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Chad Terhune, Sandra Poindexter, Doug Smith, LA Times
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Finding a doctor who takes Obamacare coverage could be just as frustrating for Californians in 2015 as the health-law expansion enters its second year.. The state's largest health insurers are sticking with their often-criticized narrow networks of doctors, and in some cases they are cutting the number of physicians even more, according to a Times analysis of company data. And the state's insurance exchange, Covered California, still has no comprehensive directory to help consumers match doctors with health plans."
Marissa Evans, Morning Consult
Tue, 2014-09-30
"When it comes to health insurance exchanges, there’s nothing like the first time to grab voters’ attention and enthusiasm. Morning Consult polling found 47 percent of voters say they are not at all likely to purchase health insurance through an online exchange this year. In the weeks before the start of open enrollment in 2013, that figure was 19 percentage points lower, with only 28 percent saying they were not at all likely to purchase insurance on the exchange. Voters’ stated likelihood of buying insurance decreased across all categories from 2013 to 2014."
Associated Press
Melinda Deslatte
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he’s tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas. But his administration’s handling of health care matters at home could undermine his bonafides in the subject area and threaten his efforts to sell himself as a health care expert."
NPR
Alison Bruzek
Tue, 2014-09-30
"You wake up feeling gross – stuffy and full of aches. A quick Google search of your symptoms confirms that yes, you probably have a cold and not the plague. But what if you were directed to a site that had a legitimate sounding name but wasn't really accurate at all? It sounds like a problem from the ancient days of the Internet. Since then people have learned that .gov leads to bona fide government sites, but .com could be anyone selling you anything. How do you feel about .health? A new slew of web domains is coming down the pike, like ".health," ".doctor," and ".clinic." They're not required to have any medical credentials. That's deeply worrying to some public health advocates."
The Associated Press
Connie Cass
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Confused by President Barack Obama's health care law? How about the debate over government surveillance? The way the Federal Reserve affects interest rates? You're far from alone. Most people in the United States say the issues facing the country are getting harder to fathom. It's not just those tuning out politics who feel perplexed. People who vote regularly, follow news about November's election or simply feel a civic duty to stay informed are most likely to say that issues have become "much more complicated" over the past decade, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows."
Tue, 2014-08-26
"The Oregon Department of Justice jousted for nearly two months with Oracle America over the state's demand for documents from the California software giant relating to the health exchange debacle. In fact, Oracle flouted state law and stymied the demand, according to DOJ. The state filed papers in federal court Friday that provide a glimpse into high-stakes jockeying that for months took place largely out of public view. DOJ filed its federal papers shortly after the state's lawyers sued Oracle in Marion County Circuit Court on Aug. 22. In its federal filing, DOJ accuses Oracle of "stalling" and attempting to manipulate the legal system by filing its own federal lawsuit against Oregon on Aug. 8."
Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-08-13
"Media coverage of the two Supreme Court cases challenging Obamacare’s HHS mandate for employers to provide workers with “free” coverage of abortion-inducing drugs largely focused on Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain founded by the Greens, an evangelical Christian family. The case of another family-owned business also was heard by the high court, though — that of Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hahns, Mennonite Christians from East Earl, Pa. The Hahns established their business — the manufacture of custom wood kitchen cabinets and parts — on Christian values and say they’re committed to applying those values in the workplace. Why did they go to court, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom?
Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-08-06
"CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The dominion of Tennessee’s largest health insurer is reflected in its headquarters’ lofty perch above the city, atop a hill that during the Civil War was lined with Union cannons to repel Confederate troops. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has used its position to establish a similarly firm foothold in the first year of the marketplaces created by the health law. The company sold 88 percent of the plans for Tennessee individuals and families. Only one other insurer, Cigna, bothered to offer policies in Chattanooga, and the premiums were substantially higher than those offered by BlueCross. Though insurers have been regularly vilified in debates over health care prices, BlueCross’ near monopoly here has been unusually good financially for consumers. Its cut-rate exclusive deal with one of three area health systems turned Chattanooga into one of the 10 least expensive insurance markets in the country, as judged by the lowest price mid-level, or silver, plan.
Stephanie Armour
Wed, 2014-08-06
"Some states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and set up all or part of their own insurance exchanges have seen a marked drop in the number of uninsured adults. The uninsured rates in states that opted to expand Medicaid, a health program primarily for low-income residents, and set up their own exchanges declined more in the first half of 2014 than in the states that didn’t take that approach, according to a study released Tuesday by Gallup. The survey was based on a random sample of adults through June 30. Arkansas saw the percentage of uninsured drop from 22.5% in 2013 to 12.4% through midyear 2014, according to the survey. Kentucky followed, with its percentage of uninsured dropping from 20.4% to 11.9% during the same time span. The other states with the largest drop in the percentage of uninsured were Delaware, Washington, Colorado, West Virginia, Oregon, California, New Mexico and Connecticut."
