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Viewpoints: Hospitals helped by Medicaid expansion; why GOP candidates back OTC contraceptives

Viewpoints: Hospitals helped by Medicaid expansion; why GOP candidates back OTC contraceptives

Now the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report showing that ... thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals across the country will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2014. [More]
State highlights: Calif. gov. vetoes bill limiting Medi-Cal estate recovery, signs birth control, inmate bills

State highlights: Calif. gov. vetoes bill limiting Medi-Cal estate recovery, signs birth control, inmate bills

In a blow to tens of thousands of low-income Californians newly enrolled in Medi-Cal under a provision in the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have limited the state's seizure of assets from their estates after they die -- a legal wrinkle that most only discovered after they had signed up for the health care plan for the poor (Seipel, 9/25). [More]
Viewpoints: New insurers suggest health law success; slow response on Ebola

Viewpoints: New insurers suggest health law success; slow response on Ebola

Before Obamacare launched, conservative outlets warned that the law would collapse as insurers shunned the overpriced, overregulated insurance exchanges. [More]
Viewpoints: A 'success story' in McAllen, Texas; 'uniquely high prices' in health care

Viewpoints: A 'success story' in McAllen, Texas; 'uniquely high prices' in health care

It may have been the most influential magazine article of the past decade. In June of 2009, the doctor and writer Atul Gawande published a piece in The New Yorker called "The Cost Conundrum," which examined why the small border city of McAllen, Tex., was the most expensive place for health care in the United States. ... Five years later, the situation has changed. Where McAllen once illustrated the problem of American health care, the city is now showing us how the problem can be solved, largely because of the Affordable Care Act that Mr. Obama signed into law in 2010 (Bob Kocher and Farzad Mostashari, 9/23). [More]
Viewpoints: Surgery surprise: Out-of-network doctors' bills; consequences of making Medicaid enrollees pay premiums

Viewpoints: Surgery surprise: Out-of-network doctors' bills; consequences of making Medicaid enrollees pay premiums

The New York Times' Elisabeth Rosenthal offered an important lesson in healthcare economics over the weekend that's a must-read for anyone about to undergo a major medical procedure. [More]
Despite FDA warning, many gynecologists still using controversial surgical tool

Despite FDA warning, many gynecologists still using controversial surgical tool

Federal officials warned in April that the tool, called a morcellator, can spread undetected cancer. [More]
GOP candidates explore middle move ahead of election

GOP candidates explore middle move ahead of election

Democrats, in the meantime, try a new tactic -- talking up their commitment to Social Security and Medicare. Elsewhere, Sens. Kay Hagan and Mark Warner face campaign fights centering largely on the health law. [More]
State highlights: Calif. readies new checks on foster kid psych meds; Kan. employment support for those with mental illness

State highlights: Calif. readies new checks on foster kid psych meds; Kan. employment support for those with mental illness

In a significant step toward curbing the overuse of psychiatric drugs in California's foster care system, doctors will soon be required to get extra authorization to prescribe antipsychotics, a new safeguard to protect some of the state's most overmedicated children. Beginning Oct. 1, a state pharmacist must verify the "medical necessity" of each antipsychotic prescription before the medications can be given to children who are 17 and younger and covered by Medi-Cal, the state's health program for the poor that also includes foster children (De Sa, 9/18). [More]
Research roundup: Home health nurses' workloads; readmissions at the VA; SHOP choices

Research roundup: Home health nurses' workloads; readmissions at the VA; SHOP choices

In anticipation of next year's premium announcements and given some information already made public, concerns have surfaced about the potential for double-digit percent increases in nongroup and small-group health insurance premiums. This analysis shows that, although average annual increases in small-group premiums over the past 13 years averaged roughly 5.5 percent, double-digit average premium increases are common for states and large metropolitan areas. [More]
State highlights: N.Y. sues drugmaker over Alzheimer's drug switch; Ariz. Republican resigns over Medicaid remarks

State highlights: N.Y. sues drugmaker over Alzheimer's drug switch; Ariz. Republican resigns over Medicaid remarks

New York State's attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit on Monday seeking to stop a pharmaceutical company from forcing patients with Alzheimer's disease to switch to a new version of a widely used drug. The lawsuit contends that the switch is designed to blunt competition from low-priced generic versions of the medication (Pollack, 9/15). [More]
GOP Senate may not be able to repeal health law, but it could cripple key provisions

GOP Senate may not be able to repeal health law, but it could cripple key provisions

News outlets examine what the future could hold for the health law especially as the Senate increasingly appears to be within GOP reach. [More]
Missouri sets 72-hour wait for women seeking abortions

Missouri sets 72-hour wait for women seeking abortions

The Republican-controlled legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto to enact one of the most stringent waiting periods in the nation that includes no exception for cases of rape or incest. [More]
USFDA clears Caya- contoured diaphragm for marketing in the United States

USFDA clears Caya- contoured diaphragm for marketing in the United States

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has cleared the Caya- contoured diaphragm for marketing in the United States, bringing women one step closer to a new option for safe and effective non-hormonal contraception. [More]
State highlights: Officials say Medi-Cal autism coverage details still emerging; Ill. Attorney General presses for video cameras in nursing homes

State highlights: Officials say Medi-Cal autism coverage details still emerging; Ill. Attorney General presses for video cameras in nursing homes

At the first stakeholder meeting last week to review California's new autism Medi-Cal coverage, state health officials said many details have yet to be worked out. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program. [More]
State, Congressional candidates go on the record with health policy issues

State, Congressional candidates go on the record with health policy issues

The physician who is campaigning to become Kansas's Lieutenant Governor talks health care payment models while candidates in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut take on policies ranging from over-the-counter birth control to the interaction between the health law and Medicare. [More]
Viewpoints: Health spending on the rise; GOP's new 'passion for the pill'

Viewpoints: Health spending on the rise; GOP's new 'passion for the pill'

The latest federal estimates of health care spending offer some good news: The growth rate for spending in 2013 will remain at a low level for the fifth straight year. [More]
First Edition: September 5, 2014

First Edition: September 5, 2014

Today's headlines include reports of hacker activity at the healthcare.gov health insurance website. [More]

Over-the-counter birth control issue finds its way into midterm election debates

Some Republican Senate candidates have expressed support for allowing certain types of contraception to be sold without a prescription. Critics say it is part of a strategy to "muddy the waters" regarding the Hobby Lobby case. [More]

On campaign trail, Ky. GOP candidates promise Medicaid expansion repeal

In the meantime, Illinois bets on birth control as a way to drive down Medicaid costs, and Florida Health News looks at the top Medicaid managed care companies in Florida. [More]
First Edition: September 3, 2014

First Edition: September 3, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about how insurers and consumers are bracing for round two as the health law's online insurance marketplaces prepare for open enrollment season. [More]