As expected, the federal government on Thursday approved California’s plan to run its own health insurance exchange — a marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance. The exchange is one of many requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading →
As part of the “fiscal cliff” deal, Congress stopped a scheduled cut in Medicare payments to doctors. But hospitals will be picking up a big chunk of the tab, and they’re not happy.
The bill would require that, over the next decade, hospitals pay nearly half of the approximately $30 billion cost of stopping a 26.5 percent payment cut for Medicare physicians, scheduled to begin today. Figuring out a way to pay for this payment cut is known around Washington as the “Doc Fix.” Continue reading →
While the White House fact sheet declares there were no cuts to the Affordable Care Act, The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff found $1.9 billion taken away from a little-known program in the ACA (one not in place in California). The Prevention Fund appears to be intact for now. Source: Washingtonpost The fiscal cliff deal is, … Continue reading →
If you’re uninsured or have a high deductible health plan, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of trying to figure out how much a specific medical procedure might cost you.
A new start up, ClearHealthCosts is trying to help. Former New York Times journalist Jeanne Pinder hatched the idea on the simple premise that “somehow you could bring transparency to the health care marketplace,” as she told me today in an interview. Continue reading →
“Prediction is indispensable to our lives,” forecaster extraordinaire Nate Silver writes in his new book, “The Signal and the Noise.” Every day, whether wearing a raincoat to work or setting aside funds for future spending, “we are making a forecast about how the future will proceed — and how our plans will affect the odds for a favorable outcome.”
But in health care, the mix of ever-shifting technologies, laws, competitive landscape — and more — means that many patients’ lives (and industry dollars) rest on whether providers and regulators can make the right bets. And some years, the industry’s direction is relatively easy to predict. Continue reading →
Did you know the Affordable Care Act stands up for gun rights? The “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights” section (page 19 in this PDF) says the health law’s wellness programs can’t require participants to give information about guns in the house. It also keeps the Department of Health and Human Services from collecting data on gun use and stops insurance companies from denying coverage or raising premiums on members because of gun use. Continue reading →
In his speech at the memorial service for the Newtown victims, President Obama included mental health in calling for a national response to the massacre, a conversation that so far has focused on gun control. “I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” the president said.
On Monday White House spokesman Jay Carney pointed to the federal health law as evidence that the administration has already started to tackle the issue. Mental health issues are “clearly a factor that needs to be addressed in some of these cases of horrific violence,” Carney said. “Obamacare, if you will, has ensured that mental health services are a part of the services” provided under the health law. Continue reading →
Then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney made headlines when he asserted that 47 percent of Americans were “victims” dependent upon government assistance. I’m guessing a lot of people don’t know that people who receive employer-based health insurance are getting a little government assistance in that expensive benefit.
First, people who receive employer-based health insurance do not pay taxes on the benefit. Second, employers deduct the cost of the policies as a business expense. Continue reading →