Noteworthy News

Archive for October, 2015


Increases in Medicaid Enrollment Should Slow

Growth in Medicaid enrollment, significant this year and last, should slacken in 2016, according a new Kaiser Family Foundation report. That growth – 8.3 percent in 2014 and 13.8 percent in 2015 – should fall to approximately four percent next year. The upswing is the result of Medicaid expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act and most of the growth was in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, although in 2015 every state experienced an increase in Medicaid enrollment. Growth in Medicaid spending, too, is expected to decline, from 14.3 percent in 2014 and 13.9 percent in 2015 to a [&hellip

Low-Income Workers Rejecting Health Insurance

Low-wage workers offered health insurance by their employers are largely rejecting that option, according to a report in the New York Times. According to the Times, most of the progress in reducing the number of unemployed Americans has been made through Medicaid expansion and subsidies offered through the federal and state health exchanges. As small businesses begin to be required to offer their workers unsubsidized insurance, however, they are finding that most of their lower-wage employees are rejecting the offer. As a result, 7.5 million people last year paid the Affordable Care Act fine for failing to obtain health insurance. [&hellip

Patient-Centered Care Needs Closer Scrutiny, Study Says

While the growing emphasis on patient-centered care has turned from a theory into an active tool in the development of public health care policy, a greater emphasis must be placed on cataloguing and examining more closely those efforts. Or so says a new study from the Urban Institute. According to the study, policy-makers need “…a clearer picture of where current policies have already taken us and where they are heading.” The study also notes that “… efforts in HHS and elsewhere in the federal government should be comprehensively catalogued and subjected to the same strategic scrutiny as other care improvement [&hellip

Urban Hospitals Getting More Involved in Their Communities

Driven by a combination of poverty, the tax code, and Affordable Care Act requirements, more urban hospitals are reaching out into their communities to spur employment and create economic opportunities. As described in a new Stateline report, hospitals in Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and elsewhere have launched new initiatives designed to foster improvements in the communities they serve by raising wages, creating more employment opportunities, increasing spending with community vendors, and investing and participating in community improvement projects – and not just health care projects. Spurring these efforts are three primary motivations: genuine need; the Affordable Care Act mandate [&hellip

MedPAC Meets, Talks Alternative Payment Models, Medicare Advantage Star Ratings, More

The agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues met last week in Washington, D.C. During two days of public meetings the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) heard presentations about and discussed a number of issues of interest to urban safety-net hospitals, including alternative payment models and merit-based incentive payment systems and factors affecting variation in Medicare Advantage plan star ratings. For links to policy briefs and presentations on these and other subjects, go here. To see a transcript of the two days of meetings, go here

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