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Archive for Affordable Care Act

 

ACA Reduced Disparities in Access to Care

The Affordable Care Act has reduced socioeconomic disparities in access to health care in the U.S. According to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs, Health care access for people in lower socioeconomic strata improved in both states that did expand eligibility for Medicaid under the ACA and states that did not. However, gains were larger in expansion states. The absolute gap in insurance coverage between people in households with annual incomes below $25,000 and those in households with incomes above $75,000 fell from 31 percent to 17 percent (a relative reduction of 46 percent) in expansion states and from 36 percent [&hellip

CMS Takes First Steps Toward Medicaid DSH Cuts

Federal funds allocated to states to make Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH) payments would be reduced beginning in FY 2018 under a new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Medicaid DSH cuts, mandated by the Affordable Care Act but delayed several times at the behest of Congress, would come in the form of reduced Medicaid DSH allocations to individual states, with the size of those allocation cuts based on the nature of individual states’ Medicaid programs and changes in the number of uninsured patients in individual states. The cuts were established in the [&hellip

Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid Expansion States

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has performed a limited study of the utilization of Medicaid behavioral health services in Medicaid expansion states. The study, based on data from New York, Washington, Iowa, and West Virginia, found that the two most heavily utilized behavioral health services were diagnostic and psychotherapy services and that more than two-thirds of behavioral health patients were prescribed anti-depressants.  More people sought help for mental health challenges that for substance abuse problems. Medicaid officials in the selected states concluded that enrollment in Medicaid enhanced access to behavioral health care. Learn more about the study’s findings in the [&hellip

Urban Hospitals and Community Needs Assessments

A new study evaluates the degree to which non-profit urban hospitals are addressing the issue of health inequities in their Affordable Care Act-mandated community needs assessments. The assessments are part of a requirement for hospitals to retain their tax-exempt status, and the study examined the community needs assessments of 179 hospitals in 28 cities to identify how many explicitly or implicitly address health equity concerns.  The study also determined how many outlined future hospital strategies designed to address health equity issues. All private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals are subject to this requirement. Learn more about how hospitals are responding to [&hellip

Hospital Uncompensated Care Down

As was surely expected, reforms introduced through implementation of the Affordable Care Act have driven down uncompensated care costs for many hospitals. How much? A new study published by the Commonwealth Fund offers the following findings: uncompensated care declines in expansion states are substantial relative to profit margins; for every dollar of uncompensated care costs hospitals in expansion states had in 2013, the Affordable Care Act erased 41 cents by 2015; and Medicaid expansion reduced uncompensated care burdens for safety-net hospitals that are not made whole by Medicaid disproportionate share payments (Medicaid DSH). Learn more, including how the decline in [&hellip

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