Insurers are spending more of our dollars on actual health care
The Washington Post
One of the first health reform provisions to go into effect was a rule that insurers spend at least 80 percent of every premium dollar on medical costs.

Health reform – Genie is out of the bottle
The Hill
Virtually every state is now engaged in using federal grants to build state exchanges and expand Medicaid.

Health law’s demise would save big bucks, for some
Supreme court’s decision would upend numerous tax provisions

Market Watch
Wealthy Americans are not the only taxpayers affected if the Supreme Court overturns all or part of the ACA.

Employment based health benefits: Trends in access and coverage, 1997-2010
Employee Benefit Research Institute
Since 2002 the percentage of workers with health coverage has been declining, mostly because fewer workers have access to coverage.

The next health care overhaul? Look to employers
Bloomberg Business Week
If the Supreme Court strikes down the ACA, employers and insurance companies will be the main drivers of change over the next decade.

Young people are not invincible
Huffington Post
The facts show that the vast majority of young people do want health insurance.

AKHR Notebook 4-20-12

Week of April 16 – April 20, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Sebelius: Focus is on reform implementation
Modern healthcare
HHS Secretary Sebelius reiterated the administration’s position that it does not have a contingency plan ready should the Supreme Court rule this summer that the ACA is unconstitutional.

Study: Many face gaps in insurance coverage
Politico
Twenty-six percent of American adults were uninsured for a period of time in 2011 and for the most part, people went without health insurance because they lost or switched jobs.

Consumer-directed US health insurance surges
Reuters
Account-based health insurance plans, which offer lower premiums in exchange for higher deductibles are being offered by more employers.

Survey: Key groups unaware of health law benefits
Kaiser Health News
Despite the millions of people who have gained insurance coverage as a result of the health law, a survey released Thursday shows outreach efforts for two popular provisions are missing key parts of the their target audience.

Massachusetts health reform spending, 2006-2011: An update on the “budget buster” myth
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation
Massachusetts has achieved near universal health care coverage with only modest additional costs to taxpayers.

Right winning war on state health-insurance exchanges
Politico Pro
Almost all red states are holding off on exchange legislation at least until the Supreme Court decides on the ACA and in most of those states, exchange-building legislation has crawled to a stop.

Jobs, funding related to health care law at risk
Politico Pro
A recent Senate Republican analysis of federal jobs data concluded that thousands of new HHS workers are busy implementing the health law, with about 3000 new positions in the Office of the Secretary. Some could end up without jobs if the ACA is ruled unconstitutional.

The simple idea that is transforming health care
How is health affecting your quality of life?

Wall Street Journal
A focus on quality of life helps medical providers see the big picture – and makes for healthier, happier patients

Health care reform: Workers may trade health insurance for raises
Huffington Post
A minority of big companies offered extra pay to workers who waived their health benefits last year.

Medicare to tie Doctors’ pay to quality, cost of care
Payment reform

Kaiser Health News
Medicare plans to distribute resource use reports to physicians which will be used to enact a provision in the ACA: paying more to doctors who provide quality care at lower cost to Medicare, and reducing payments to physician’s who run up Medicare’s costs without better results.

AKHR Notebook 4-13-12

Week of April 9 – April 13, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

As Supreme Court weighs health care reform, contractors await their fate
The Washington Post
The Public Consulting Group (PCG) is helping states determine what types of plans health insurance companies should offer and how best to merge consumers with plan providers in an open market. PCG is working the State of Alaska on design of its health insurance exchange.

Cuomo acts to advance health law in New York
New York health insurance exchange

The New York Times
Governor Cuomo issued an executive order to establish a health insurance exchange that he says will drive down the cost of insurance while helping the 2.7M uninsured New Yorkers.

Many seniors unaware of benefits now at risk
Chicago Tribune
As the Supreme Court decides the fate of the ACA, seniors may want to grab the law’s perks while they can.

Survey: Growth in health costs is slowing
The Hill
Healthcare costs aren’t growing quite as rapidly as they have in the past. The study predicts that health insurance costs will rise less than 10 percent – the first time growth has been that low in more than a decade.

Next generation of doctors sees gloomy future
Reuters
A majority of young doctors feel pessimistic about the future of the US healthcare system.

