Viewpoints: New uninsured numbers are outdated; chiropractors' unusual move into nutrition

The New York Times' The Upshot: New Estimates On Health Coverage Are Accurate But Outdated

The federal government released some very reliable estimates of how many people had health insurance in the first three months of 2014. But the data won't tell us much about how many people got insurance through the Affordable Care Act (Margo Sanger-Katz, 9/16).

The New York Times' The Upshot: Limiting Choice To Control Health Spending: A Caution
To what extent will the recent moderation in the growth of health care prices and spending continue? This is a big question, and the answer relies on many factors. But for plans offered in the new health insurance exchanges as well as a substantial minority of employer-sponsored plans, it may depend, in part, on how long consumers are willing to trade lower premiums for less choice. History offers a cautionary tale (Austin Frakt, 9/15). 

Los Angeles Times: A Cure For Diabetes? Don't Look To Chiropractors, State Says
There are thousands of competent chiropractors in California helping people deal with back or neck pain. And then there are some who run newspaper ads with bold claims about breakthrough treatments for diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Robert Puleo, executive officer of the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the state's regulatory agency, can only shake his head when he sees these ads, which often include invitations to free dinners that are actually sales pitches. "It reeks of snake oil," he said. "There are some chiropractors out there who want to make a buck any way they can" (David Lazarus, 9/15). 

The Wall Street Journal: Hospital Mergers Can Lower Costs And Improve Medical Care
Decades ago, hospital mergers set off alarm bells. Some worried that they would decrease competition and raise costs. Yet thanks to cataclysmic changes in the delivery of health care, hospital mergers now offer the potential for higher quality and more efficiency (Kenneth L. Davis, 9/15). 

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Brookings Vs. Dartmouth On Health Costs
The Brookings Institution released a study last week that could turn the debate over health spending on its head. While many health analysts -- including several key advisers to the administration during the debate over Obamacare -- believe that variations in physician practice patterns could represent the key to unlocking a more efficient health system, the Brookings paper questions the degree to which such variations even exist (Chris Jacobs, 9/15). 

The Wall Street Journal: California's Obamacare Fight
One of the most expensive and contentious initiative campaigns in California this year pits progressive Democrats against the state's Obamacare exchange. The progressives want to give the state insurance commissioner veto power over health-insurance rates while the exchange backers want to prevent Obamacare from imploding (Allysia Finley, 9/15). 

Forbes: Special Session Sneak Peek: Will Virginia Lawmakers Listen To Voters On Medicaid Expansion?
This week, Virginia lawmakers will convene in a special session to consider adopting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. But Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe will be rebuffed once again due to waning public and legislative support for the program. ... Perhaps finally recognizing that he does not have the authority to expand unilaterally, McAullife announced his "plan" for the special session last week. It essentially amounts to a concession on Obamacare expansion, focusing instead on expanded outreach efforts to enroll individuals who are already eligible for Medicaid and additional coverage for those with "severe mental illness" (Nic Horton and Josh Archambault, 9/16).

The Jersey Journal/New Jersey.com: A Medicaid Message For Gov Christie
In July 2012, United States District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano ruled the State of New Jersey was violating its own Medicaid regulations, the federal Medicaid statute, and the Fifth and 14th amendments to the U. S. Constitution by withholding money due [federal qualified health centers] for care of Medicaid patients. Saying FQHCs would suffer irreparable harm if the money grab continued, he ordered Medicaid to immediately make interim emergency payments to the health centers in amounts equal to what they would have received if Medicaid hadn't been breaking all those rules. Although FQHCs received the back-due money, almost immediately Medicaid officials returned to their old ways, withholding funds (Joan Quigley, 9/16).

The Hill: Mississippians Deserve Medicaid
Thousands of Mississippi families are one major illness away from bankruptcy. Recent studies have shown that medical debt is the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in America; yet, as governors across the country in states like Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee are working to find ways to broaden their states' Medicaid eligibility, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) continues to fight the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The result is failure to provide the much-needed safety net for middle-class Mississippians (Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., 9/15).

Savannah Morning News: Obamacare Adds Nearly $50M To State Budget
Two, little-reported provisions of the Affordable Care act -- Obamacare -- are expected to add nearly $50 million to the tab for Georgia taxpayers by increasing access to Medicaid and limiting one tool the state has used to catch people who aren't eligible. ... But the biggest jolt to the budget from Obamacare comes from the federal government prohibiting state officials from checking the eligibility every six months. ... "In that six-month interval if you find someone who's no longer eligible, you take them off the rolls," said Clyde Reese, Georgia's commissioner of community health. "Now, waiting the extra six months to 12 months, you may be paying for somebody in that (added period) who was not eligible." Checking income yearly instead of semiannually added $42 million to the state budget. Advocates for the poor say the longer period reduces hassles for people on Medicaid and lowers the risk that they are accidentally dropped from coverage because of missing paperwork (Walter C. Jones, 9/16).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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