A project of the Galen Institute
The Associated Press
Wed, 2014-09-10
"DETROIT-- A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of potentially thousands of immigrants who have been rejected for full Medicaid coverage in Michigan because of computer problems. The lawsuit in Detroit federal court says the state has known about the problem for weeks but is moving too slowly to fix it. Attorneys are asking a judge to issue an injunction to get things moving. The Center for Civil Justice in Flint says many immigrants are approved only for emergency services. The group says federal law typically grants full health coverage under Medicaid to low-income refugees and poor lawful permanent residents."
Sabriya Rice, Modern Healthcare
Wed, 2014-09-10
"The federal government will wait until January to roll out its five-star rating system meant to help consumers compare quality at dialysis centers across the country. Use of the system on the CMS' dialysis centers compare website had been scheduled for October, but was met with angst by dialysis providers who questioned the methodology and said the program was likely to be more confusing than helpful. In response, the federal agency announced Wednesday that it has moved the date by about three months. The CMS began using the rating program on nursing homes in December 2008 and earlier this year applied a similar rubric to physician groups. In July, the agency announced plans to extend the program to dialysis facilities starting Oct. 9."
Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-09-10
"The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that public opinion on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains more negative than positive, with 47 percent viewing the law unfavorably (closer to levels measured earlier this year after rising to 53 percent in July) and 35 percent having a favorable view. Partisan divisions on the law are as deep as ever, not only when it comes to overall opinion but also in the public’s perception of how the law has impacted their own families and the next steps they want Congress to take. This poll takes a special look at registered voters’ views of the ACA and what role, if any, the law might be playing in the upcoming midterm election. The survey finds that health care is named as an important voting issue by about one in eight voters, ranking behind the economy and jobs, and clustered with several other issues such as foreign policy and national defense, dissatisfaction with government, immigration, and education.
Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-09-10
"Consumers may soon find a surprise in their mailbox: a notice that their health plan is being canceled. Last year, many consumers who thought their health plans would be canceled because they didn’t meet the standards of the health law got a reprieve. Following stinging criticism for appearing to renege on a promise that people who liked their existing plans could keep them, President Barack Obama backed off plans to require all individual and small group plans that had not been in place before the health law to meet new standards starting in 2014. The administration initially announced a transitional policy that, with state approval, would allow insurers to renew plans that didn’t comply with coverage or cost standards starting in December 2013 and continue doing so until October 2014. Then in March, the administration said it would extend the transitional policy for two more years, meaning that some people will be able to hang onto their non-compliant plans through 2017."
Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News
Tue, 2014-09-09
"Heading into the 2014 mid-term congressional elections, health care is not shaping up as a make-or-break issue, according to a new poll. Health care trails jobs and the economy as a top issue on voters’ minds this fall, 21 percent to 13 percent. Only 3 percent of voters in the monthly tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation mentioned the health law by any name (Affordable Care Act/Obamacare) when asked about issues most likely to determine their vote. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation). Health care is even less important to independent voters, those who frequently decide close races. While Democrats and Republicans both chose health care as their second ranked issues with 15 and 16 percent respectively, independents rank of health care tied for fifth with 9 percent. The issue is, however, nonetheless playing a role in the current campaigns, particularly in key swing states where control of the U.S. Senate is at stake.
Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News
Tue, 2014-09-09
"Two Planned Parenthood chapters, two United Way organizations, a food bank association and a Catholic hospital system are among 90 nonprofit groups that will receive a total of $60 million to help people sign up for health insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services announced today. The money will help people in 34 states that rely on the federal government fully or in part for their Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, where individuals can buy Obamacare policies. States with their own exchanges have separate funding to help consumers get assistance."
The Associated Press
Mon, 2014-09-08
"RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is set to unveil his plan to increase health care coverage for the state’s poor. The Democratic governor will speak publicly Monday on his plans for health care expansion. The governor unsuccessfully tried to persuade Republican lawmakers to expand Medicaid during this year’s legislative session. The impasse led to a protracted stalemate over the state budget that ended with a GOP victory."
Aaron Gregg, The Washington Post
Mon, 2014-09-08
"Large businesses expect to pay between 4 and 5 percent more for health-care benefits for their employees in 2015 after making adjustments to their plans, according to employer surveys conducted this summer. Few employers plan to stop providing benefits with the advent of federal health insurance mandates, as some once feared, but a third say they are considering cutting or reducing subsidies for employee family members, and the data suggest that employees are paying more each year in out-of-pocket health care expenses. The figures come from separate electronic surveys given to thousands of mid- to large-size firms across the country by Towers Watson, the National Business Group on Health and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, consulting groups that engage with businesses on health insurance issues. Bracing themselves for an excise tax on high-cost plans coming in 2018 under the Affordable Care Act, 81 percent of employers surveyed by Towers Watson said they plan to moderately or significantly
Lynn Bartels, Denver Post
Mon, 2014-09-08
"Republican operatives believe they have found a smoking gun against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who said during a 2008 debate he was against a "government-sponsored" solution for health care. The then-congressman, who was running for an open seat in the U.S. Senate, echoed arguments made by conservatives. "I'm not for a government-sponsored solution," Udall said. "I'm for enhancing and improving the employer-based system that we have." In a debate overshadowed by other issues — rising energy prices and the war on terror — Udall's answer that July barely created a ripple. But in the context of Sen. Udall's vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and his tough re-election bid against Republican Congressman Cory Gardner in November, the statement takes on new meaning."
Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News
Sat, 2014-09-06
"Consumers may soon find a surprise in their mailbox: a notice that their health plan is being canceled. Last year, many consumers who thought their health plans would be canceled because they didn’t meet the standards of the health law got a reprieve. Following stinging criticism for appearing to renege on a promise that people who liked their existing plans could keep them, President Barack Obama backed off plans to require all individual and small group plans that had not been in place before the health law to meet new standards starting in 2014. The administration initially announced a transitional policy that, with state approval, would allow insurers to renew plans that didn’t comply with coverage or cost standards starting in December 2013 and continue doing so until October 2014. Then in March, the administration said it would extend the transitional policy for two more years, meaning that some people will be able to hang onto their non-compliant plans through 2017."

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