Vital Signs by phone, then, with a click, a doctor’s appointment
Technology in healthcare

The New York Times
Entrepreneurs are starting health care technology companies that are changing the way we interact with the entire system.

Misconceptions seen in health care reform arguments
Chicago Tribune
During the recent oral arguments, some of the justices seemed to be under the impression that the law does not allow most consumers to buy low-cost, stripped down insurance.

More than 1M Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in health law savings programs
27 new accountable care organizations

Health watch
27 accountable care organizations have signed contracts with the Medicare agency to serve 375,000 beneficiaries in 18 states.

Individual mandate better than tax, study says
Yale Daily News
A new Yale study finds that mandate-based health care is the most cost-efficient form of universal health care.

AKHR Notebook 4-6-12

Week of April 2 – April 6, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Building it from the ground up: A conversation with state health insurance exchange leaders
Webinar with 3 states on health insurance exchange

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
On April 12th, a panel discussion with exchange directors from 3 states is being hosted by the National Academy for State health Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Registration is available at this link.

Commonwealth north briefings: Removing the uncertainty in Alaska’s health care future – Balancing cost, quality and access
CWN forum registration President, American Hospital Association

Commonwealth North
Richard Umbdenstock will speak to the future of health care, the role of hospitals in the future, and the momentum to improve quality which reduces cost.

Governor’s Budgets for FY2013 – What is proposed for Medicaid?
Kaiser Family Foundation
Governor’s proposed budgets reflect variation in economic conditions as well as policy priorities across states.

Feeling a subtle impact: 2.5M young adults gain coverage, while insurers barely register a change in costs
Modern Healthcare
Both insurers and employer groups saw only marginal cost increases attributed to the new eligibility requirements which allow dependents to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

Health insurers move ahead, with or without the individual mandate
Kaiser Health News
Insurers say mandate is only one of their concerns and maybe not even the
biggest one.

Medicaid expansion will rise to 13% by 2017
The Fiscal Times
The expansions of Medicaid in the late 1980’s that offered coverage to all poor children not on welfare was a substantially larger increase in relative terms than what is being proposed under the ACA.

Looking ahead, Republicans examine options in health care fight
New York Times
Republicans say they will have to make good on their pledge to replace the health care law if the Supreme Court strikes down any significant parts of it.

Political Fallout: High court showdown hurts health care law and justices
The Washington Post
The three days or oral argument on the ACA in front of the Supreme Court sliced into public attitudes about the law and the court.

The court can’t stop the health-care revolution
The Washington Post – Post Opinions
The health-care overhaul is happening, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

AKHR Notebook 3-30-12

Week of March 26 – March 30, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

THIS WEEK: ALL THINGS SUPREME COURT

19th Century law is focus on first day of Supreme Court arguments
Day 1: Anti-injunction

Modern Healthcare
Monday’s 90 minutes of oral argument focused on the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-injunction Act bars any lawsuit in any court from interfering with the collection of a tax before the amount is paid or a formal collection action has begun.

Day 2: Justices grill Obama Administration on Health Law
Individual Mandate

Kaiser Health News
Tuesday’s oral argument focused on what many are calling the central question of the Supreme Court hearings: Does Congress have the power to require Americans to purchase health insurance?

Justices hear arguments on killing all or part of reform law
Day 3: Severability
Modern Healthcare
Wednesday’s oral argument began with discussion on whether the entire health care law would need to be struck down if the Supreme Court deems the individual mandate to purchase insurance is deemed unconstitutional.

Medicaid arguments close out health reform challenge
Day 3 (cont): Medicaid expansion

Modern Healthcare
Arguments in Wednesday afternoon’s session centered on whether the federal government was acting in an illegally coercive manner by threatening a state’s entire Medicaid funding if the state refused to expand eligibility for the program to citizens at 138% of the FPL.

5 Supreme Court takeaways
Politico
After three days and six hours of arguments, opinions about the outcome of the future of the health law.

The Supreme Court will decide on the healthcare law soon. It will tell you later – not public until June
The Washington Post
If the usual process occurs, the Supreme Court justices will cast their votes on Friday on the constitutionality of the healthcare law. They will then spend the next few months before making their decision known publicly, writing the opinions that layout the legal framework for their decisions.

