Kansas Medicaid decisions could close hospitals, raise costs for privately insured

June 14, 2016, The Witchita Eagle, Gabriella Dunn- Some say the state’s decision to not expand Medicaid and Gov. Sam Brownback’s 4 percent cut to Medicaid reimbursement rates could contribute to more rural hospitals closing and could lead to more expensive health care for those who do have insurance. “This decision to make these cuts is really a decision to balance the budget on the shoulders of providers and patients around the state,” said Cindy Samuelson, vice president for public relations at the Kansas Hospital Association.

It Doesn’t Matter That UnitedHealth Is Ditching Obamacare

June 13, 2016, Forbes, Noah Lang- Earlier this month, UnitedHealth Group UNH +0.68% announced it will pull out of most Obamacare exchanges in 2017 because of anticipated losses of $650 million on its exchange business this year. (Let’s not feel too sorry for UnitedHealth, since they brought in $11 billion in profits in 2015). So, what should we make of this announcement? Just because UnitedHealth hasn’t been successful in the individual market doesn’t mean the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has failed. Even as the CEO of a company fighting to provide healthcare and coverage to self-employed Americans, I don’t care that UnitedHealth is exiting the exchanges. Here’s why.

Study: Mississippi life expectancy varies by county

June 9, 2016, The Clarion Ledger, Sarah Fowler- Depending on where someone is born in Mississippi, a person’s life expectancy can vary by up to eight years. Children born in Sunflower County, for example, have a life expectancy of 71 years. Two counties away, babies born in Carroll County are expected to live to age 77, according to data released by Virginia Commonwealth University. Derek Chapman, associate director of research for VCU Center on Society and Health, said while health plays an obvious role in life expectancy, there are contributing factors beneath the surface.

At This Medical School, Students Mix Science And Health Policy

June 9, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner- Medical students cram a lot of basic science and medicine into their first two years of training. But most learn next to nothing about the intricacies of the health care system they are soon to enter. That’s something the medical school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is trying to remedy. “Clinicians today have to graduate being great providers of individual care,” said Dr. Lawrence Deyton, the senior associate dean who’s spearheading this effort.

Arkansas state Medicaid rolls up 25,000

June 9, 2016, Arkansas Online, Andy Davis- The number of Arkansans approved for coverage under the state’s expanded Medicaid program increased by almost 25,000 from February through April, reaching more than 290,000, the director of the state Department of Human Services told legislators Wednesday. Director Cindy Gillespie also told members of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force that she plans to seek legislative approval to hire a “surge” of about 250 temporary caseworkers to help clear a backlog of work related to 100,000 Medicaid cases, including more than 34,000 applications for coverage that have been pending for more than 45 days.

HHS Announces Plans To Curtail Consumers’ Use Of Short-Term Insurance Policies

June 8, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Jordan Rau- The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have. The plans, designed for people in between jobs or in need of temporary insurance until they secure a regular policy, are cheaper than regular insurance plans. But they also can lack features that the health law requires for other policies, such as coverage for preexisting medical conditions, maternity care and prescription drugs.