When Brian Day opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996, he had a simple goal. Dr. Day, an orthopedic surgeon from Vancouver, British Columbia, wanted to provide timely, state-of-the-art medical care to Canadians who were unwilling to wait months—even years—for surgery they needed. Canada’s single-payer health-care system, known as Medicare, is notoriously sluggish. But private clinics like Cambie are prohibited from charging most patients for operations that public hospitals provide free. Dr. Day is challenging that prohibition before the provincial Supreme Court. If it rules in his favor, it could alter the future of Canadian health care.
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Oregon aggressively expanded its Medicaid rolls under the Affordable Care Act, adding enough people to leave only 5 percent of its population uninsured — one of America’s lowest rates.
Now, with the reduction of a federal match that covered those enrollees, the state is calling on voters to decide how to pay for its ballooning Medicaid costs.
A special election on Tuesday asks Oregonians whether they approve of a tax on hospitals, health insurers and managed care companies that would leave Medicaid, as it is now, untouched. More than 1 in 4 residents here rely on it.
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Stepping toward the political center in a difficult election year, Gov. Scott Walker proposed using $200 million in state and federal money to stabilize the state’s Obamacare market and hold down rising insurance premiums.
While Republicans nationally talk about tax cuts, Wisconsin’s GOP governor has mixed in proposals on health care, the overhaul of a troubled youth prison and funding schools at levels proposed by a leading Democratic challenger.
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Congressional Republicans are hoping to pass a temporary funding bill that would keep the government open until mid-February, thus allowing negotiations to continue on immigration and other matters. To attract more support for the stop-gap bill, Republican leaders have proposed combining it with other unrelated and more popular provisions, including a two-year delay of the so-called “Cadillac tax.” Delaying the “Cadillac tax” again — it was already pushed back once — is a bad idea. It would set back the cause of market-driven health care rather than advance it.
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