AKHR Notebook 3-23-12

Week of March 19 – March 23, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements

High court has options on health care law
Associated Press
The Supreme Court has several options in ruling on the ACA, from upholding the law to striking it down in its entirety.

Health care in America: Follow the money
NPR
Some know how much we pay for our own medical care, but many aren’t aware of how immense an industry health care is in the US.

Health care law helps 5.1M people with Medicare save $3.2B
US Department of Health and Human Services
New data shows that seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare have saved over $3.2B on prescription drugs because of the ACA.

Scorecard: What the health law has delivered, or not
Kaiser Health News
Many of the provisions of the ACA don’t take effect until 2014, some key changes have already kicked in.

White House marks the ACA anniversary with caution, defiance
Healthwatch
The second anniversary of the ACA comes just days before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on its constitutionality.

Why the health care mandate isn’t mushy liberalism
The Fiscal Times
To make the marketplace for individual and small group insurance policies more efficient and affordable, the pool of participants had to expand which would lower costs for everyone.

Nearly all states have taken some action on ACA
49 states have taken ACA action

Commonwealth Fund
A new Commonwealth Fund survey reports that 49 states have taken some action supporting the ACA implementation. Only Arizona has taken no action.

Supreme court health law rulings could have big impact
McClatchy
More on the Supreme Court hearings next week

AKHR Notebook 3-16-12

Week of March 12 – March 16, 2012
Health Reform notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements

HHS issues final rule to implement health insurance exchange markets
Bloomberg BNA
The Department of Health and human Services issued a final rules for Health Insurance Exchanges on March 12.

The Health Reform Law’s Medicaid Expansion: A guide to the Supreme Court Arguments
Kaiser Foundation
This brief provides a short background on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and explains the lawsuit pending with the Supreme Court

Legal experts predict a win for “Obamacare”
Los Angeles Times
85% of the experts polled said the act would be upheld

The Health Law and the Supreme Court: A primer for the upcoming oral arguments
Kaiser Health News
The Supreme Court will hear 6 hours of oral argument beginning March 26th – more time given to a case since 1966.

Early evaluations of the medical home: Building on a promising start
The American Journal of Managed Care
Although the PCMH is a promising innovation, rigorous quantitative and comprehensive implementation analyses are needed to assess effectiveness.

Health insurance rising costs
Oregon Live
The researchers warn that the US health care system is headed toward a meltdown unless the country can agree on reforms that substantially curb the growth of spending.

Rising to the Challenge: Results from a scorecard on local health performance, 2012
The Commonwealth Fund
The first ever scorecard on local health care performance provides US communities with comparative data to assess the performance of their health care systems.

Reform rule details Medicaid expansion
Modern HealthCare
A final rule issued by HHS on Friday will create a minimum income-based eligibility standard for every state’s Medicaid program

Home Health care companies’ profits up in 2010
USA Today
Home health companies made an average of 19.4% profit in 2010 prompting the independent board that oversees Medicare to ask Congress to lower reimbursement rates.

AKHR Notebook 3-9-12

Week of March 5 – March 9, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Medicaid waivers pave way for reform
Politico
Some states are bringing in billions of dollars through Medicaid waivers. Waivers are not new, nor were they started with the ACA. Some states are getting billions with the caveat that they undertake quality reforms, which coincide with the goals of the ACA.

Four Sacramento area counties prepare for early test of Obama’s health care overhaul
California takes advantage of Medicaid waivers

The Sacramento Bee
All four Sacramento area counties are joining a program that will insure tens of thousands of residents who have been without coverage, more than a year before federal health care changes kicks-in.

Utah Senate passes bill to opt out of federal health reform
The Salt Lake Tribune
The Utah Senate voted to join an interstate compact seeking to opt out of federal health reform and to let states control such programs as Medicaid and Medicare with federal block grants.

Survey shows Americans pay a lot more for health care
National Journal
Americans pay more than people in other countries on just about every medical procedure and doctor’s visit, according to a new report from the International Federation of Health Plans.

Oregon health care overhaul picks up where Obama left off; critics say costs will rise
The Washington Post
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber last week signed a law that will create new regional entities, called coordinated care organizations, which will be expected to improve care and reduce costs.