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal
Wed, 2014-08-06
"It’s one thing for President Obama to win an award for “Lie of the Year” for promising Americans “if you like your [health insurance] plan, you can keep it.” It must sting a bit more when a political ally like Barney Frank, the former congressman, flat out says the president “just lied to people.” In an interview with Huffington Post, the veteran Massachusetts Democrat said he was “appalled” at the “bad” rollout of Obamacare last October. “I don’t understand how the president could have sat there and not been checking on that on a weekly basis,” Frank said, then added: But, frankly, he should never have said as much as he did, that if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. That wasn’t true. And you shouldn’t lie to people. And they just lied to people.""
Caroline F. Pearson, Avalere Health
Wed, 2014-06-04
"A new analysis from Avalere Health finds that consumers in exchanges receiving federal assistance to reduce their out-of-pocket costs may experience inconsistent reductions in spending depending on the plan they choose."
Caroline F. Pearson, Avalere
Thu, 2014-05-22
"A new analysis from Avalere Health finds that individuals choosing an exchange plan based on premiums are most likely to consider plans from Coventry (acquired by Aetna in 2013), Humana, and WellPoint in regions where they participate."
Matthew Eyles, Avalere
Wed, 2014-05-14
"According to a new Avalere Health analysis, 17 of the 26 states that did not expand Medicaid in the first three months of 2014 still reported growth in Medicaid enrollment, ranging from 0.1 percent in Texas to 10.1 percent in Montana. Since these states had decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility levels under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these numbers show the impact of the “woodwork effect,” which is when individuals who were previously eligible, but not enrolled in Medicaid, newly sign up as a result of increased outreach and awareness. These enrollees may place a strain on state budgets, since states are required to contribute to the cost of their coverage based on traditional Medicaid matching rates."
Caroline F. Pearson, Avalere
Thu, 2014-05-08
The federal government will bear a disproportionate burden of premium increases in states with high rates of subsidized enrollees. Double digit premium increases are likely in many markets in 2014. Age distribution among enrollees varies by state, which may influence plans’ interest in each market.
Caroline F. Pearson, Avalere
Wed, 2014-05-07
"A new analysis from Avalere Health finds that exchange enrollment meets or exceeds expectations in 22 states (44%), even after accounting for any attrition due to nonpayment of premiums. Assuming 15 percent of enrollees do not take the final enrollment step and pay their premiums, over 6.8 million people who enrolled through April 19 will have coverage effective as of May 1."
Melinda Deslatte
Associated Press
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he’s tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas. But his administration’s handling of health care matters at home could undermine his bonafides in the subject area and threaten his efforts to sell himself as a health care expert."
Alison Bruzek
NPR
Tue, 2014-09-30
"You wake up feeling gross – stuffy and full of aches. A quick Google search of your symptoms confirms that yes, you probably have a cold and not the plague. But what if you were directed to a site that had a legitimate sounding name but wasn't really accurate at all? It sounds like a problem from the ancient days of the Internet. Since then people have learned that .gov leads to bona fide government sites, but .com could be anyone selling you anything. How do you feel about .health? A new slew of web domains is coming down the pike, like ".health," ".doctor," and ".clinic." They're not required to have any medical credentials. That's deeply worrying to some public health advocates."
Connie Cass
The Associated Press
Tue, 2014-09-30
"Confused by President Barack Obama's health care law? How about the debate over government surveillance? The way the Federal Reserve affects interest rates? You're far from alone. Most people in the United States say the issues facing the country are getting harder to fathom. It's not just those tuning out politics who feel perplexed. People who vote regularly, follow news about November's election or simply feel a civic duty to stay informed are most likely to say that issues have become "much more complicated" over the past decade, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows."
Jim Angle
Fox News
Tue, 2014-09-30
"After the rocky rollout last fall of the ObamaCare website, the administration wants to re-enroll those already in the system in hopes of avoiding another technological embarrassment. But analysts warn that just blindly re-enrolling could mean trouble for consumers. “This notion of just sit back and re-enroll is really misleading and I think could cause a lot of harm to people," said Bob Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates. “The automatic renewal, it's easy, it will keep people getting ObamaCare," added Rosemary Gibson of the Hastings Center. "But you have to trust but verify. You have to go look. You just can't be on automatic pilot for health insurance.""
Daniela Hernandez
Kaiser Health News
Tue, 2014-09-30
"When Fabrizio Mancinelli applied for health insurance through California’s online marketplace nine months ago, he ran into a frustrating snag. An Italian composer and self-described computer geek, Mancinelli said he was surprised to find there wasn’t a clear way to upload a copy of his O-1 visa. The document, which grants temporary residency status to people with extraordinary talents in the sciences and arts, was part of his proof to the government to that he was eligible for coverage. So, the 35 year-old Sherman Oaks resident wrote in his application that he’d be happy to send along any further documentation. Months went by without word from the state. Then last week he came home from vacation to find a notice telling him he was at risk of losing the Anthem Blue Cross plan he’d purchased."

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