Just in Time for the Weekend! Background on Health Care in California

(alycat: Flickr)

(alycat: Flickr)

Admit it. The Supreme Court’s scrutiny of the health care overhaul has piqued your interest. You’ve read or heard stories about the oral arguments. But you feel guilty. You haven’t been able to keep up on how the federal health care law is playing out in the Golden State. State of Health is here to help.

We’ve rounded up four stories — filed by KQED Health Reporter Sarah Varney over the last 10 months — to help give you an overview. These stories all have to do with how California is moving forward in implementing the Affordable Care Act. Yes, the Supreme Court might overturn the ACA, but then again, it might not. Presuming the law goes forward, California is in a better position than most states to meet the 2014 full implementation.

In just under 22 minutes, you can get up to speed on where California stands. So put on your headphones and listen to the following stories:

California’s Public Plan for Health Insurance: Keeping your health coverage during a recession is tough. No job means no insurance. But part of implementing the Affordable Care Act calls for the creation of state exchanges for health insurance plans that are portable and not tied to work. In California, that exchange will look a lot like the public insurance plan that died in Congress last year.

Health Reform Rolls out in Conservative Kern County: Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the ideological lines have been clearly drawn: Republicans don’t like it — Democrats do. But, in a cash-strapped rural area like Kern County, the calculus of paying for health care is considerably more complicated. [This story is part of a collaboration with NPR and Kaiser Health News.

Medi-Cal is Moving to a Managed Care Model: As of last June 1, hundreds of thousands of disabled Medi-Cal recipients started to move into managed care health plans. Instead of paying for every doctor or hospital visit as it does now, the state pays insurers a set fee to meet the patient’s medical needs. State health officials see managed care as a cheaper and more efficient way to run the program, and some for-profit insurance companies see good business.

Venture Capital Flows to Cost-Effective Health Care Companies: Hospitals and doctors are facing a lot of heat these days to clean up their act. Medicare and some health plans are beginning to withhold payments for medical mishaps, preventable infections and re-admissions. The federal health law also forces them to pay more attention to how much they’re spending — and all of this has a direct effect on the kinds of investments Silicon Valley venture capitalists are betting on.

And, if you still want more analysis of the Supreme Court hearings this week, here’s a 30 minute video from Kaiser Health News. The panel includes KHN Senior Correspondent Mary Agnes Carey; Stuart Taylor, attorney, author and KHN legal analyst; Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog and Julie Rovner, NPR’s health policy correspondent.

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