Under the ACA, 105 Million Americans no longer face lifetime limits on health benefits
APSE Issue Brief
The Department of Health and Human Services estimated the number of Americans receiving these new protections.

States eagerly awaiting final rule on exchanges from NAIC expected “soon”
Life Health Pro
Final rules on Exchanges from DHHS are due out later this month. The rule is expected to institutionalize how exchanges should implement outreach and education programs and comply with oversight and program integrity requirements.

Health Reform GPS
Health Reform GPS
This site is designed to present unbiased information about the health reform legislation while also setting forth implementation issues that may arise from a full range of stakeholder views on any particular topic.

Alzheimer’s care to cost $200 Billion this year
Kaiser Health News
The report issued by the Alzheimer’s Association also estimates that as many as 800,000 Americans have this illness and live alone.

AKHR Notebook 3-2-12

Week of February 27 – March 2, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Healthcare history: How the patchwork coverage came to be
Los Angeles Times
The long standing tension between public and private healthcare in America has produced a unique and confusing way to provide protection against the cost of ill health

Many States take a wait and see approach on new health insurance exchanges
New York Times
Many states are waiting for the Supreme Court decision or the November elections before creating their health insurance exchanges. They will be too late for the Jan. 1, 2013 certification by the federal government if work is not begun before then.

Americans divided on repeal of 2010 health care law
Gallup Politics
Americans divide evenly when asked if they favor or oppose a Republican president’s repealing the 2010 healthcare law if elected this November.

States should study spending before picking benefits, report says
LA Times
States should consider the medical care used by the highest-cost patients who battle cancer and other chronic conditions when setting essential benefits under federal reform.

Eastern Perspectives
Healthcare reform in China

Modern Health care
China moves forward with its’ own version of health care reform.

Healthcare workforce will be tested by reform
Houston Chronicle
Will our health care workforce be large enough to handle the future needs of Americans?

Prevention funding: One step forward, two steps back
Health Affairs Blog
President Obama’s proposed 2013 budget cuts prevention funding by using prevention funds to backfill other cuts. The prevention fund remains flat until 2017.

AKHR Notebook 2-24-12

Week of February 20 – 24, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Court Action could prolong health care fight
USA Today
On the first day of oral argument the Supreme Court will consider the federal policy that restricts lawsuits from being brought forward until a tax or penalty has been levied. If the answer is yes, the legal fight over a key part of the law could be delayed.

FAQ’s on essential health benefits
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
DHSS released a Bulletin describing the approach it intends to take in future rulemaking to define the essential health benefits under the ACA. The FAQ’s provide additional guidance.

Implementing health reform: State innovation and Medicaid waivers
HHS issues 2 final regulations implementing ACA sections

Health Affairs Blog
DHHS issued 2 final regulations on ACA provision allowing for flexibility for innovation waivers to implement state-specific health reform approaches that vary from certain ACA requirements and amendments to public notice and reporting for Medicaid waivers.

50,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions find health coverage
Think Progress Health
DHSS report indicates 50,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions have been provided with health coverage as a result of a temporary program intended to make health coverage available and more affordable for individuals who are uninsured

Remodeling Required?
PCMH demos advance

Modern Health care
Both AETNA and Wellpoint announced that they would start paying more money to primary care physicians whose practices qualify as PCMH.

A shift from nursing homes to managed care at home
Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly – PACE

New York Times
Nursing home operators are closing some facilities and embracing an emerging model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes and still receive the medical and social services available in institutions.

Oregon Attorney General joins 11 other attorney generals sin support of the ACA
Friend of the court brief filed by Oregon AG

Salem news
Oregon’s Attorney General joined 11 other attorney generals and the Governor of Washington in support of the constitutionality of the ACA related to the Medicaid expansion provision

10 states receive an additional $230M for health insurance exchange development
The Washington Post
Federal officials say another 10 states are getting a total of $230 M to set-up new health insurance markets. Seven of them have either adopted plans or are making substantial headway.

California Medicaid case heads back to the lower courts
SCOTUS declines to rule on provider’s suit

Modern Health care
The Supreme Court sent a case brought forward by California physicians who sued the state for reimbursement cuts stating that this violated federal law that the payments were not sufficient to sustain quality and access for beneficiaries.

