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Health care reform increases emergency department use in Massachusetts

The implementation of health care reform in Massachusetts - principally the expansion of health insurance coverage to nearly everyone in the state - was associated with a small but consistent increase in emergency department use, according to the findings of a study to be published online today in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Increased Use of the Emergency Department After Health Care Reform in Massachusetts"). [More]
Viewpoints: Romneycare and cutting workers; Fla.'s surprising ruling on malpractice reform

Viewpoints: Romneycare and cutting workers; Fla.'s surprising ruling on malpractice reform

Health reform in Massachusetts in 2006 did not cause many workers to have their work hours cut, but that is no comfort for those workers nationwide who will begin to experience this side effect of the federal Affordable Care Act (Casey B. Mulligan, 3/19). [More]

House GOP health plan still long way off

Politico examines the difficulties for Republicans in Congress as they weigh offering a health reform plan. Meanwhile, The Fiscal Times highlights four fixes that would help the current law. [More]
Research roundup: Medicaid eligibility; tracking discontinued randomized trials; decline in work-based insurance

Research roundup: Medicaid eligibility; tracking discontinued randomized trials; decline in work-based insurance

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), changes in income and family circumstances are likely to produce frequent transitions in eligibility for Medicaid and health insurance Marketplace coverage for low- and middle-income adults. [More]

Final days of health law's open enrollment marked by stepped up outreach efforts

News outlets detail the various strategies that are being employed to encourage more people to sign-up for coverage. Insurers are paying for ads and supporting the work of grassroots organizations. Meanwhile, students are volunteering and navigators are staying busy. [More]

Highlights: No-bid contract decision in Calif.; Fla. hospital Medicaid settlement; navigator restrictions in Kan.

A selection of health policy stories from California, Florida, Kansas, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin and Minnesota. [More]
With three weeks to go, Obama administration pulls out all the stops in sign up efforts

With three weeks to go, Obama administration pulls out all the stops in sign up efforts

News outlets report on the creative outreach efforts, including those geared to moms, young people and Latinos, to increase the number of newly insured people before March 31. Even prison inmates are signing up. [More]
Highlights: Va. mental health budget; Calif. nursing home Bankruptcy; nurses' practice in Minn.

Highlights: Va. mental health budget; Calif. nursing home Bankruptcy; nurses' practice in Minn.

Lawmakers in Richmond are deep in budget negotiations and will soon decide which parts of the mental health-care system will receive a funding boost. The House and Senate proposals have a number of differences, and what emerges will likely be a mash-up of the two (Shin, 3/5). [More]

First Edition: March 6, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about health law rule changes announced yesterday by the Obama administration. [More]

Feds give South Dakota's partial Medicaid expansion plan a thumbs down; Utah may need a special session

News outlets report on these and other state efforts to address issues related to expanding the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people. [More]

Health reform gives people with history of jail time access to continuous health care

Under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 4 million people who have spent time in jail will have better access to health coverage for conditions that might-if left untreated-result in higher health care costs and an increased risk of recidivism. [More]
Experts recommend several steps to improve care for prisoners

Experts recommend several steps to improve care for prisoners

The very premise of prison invites members of society to think of the people there as walled-off and removed. But more than 95 percent of prisoners will return to the community, often carrying significant health burdens and associated costs with them. In an article in the March issue of the journal Health Affairs, several experts who participated in a scientific workshop convened by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine recommend several steps and ideas consistent with health reform to improve care for prisoners while they are incarcerated and after they return to society. [More]
Research roundup: Medicaid peer support; doctor Jokes; ACA's asset rules for coverage

Research roundup: Medicaid peer support; doctor Jokes; ACA's asset rules for coverage

Since 2009, the eight states (Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin) participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Maximizing Enrollment program have worked to streamline and simplify enrollment systems, policies, and processes for children and those eligible for coverage in 2014. ... States [focused] on five key areas: 1) applications, 2) eligibility determinations, 3) renewals and transfers, 4) notices, and 5) business processes. [More]

Study: Medical homes haven't saved money or substantially improved care

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a pilot project that organizes care for patients in order to improve care quality and reduce costs improved neither substantially. [More]

After five days, covered California website restarts; Md. fires builder of troubled exchange

Also in the news, the latest developments regarding the online insurance marketplaces in Connecticut, Oregon, Minnesota and California. [More]

Viewpoints: False arguments on deadbeats; fighting cancer without insurance; bridging Louisiana's health funding gap

A small war has erupted over the recent Congressional Budget Office report on the employment effects of the Affordable Care Act. Last week, the CBO itself felt compelled to offer a lengthy and detailed rebuttal to the spin that millions of Americans will "lose their jobs" as a result of Obamacare. [More]
Research roundup: Palliative care and ACOs; employers and Supreme Court case on contraception

Research roundup: Palliative care and ACOs; employers and Supreme Court case on contraception

In preparation for the new ACO environment, leaders recognized the contribution palliative care can make to health care "value," especially in the care of our sickest (and most expensive) patients ... [More]

In Maryland, support is solid for health overhaul, state's exchange

A new poll finds 55 percent of state residents back the federal health law, even as Maryland plans to spend $2 million to address a problem with the online insurance marketplace. In related news, the deadline is approaching for states to spend federal grants they received to set up exchanges. [More]

First Edition: February 20, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about Medicaid expansion challenges in Virginia and Arkansas. [More]

Viewpoints: 'Sham Surgery' for research; bigger hospitals may not bring better care

In a landmark study of a new cardiovascular device unveiled last month, patients received anesthetics, had a large-bore catheter inserted through a cut into one of their major arteries, and had dye injected into their bloodstream. [More]