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ACA Has Increased Primary Care Utilization

A new study found that the increase in the number of insured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased utilization of primary health care services. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, primary care utilization rose 3.8 percent, mammograms 1.5 percent, HIV tests 2.1 percent, and flu shots 1.9 percent over a three-year period.  The study suggests that preventive care increased between 17 and 50 percent. The study attributes all of the gains to improved access to private insurance and none to Medicaid expansion. These results are based on self-reported [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

Last week the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission held two days of public meetings in Washington, D.C. During the sessions MedPAC, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues, addressed the following subjects: a Medicare Advantage status report a Medicare prescription drug program (Part D) status report hospital inpatient and outpatient payments physician payments ambulatory surgical center, dialysis center, and hospice payments post-acute care facility payments the hospital readmissions reduction program telehealth accountable care organizations Go here to see the issue briefs and presentations used during the meetings

NAUH Seeks Action on Medicaid DSH, 340B

The National Association of Urban Hospitals has written to leaders of the House and Senate asking them to reverse implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (Medicaid DSH) allotments to state and to block implementation of a federal regulation that would reduce Medicare payments to qualified participants in the section 340B prescription drug discount program by 28 percent.  See NAUH’s letter here

Bill Seeks to Block 340B Cut

Legislation introduced in Congress would block the attempt by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to slash $1.6 billion in annual payments to hospitals for prescription drugs for outpatients prescribed through the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program. Earlier this month CMS finalized its plan to reduce controversial 340B payments and shift $1.6 billion in savings into Medicare provider payments.  If adopted, the bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) would prevent the reduction of 340B payments, which are made to hospitals that care for especially large proportions of low-income patients. The 340B [&hellip

AMA: Health Insurance Concentration in Urban Areas Threatens Competition

Too much market share by insurers in urban areas can inhibit competition, and according to the American Medical Association, there is too little competition among insurers in too many urban markets today. According to a new AMA study, 69 percent of 389 metropolitan statistical area-level markets are “highly concentrated” in 89 percent of MSAs, at least one insurer issues at least 30 percent of commercial health insurance policies in 43 percent of urban MSAs, a single insurer owns at least 50 percent of the market In a statement accompanying release of the report, an AMA spokesperson explained that After years [&hellip

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