AKHR Notebook 2-17-12

Week of February 13 – 17, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Mapping the effects of the ACA’s Health Insurance Coverage Expansion
Kaiser
The Kaiser Family Foundation has put out a map hat looks at what parts of the country will be affected the most by the ACA insurance expansion. The interactive map allows the reader to input a zip code to what share of the population will be eligible for expanded coverage through Medicaid or tax credits.

Preview: The “very big deal” : SCOTUS takes on The Health Law
interview with Stuart Taylor

Kaiser Health News
Part one of two conversations about the historical significance of the Supreme Court’s review of the ACA.

SCOTUS Preview Part 2: Analyzing the likely high court arguments on the health law
Interview with Stuart Taylor: Part 2

Kaiser Health News
Part two of two conversations about the historical significance of the Supreme Court’s review of the ACA.

Sebelius sees exchanges bolstering employer coverage
Modern healthcare
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday on the administration’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal, Sebelius said she expects the coming insurance marketplaces to bolster employer-sponsored coverage by allowing those companies to buy coverage there.

Medicare and commercial insurance: The fundamental difference
Health Affairs Blog
It is critical to understand the fundamental difference between Medicare and commercial insurance for working people.

Alaska takes biggest step yet toward exchange
Kaiser Health News
Alaska has hired Pacific Consulting Group to study the state’s options for setting up an exchange.

What Obama’s Budget proposal means for disease prevention
Wall Street Journal
Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget would scale back the public health and prevention fund by over $4B by fiscal 2022.

Obama budget sets aside $864M to set up healthcare law
The Hill
Obama’s 2013 budget includes funds for implementation of exchanges including $290M for consumer and beneficiary education and outreach.

Fact Sheet: President Obama’s budget expands, simplifies small business health care tax credit
The White House
In his fiscal year 2013 Budget, President Obama has called for expanding and simplifying the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. If the President’s proposal is enacted, the tax credit would benefit nearly half a million employers who provide insurance to four million workers.

AKHR Notebook 2-10-12

Week of February 6 – 10, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Appeals court rules that seniors receiving social security can’t reject Medicare eligibility
The Associated Press/Washington Post
A federal appeals court ruled that seniors who receive social security cannot reject their legal rights to Medicare benefits. The plaintiffs said their private insurers limit their coverage because they are eligible for Medicare. They would prefer the coverage from their private insurers.
The ACA Supreme Court Litigation: The States’ Medicaid and Minimum Coverage Briefs

The ACA Supreme Court Litigation: The States’ Medicaid And Minimum Coverage Briefs
Health Affairs Blog
Briefs continue to be filed at a furious pace in the Affordable Care Act Supreme Court litigation.. To date, 59 amicus briefs have been filed.

Survey highlights gaps in care faced by poor
Modern Healthcare
Low income adults were less likely to have insurance and receive needed medical care than adults with higher incomes. The survey is the first in a series by the Commonwealth fund that will track household insurance status and access to medical care.

HHS issues plain-language regulations for health plans
Modern healthcare
Final rules issued by HHS on Thursday established the first nationally standardized descriptions for the coverage provided by health insurance plans.

Will we get the biggest bang from health laws prevention grants?
Kaiser Health News
Backers of the health law’s provision of $15B for prevention efforts believe it has the potential to improve health and reduce costs.

eHealth initiative releases report on health IT recommendations for ACA
Health News Digest
The report illustrates how the recommended infrastructure can support patient safety, improve care for at-risk populations and help providers demonstrate financial accountability and quality management.

UNUM stops group long-term care sales
Individual.com
UNUM has joined Guardian Life Insurance and MetLife in a move away from the long-term care business.

AKHR Notebook 2-3-12

Week of January 30 – February 3, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Obama lawyers argue rest of health law can survive
Reuters
The 26 states and the business group have challenged the law as an unprecedented move that exceeds its constitutional powers and argued in written briefs filed last month the entire law must fall if the court strikes down the individual mandate.

Final rule regarding Medicaid, insurance exchange eligibility may be near
Healthcare business news and research | Modern Healthcare
Federal officials could release a final rule in the coming days implementing key provisions of the 2010 federal healthcare act on Medicaid and insurance exchange eligibility.

