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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]

New Medicaid enrollees pleased with coverage, but note they still face obstacles

Focus-group research finds that people who received Medicaid coverage under the health law's expansion are generally happy but find roadblocks to getting care, The Washington Post reports. [More]

Va. legislators return to bitter Medicaid expansion debate, kill plan without formal vote

State legislators united across party lines Thursday to plug a $2.4 billion hole in the state budget but quickly reverted to bitter partisanship as they debated Medicaid expansion, with House Republicans ultimately killing a bill to expand the health-care program without giving it a formal vote (Vozzella and Weiner, 9/18). [More]

States' efforts to customize their Medicaid expansion efforts could complicate reform

Some conservative states have won concessions from the administration in exchange for moving forward on expansion, and other states are carefully weighing those choices. [More]
State highlights: Report: Hospitals ill-prepared for Sandy; Iowa Supreme Court lets teleabortion go on while it decides

State highlights: Report: Hospitals ill-prepared for Sandy; Iowa Supreme Court lets teleabortion go on while it decides

When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast nearly two years ago, hospitals found themselves dealing with surges in patients, lost power supplies and employees who couldn't get to work -- problems that a new federal report finds they were not prepared to handle (Mulvihill, 9/17). [More]
High impact health interventions reduce maternal and child mortality in poor countries

High impact health interventions reduce maternal and child mortality in poor countries

New studies have uncovered the specific interventions and advances that have led to the success with these at-risk populations in the poorest countries. [More]
Research roundup: Prevention services for seniors; drug shortages

Research roundup: Prevention services for seniors; drug shortages

This policy brief reports the findings of a systematic review conducted by the Community Health Innovations in Prevention for Seniors (CHIPS) project. ... Clinical preventive services such as colorectal cancer screening and pneumococcal immunization can help reduce rates of premature death and disability. Yet, many older adults are not receiving the full set of clinical preventive services that have been proven effective and are considered "high value" in terms of their costs per life saved. Rates are particularly low among racial and ethnic minority older adults compared to national goals. [More]

Obamacare has not cut uninsured rate for kids

The children's uninsured rate hardly budged in the first year of the health law's expansion of coverage, even as the rate for adults dropped four percentage points, according to reports from the Urban Institute and Georgetown's Center for Children and Families. [More]

Va. lawmaker stabbed by so calls for national mental health system reform

Elsewhere, the Washington state Supreme Court will allow psychiatric hospitals more time to find beds for patients with mental illnesses, and Connecticut plans to overhaul children's mental health care. [More]

Percentage of Texans without health insurance drops after first enrollment period of ACA

The percentage of Texans without health insurance dropped after the first enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a report released today by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. [More]
State highlights: Mass. health care costs grow smaller 2.3 percent; new rules in Calif. for inmates with mental illness

State highlights: Mass. health care costs grow smaller 2.3 percent; new rules in Calif. for inmates with mental illness

Two years ago, Massachusetts set what was considered an ambitious goal: The state would not let that persistent monster, rising health care costs, increase faster than the economy as a whole. [More]
Viewpoints: Medicaid expansion spreading; 'GOP's woman problem;' praising Medicare

Viewpoints: Medicaid expansion spreading; 'GOP's woman problem;' praising Medicare

The latest jerry-built effort to destroy health care reform could be defeated in the full federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. In July, a three-judge panel of that court -; taking a ridiculously crabbed view of a section in the law -; ruled 2-to-1 that tax-credit subsidies are allowed only for those buying insurance on a health exchange "established by the state." [More]
Longer looks: A new kind of abortion war; foster kids and psychotropic drugs

Longer looks: A new kind of abortion war; foster kids and psychotropic drugs

While pro-life activists fight to rescue IVF embryos from the freezer, pregnant women in their third trimester with catastrophic fetal anomalies have nowhere to turn. ... Perhaps there is no other issue that touches on so many core dimensions of American society-;legal, medical, scientific, theological, political, philosophical, biological, ethical, and ecological. What some on one side of the debate call reproductive justice, others call taking a life. What some call a person, others call a cluster of cells. [More]
Viewpoints: Employers and health benefits; Sen. Pryor's ACA endorsement; waging war on hep C

Viewpoints: Employers and health benefits; Sen. Pryor's ACA endorsement; waging war on hep C

Most of the political class seems to have decided that ObamaCare is working well enough, the opposition is fading, and the subsidies and regulation are settling in as the latest wing of the entitlement state. [More]
Viewpoints: Threat to drug development; GOP's Obamacare criticism tempered; finding doctors for seniors

Viewpoints: Threat to drug development; GOP's Obamacare criticism tempered; finding doctors for seniors

An invasive species has been introduced into the U.S. health innovation ecosystem, with a growing danger of permanent damage to the development of specialty drugs. [More]
Viewpoints: Medicaid's good deal; Medicare hospital errors; CBO on exchange coverage

Viewpoints: Medicaid's good deal; Medicare hospital errors; CBO on exchange coverage

If the governor and the legislature refuse to accept the federal deal [for Medicaid expansion] -; as 24 states have so far -; they in effect vote against one of the most fantastic cash-flow deals ever offered them. ... And it gets worse. [More]

Rural residents pay more for exchange plans

Rural residents paid slightly higher premiums for exchange health plans than their city counterparts, reports Modern Healthcare. Meanwhile, Vermont's GOP leaders say they want the state's health insurance exchange to succeed, but residents are fed up with problems. [More]
State highlights: New York state faces $1.3B Medicaid payback problem while Mayor De Blasio advances plan to reduce city employees' health costs

State highlights: New York state faces $1.3B Medicaid payback problem while Mayor De Blasio advances plan to reduce city employees' health costs

When Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his first labor agreements with New York City unions this spring, he was sharply criticized for granting long-awaited wage increases in exchange for promises of unspecified though sizable savings on health care expenses (Greenhouse and Stewart, 7/29). [More]
Several insurers report lower profits

Several insurers report lower profits

WellPoint Inc. on Wednesday said its second-quarter profit slipped as the health insurer recorded higher expenses, masking a boost in revenue and enrollment. [More]
State highlights: Calif. insurance commissioner asks for premium power

State highlights: Calif. insurance commissioner asks for premium power

A selection of health policy stories from California, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, Kansas and New York. [More]