Will Medicare’s physician payment overhaul drive more docs to hospitals?

April 27, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Ben Kutscher and Adam Rubenfire- The CMS on Wednesday began to answer some of the many questions about how physicians will get paid under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. But some stakeholders were immediately dissatisfied with what they saw, and the 963-page rule may have raised as many questions as it answered. The rule provided more clarity around the CMS’ proposed Quality Payment Program, which consolidates three existing payment models: the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier and Medicare’s incentive program for achieving meaningful use of electronic health records.

Plateau But No Decline: Child Obesity Rates Hold Steady

April 26, 2016, NPR, Allison Aubrey- When it comes to reversing the obesity epidemic, there have been glimmers of hope that the U.S. might be making headway, especially with young children. For instance, back in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented declines in obesity rates among low-income preschoolers in many states. And case studies in cities including Kearney, Neb., Vance, N.C., and New York , N.Y., have reported progress, too. But a new study published in the journal Obesity concludes that - though the prevalence of obesity among U.S. children has plateaued in recent years - there is no indication of a national decline.

Healthcare shocker: These insurers are making money on Obamacare

April 27, 2016, Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik- The pending departure of the big insurance company UnitedHealth from most of the Affordable Care Act exchanges that it serves has prompted critics of Obamacare proclaiming the coming “death spiral” of the insurance reform. The critics aren’t talking so much about the insurers who are reporting profits from the program. Their experience shows how the ACA can be made to work for customers and insurers alike. The most encouraging news came Tuesday from Centene, a St. Louis insurer that doubled down on the ACA, as well as other lines of business, by acquiring Woodland Hills-based Health Net earlier this year

Feds issue new standards for Medicaid insurance plans

April 25, 2016, MS News Now, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar- The Obama administration Monday set new standards for Medicaid private insurance plans, which in recent years have become the main source of coverage for low-income people. The rules apply to insurers operating as Medicaid middlemen in 39 states and Washington, DC. Each state runs its own program, although the federal government pays most of the cost. Private insurers now provide coverage to about two-thirds of the more than 70 million Medicaid recipients, and the rules had not been updated for more than 10 years.

Health Care Access and Affordability among Low- and Moderate-Income Insured and Uninsured Adults und

The implementation of the key coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including an expansion of Medicaid in 30 states and the District of Columbia1 and the introduction of subsidized coverage through new health insurance Marketplaces, have contributed to a substantial increase in the number of adults with health insurance (Uberoi et al. 2016). Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment increased by about 14.5 million between October 2013 and December 2015 (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services 2016). As of February 1, 2016, about 12.7 million people were enrolled in health plans through federal or state-based Marketplaces (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation 2016).

Obamacare Seems to Be Reducing People’s Medical Debt

April 20, 2016, The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz- Even if you lack health insurance, you’ll probably be able to get treatment at a hospital in the event of a catastrophe - if you’re struck by a car, say. But having insurance can mean the difference between financial security and financial ruin. A new study is showing that, by giving health insurance to low-income people, Obamacare seems to have cut down on their debt substantially. It estimates that medical debt held by people newly covered by Medicaid since 2014 has been reduced by about $600 to $1,000 each year.