The health care sector and jobs creation
Market Watch: Blasted by GOP, health Reform is adding jobs

Wall Street Journal
The health care industry is already one of the nation’s largest employers. As the insured population grows under the Affordable Care act, health care workers are going to be in high demand.

Avoiding the penalty box | New rules on readmissions push hospitals, post-acute providers into closer collaboration
Modern Healthcare Magazine
The threat of financial penalties for readmissions could lead to positive changes in the collaborative behavior of hospitals and post-acute providers

The Quiet Triumph of Obama Care
The Washington Monthly
Evidence is emerging that the Affordable Care Act is improving the life for millions of average Americans.

States Under Pressure As Health Law Deadlines Approach
Kaiser Health News
The health law’s biggest changes don’t take effect until 2014, but a successful rollout hinges on critical decisions that states must make and take action on this year. It will be difficult for many states to meet fast-approaching deadlines.

Health Reform law saves $2.1 billion for 3.6 million Americans with Medicare
Los Angeles Times
US Department of HHS
A provision in the health law was intended to fill a gap in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage.

Focus shifting to collaborative delivery of primary care
Hartford Courant
Anthem is the latest in an industry wide change as health insurers, doctors, hospitals and the federal government try to move away from a system that rewards isolated treatments and referrals to specialists to a more collaborative approach.

AKHR Notebook 1-27-12

Week of January 23 – 27, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

Health Care Reform: house GOP Waits for Supreme Court
Politico: Kaiser Health news
House Republicans have tried to repeal various pieces of President Barack Obama’s health reform law, but they haven’t touched the least popular piece: the individual mandate. One reason for that: They don’t want to give the Supreme Court a reason not to strike it down

Millions now manage aging parents’ Care
The Associated Press
The Associated press explores difficulties of managing the care of elderly parents from a distance. ANTHC’s, Kay Branch, is quoted as she assists her parents in Florida.

Health Insurers Say Telling Truth On Costs Is Just Too Expensive
Forbes
One of the lesser known provisions in the Affordable Care Act is the requirement that health insurance companies must provide plan summary information in plain and simple language. HHS rules are due out soon on this requirement that goes into effect this year.

Republican Leadership Prepares “Replace” Plan should Supreme court Strike Health Plan
The Associated Press: Kaiser Health News
Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said Republicans will be ready with a replacement package if the health law is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Commissioner Streur delivers budget overview to House Finance
(No link – original article has been deleted)
ASHNHA Legislative Notes: January 27, 2012
Commissioner Bill Streur and his new budget staff delivered an overview of his department’s performance measures and of 2013 budget needs for the upcoming fiscal year. House Finance members showed great interest in a wide variety of subjects and frequently asked the Commissioner questions on topics ranging from use of generic drugs to child welfare. The process of holding agencies accountable for their activities—sometimes known as missions and measures—will take up a big part of the House Finance Subcommittee processes this year. The Commissioner spent quite a bit of time, in his testimony, describing how the department is meeting or not meeting the agreed upon targets. Finance Co chair Bill Thomas invited the Department back to give a specific overview on Medicaid on a yet to be scheduled date.
The HSS Finance Subcommittee begins hearings on DHSS Division budgets January 30, 2012

(VT) State releases report on single-payer plan
Brattleboro Reformer
Officials in the process of overhauling Vermont’s “unsustainable” health care system released a 21-page report on how the state will implement a single-payer plan within the next three to five years.

Obama: State of the Union Address
Kaiser Health News
Excerpts from the state of the union Address delivered by President Obama on January 24, 2012. He made just one explicit remark about the ACA.

Parnell: State of the State Address
State of Alaska
The State of the State Address delivered by Governor Parnell on January 19, 2012. There were no comments about health care or health care reform.

AKHR Notebook 1-16-12

Week of January 16 – 20, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

PCORI: Funny acronym, serious work
The Washington Post by Sarah Kliff
The health reform law established the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as an independent advisory board with a $3 billion budget to support comparative effectiveness research. It will focus on researching the most effective medical treatments and preventative medicine. It will look at how health systems can best organize to deliver care, and how to reduce health care disparities in the United States. The Alaska Health Care Commission submits annual recommendations for health care system transformation in Alaska. In 2010, their focused area of study was on evidence based medicine which they feel will have an impact on reducing costs.

