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Viewpoints: 'Blunders' on Ebola; McConnell's strange logic on Obamacare; temporary victory for Texas women

Viewpoints: 'Blunders' on Ebola; McConnell's strange logic on Obamacare; temporary victory for Texas women

The point of this is not to flog Presbyterian, though a few lashes might help snap [Daniel] Varga and other administrators back to reality. [More]

Kentucky's health exchange plays big in Senate race

The state's online insurance marketplace has proven popular, creating difficulties for the Republican incumbent, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has vowed to repeal Obamacare , and giving a boost to Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. [More]
Myths, misconceptions about seasonal flu and flu vaccine

Myths, misconceptions about seasonal flu and flu vaccine

It's that time of year again. As days shorten, evenings become chilly and the trees start a showy display of color, it's time to roll up your sleeve and get your annual flu vaccine. [More]

BCBSTX launches new initiative to help uninsured Texans find affordable health insurance options

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) today launched a statewide education effort to help more than 6.2 million uninsured Texans find affordable health insurance options and begin to benefit from important medical services that meet their needs. [More]

What you should check before renewing health coverage

Several stories offer tips on renewing insurance policies for next year, including comparing your current policy to alternatives, which might offer better coverage at lower cost, and updating information about family size and income. [More]
Viewpoints: Health law undercuts labor markets; the surprising foes on Calif. Prop 45

Viewpoints: Health law undercuts labor markets; the surprising foes on Calif. Prop 45

A report out today from the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee highlights a critical point about Obamacare: The law's negative effect on labor markets helps explain why it will increase deficits by $131 billion over the next 10 years. This finding stands in stark contrast to Democrats' repeated assertions that the law will reduce the deficit. The public dialogue on Obamacare has thus far largely focused on how the law affects premiums and limits access to certain health insurance plans or doctors. [More]
State highlights: Ariz. agrees to settlement on health care for prisoners

State highlights: Ariz. agrees to settlement on health care for prisoners

Prop. 46 would make it mandatory for doctors to consult the database. California would become one of nine states requiring doctors to check before prescribing painkillers to first-time patients. After passing similar laws, Tennessee and New York saw a significant reduction in the number of narcotics prescriptions written. Studies have verified the correlation, but acknowledge that drug abusers may be turning to street drugs, like heroin. Many doctors in California like the database. Some have called it 'indispensable.' But they don't like being told how to practice medicine (Dembosky, 10/14). [More]
FTC cracks down on companies selling phony health insurance

FTC cracks down on companies selling phony health insurance

The firms sold consumers a discount card but it offered no health insurance benefits. Also in the news, a government researcher says federal officials need to monitor billing errors and overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans. [More]
Colorado University to limit student work hours -- partly to ease health law coverage requirements

Colorado University to limit student work hours -- partly to ease health law coverage requirements

The University of Colorado at Boulder is limiting student employee hours to 25 a week during spring and fall semesters in response to Affordable Care Act provisions, and other CU campuses are doing the same. In a newsletter to students, CU-Boulder said the act -; which requires employers to provide health insurance to employees working 30 or more hours per week, or pay fines -; was the catalyst for the policy change but not the sole reason. "Not only does the policy support degree attainment as the student's primary focus, it will help assist the campus in achieving chancellor (Phil) DiStefano's initiative of increasing the six-year graduation rate," the newsletter said. [More]
ADHD increases major depression to bipolar disorder conversion

ADHD increases major depression to bipolar disorder conversion

Young people with major depression have an increased risk of conversion to bipolar disorder if they have comorbid attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, suggest findings from a longitudinal follow-up study. [More]
Viewpoints: Health law opposition not propelling GOP; keep politics out of the fight against Ebola

Viewpoints: Health law opposition not propelling GOP; keep politics out of the fight against Ebola

As recently as April, Obamacare was going to be the silver bullet for Republicans in this year's midterm elections. The leader of conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity said his plan was to make Obamacare "the No. 1 issue in the country." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared that the law would be "a huge disaster in 2014" and the deciding factor in November. Well, that was then. Now, three weeks from Election Day, some GOP challengers trying to knock off Democratic incumbent senators have scaled back their anti-Obamacare ads in favor of new targets such as the economy and national security (10/13). [More]

Revamped HealthCare.gov will deal with a new round of complications

The Associated Press reports on how the updated website, which has been overhauled in anticipation of the upcoming second enrollment season, compares with last year's version. Meanwhile, investigations continue regarding Covered California's no-bid contracts. [More]

Medicaid expansion plans, debates continue to roil GOP officials, cause concern for hospital execs

News outlets offer updates regarding Medicaid expansion efforts in Indiana and Ohio. [More]

McConnell's mixed message on Kynect, the state's health exchange

During a debate last night with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the state's online insurance marketplace could stay but the Affordable Care Act should be repealed. In addition, news outlets report on Senate races in Arkansas and South Dakota. [More]

In Md. gubernatorial debate, Democrat defends his role in botched health marketplace

Anthony Brown, the state's lieutenant governor who oversaw the development of the state's online insurance marketplace, acknowledges the technical problems but points to tens of thousands of Marylanders who now have health insurance. [More]

Health care costs and health law politics: How issues are shaking out in public opinion and policy strategies

A poll by The Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research explores American's thoughts about health insurance, peace of mind and whether the health law is keeping costs down. Meanwhile, Politico explores the GOP's chances for repeal. [More]
PhRMA launches new website to educate consumers about ABCs of health coverage

PhRMA launches new website to educate consumers about ABCs of health coverage

Today, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) launched Access Better Coverage.org, a new website designed to educate consumers about the ABCs of health coverage and access to prescription medicines. [More]

Group Health's HMO Medicare Advantage plan earns 5-Star rating from CMS

Group Health's HMO Medicare Advantage plan has earned the highest rating available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Group Health is one of only 16 plans in the country to receive this rating for 2015. [More]
Viewpoints: Ebola myths; Sen. McCain's 'opportunistic alarmism'; Gov. Jindal on CDC's misspent resources

Viewpoints: Ebola myths; Sen. McCain's 'opportunistic alarmism'; Gov. Jindal on CDC's misspent resources

Hubris is the greatest danger in wealthy countries -; a sort of smug assumption that advanced technologies and emergency-preparedness plans guarantee that Ebola and other germs will not spread. It was hubris that left Toronto's top hospitals battling SARS in 2003, long after the virus was conquered in poorer Vietnam. It was hubris that led the World Health Assembly in 2013 to cut the WHO's outbreak-response budget in favor of more programs to treat cancer and heart disease. [More]
State highlights: Md., Minn. see small business health insurance rate changes; Texas sues AstraZeneca over Seroquel marketing

State highlights: Md., Minn. see small business health insurance rate changes; Texas sues AstraZeneca over Seroquel marketing

Some small businesses in Maryland will see a small drop in health insurance premiums next year, while others will pay as much as 11 percent more to cover their workers, according to rates released by state regulators Friday. The rates, which go into effect in January, only apply to small firms with up to 50 employees, and not to large or self-insured firms or individuals buying coverage on the state's health insurance exchange. Evergreen Health Cooperative sought no rate increase, and Aetna Health Inc. will raise rates only slightly, according to the rate information released by the Maryland Insurance Administration. Some UnitedHealthcare premiums will drop by about 2.5 percent (Cohn, 10/10). [More]