Supreme Court holds the fate of Medicaid
PoliticoPro by J. Lester Feder
The Supreme Court will hear five and half hours of oral argument of the ACA in late March. The Medicaid expansion provision will receive one hour on March 28th from1:00-2:00pm. In addition, the Supreme Court will review a case arising from a dispute over California Medicaid payment rates to health care providers. Legal experts say federal law will no longer have much power to bind state decisions on Medicaid should the court make sweeping rulings in both cases. The Supreme Court decision is expected in late June. Alaska is one of the 26 states represented in the lawsuit.

OH: State to boost training of doctors in patient-centered system
The Columbus Dispatch by Catherine Candisky
Ohio will invest $1Million to train medical professionals in a health care system where patients have greater access to their doctors and the focus is on staying healthy. Alaska has recently solicited requests for proposals from qualified and experienced consultants to evaluate the readiness and capacity of health care organizations in Alaska to implement the PCMH model. Funds allocated for this project are $300,000. Proposals are due January 19, 2012. Alaska currently has three (3) non-profit entities conducting medical home demonstration projects. Ohio currently has 44 PCMH sites which will expand to 50 with the invested funds.

New Report: States Moving Forward to Implement Health Reform’s Affordable Insurance Exchanges
The White House
Twenty-eight states are on their way towards establishing Affordable insurance Exchanges. This report provides a state by state comparison of expenditures towards this effort. While Alaska is listed at zero, it should be noted that the DHSS has recently awarded a contract to Pacific Consulting Group (PCG) for the production of an integrated planning document that combines background research with best practice models and innovation to describe alternatives, cost estimates, timelines and recommendations for implementing and sustaining an Exchange in Alaska.

Alaska to spend $200K a year for each high risk pool member by Phil Galewitz
Kaiser Health News
Alaska has long been known as one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. Those higher costs extend to health care services as well. A high risk pool set up under the federal health overhaul to help the uninsured who have pre-existing medical conditions expects to spend $10 million this year to cover about 50 members. That’s about $200,000 per person.

House panel votes to repeal CLASS Act
Modern Health Care.com
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation in a 23 to 13 vote to repeal the Community Living assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. Though the Obama administration stopped the program’s implementation last year, many Republicans still want it removed from the books.

Obama to press Congress to revisit last year’s failed attempt at $1.2T deficit cut
The Associated Press/Washington Post
The President’s proposed 2013 budget is slated to be released February 6th. The Obama administration will urge lawmakers to revisit the failed attempt by a congressional subcommittee to cut the deficit by at least $1.2T. The White House plan would turn off the entire nine-year, $1.2T across the board spending cuts. The plan is not expected to get much traction.

AKHR Notebook 1-6-12

Week of January 6, 2012
Health Reform Notebook for Key Alaska Stakeholders
A digest of news, analysis, reports and announcements related to health care and reform

One in Five Struggles to Pay Medical Bills
December 29, 2011
WASHINGTON — One American in five reported having trouble paying medical bills in 2010, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

OIG Details Health Investigation Plan for 2012
December 29, 2011
Doctors opting out of Medicare, fraudulent Medicare claims, and erroneous Medicare payments for erectile dysfunction drugs are just a few of the issues the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) will be looking into in 2012.

Federal judge blocks California’s Medicaid cuts
December 29, 2011
California can’t slash its Medicaid payments to hospitals despite getting the go-ahead from the Obama administration, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Obama administration awards $300 million for children’s healthcare
December 28, 2011
The Obama administration on Wednesday awarded 23 states $296 million in bonus payments for exceeding enrollment targets in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Administration highlights 2011 benefits of its healthcare reform law
December 28, 2011
The Obama administration is ringing in 2012 by highlighting some of the benefits of the healthcare reform law that took effect in 2011

Five health reform dates to watch in 2012
January 3, 2012
“Health reform had a big year in 2010, when it passed Congress and a slew of consumer-friendly provisions came online. And it’ll have another big year in 2014. That’s when the individual mandate kicks in, pre-existing conditions end and Medicaid expands to cover 16 million more Americans. But 2012 won’t be all quiet on the health-care front: The Obama administration is laying a policy foundation for 2014, while health reform opponents try to stop the law altogether. Here are five key dates to mark on your health reform calendar.”