In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Some hospitals try to avoid sharp declines in the health of elderly patients by treating them in special units geared to their specific needs. This story is the first in a KHN series on the challenges hospitals face with an aging population. (Anna Gorman, 8/9)
A conversation with author David Barton Smith examines how civil rights activists working at the Social Security Administration and the Public Health Service in the 1960s used the new Medicare law to end racial discrimination at hospitals. (Michelle Andrews, 8/9)
Two surveys suggest these companies continue to try new ways to control the expense of employees’ coverage. (Jay Hancock, 8/9)
A study in Health Affairs finds that nationwide hospital-based language services are not available in a systematic way. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 8/8)
A study published in Health Affairs concludes that the idea of coordinating prescription refill timelines for people with multiple chronic conditions could improve their medication adherence and health outcomes. (Shefali Luthra, 8/8)
Elderly black women suffer most from shorter active life expectancy free of disabilities, showing no improvement since the early 1980s, Health Affairs study finds. (Rachel Bluth, 8/8)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Go Team'" by John Branch .
Here's today's health policy haiku:
WHERE PATIENTS GO WHEN THEY DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH
Lost in translation ...
Not just a movie but a
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Summaries Of The News:
The study finds that in states that have expanded Medicaid patients were 16.1 percentage points more likely to have had a checkup in the past year, and 12 points more likely to be getting regular care for a chronic condition.
Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Is Helping More Poor Patients Get To The Doctor Even As Political Battles Continue
Even as the Affordable Care Act remains a political flash point, new research shows it is dramatically improving poor patients’ access to medical care in states that have used the law to expand their Medicaid safety net. After just two years of expanded coverage, patients in expansion states are going to the doctor more frequently and having less trouble paying for it. At the same time, the experience in those states suggests better access will ultimately improve patients’ health, as patients get more regular checkups and seek care for chronic illnesses such diabetes and heart disease. (Levey, 8/8)
The Hill: Study: ObamaCare's Medicaid Expansion Increases Access To Care
A new study finds that ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion led to gains in access to healthcare in two Southern states. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that patients fared better in Kentucky and Arkansas — two states that accepted the expansion of Medicaid — compared to Texas, which has rejected it. (Sullivan, 8/8)
The Fiscal Times: Medicaid Expansion Is Working For Low-Income Adults, But Can It Last?
There is little doubt that the expanded Medicaid program for low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act is proving to be far more costly than originally billed by the administration. The latest Medicaid actuarial report issued late last month pegged the per enrollee cost for adults at $6,366 in 2015, up 49 percent from previous estimates. Over the coming decade, Medicaid outlays through this program will be nearly $250 billion higher than previous actuarial projections. That trend could pose serious financial challenges for the federal government, which is currently footing the cost, and the more than 30 states that have opted into the program so far that eventually must pick up ten percent or more of the overall cost of the expanded health insurance. (Pianin, 8/8)
Georgia Health News: Medicaid Expansion Would Be Windfall For State, Report Says
For each dollar that Georgia would have to spend on Medicaid expansion, it would gain $8.68 to $9.42 in federal spending, a new study said Monday. The report from the Urban Institute analyzes the potential costs and benefits for the 19 states (including Georgia) that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. If all those states expanded Medicaid this year, they could see a collective net increase in federal funding from years 2017 to 2026 of up to $462 billion, versus a cost of $56 billion, the study said. (Miller, 8/8)
The state's insurance regulator said the decision was made to prevent possible withdrawal from the exchanges. In other health law news, some colleges in Ohio are dropping student health insurance.
The Tennessean: Insurers Win Chance To Seek Higher Obamacare Premiums
In an effort to prevent more insurers from abandoning the Obamacare exchange in Tennessee, the state's insurance regulator is allowing health insurers refile 2017 rate requests by Aug. 12 after Cigna and Humana said their previously requested premium hikes were too low. Cigna and Humana filed to increase last year's premiums an average of 23 and 29 percent, respectively, on June 10. (Fletcher, 8/8)
The Columbus Dispatch: Some Ohio Colleges Drop Student Health Insurance
As college students and their parents finalize their enrollment and pay tuition and fees for fall, many face one fewer headache than in years past: no more worrying about whether they’ve waived the optional health-insurance coverage in time to avoid being charged for it. In large part because of changes brought by the federal Affordable Care Act, a number of colleges have stopped providing student health insurance. (Edwards, 8/9)
They're particularly focused on waivers that would allow states to replace the law's insurance exchange structure with their own models.
Modern Healthcare: Could Trump Loss Spur ACA Deal With Clinton?
With Donald Trump's presidential campaign faltering, Republican health policy experts are gaming out Plan B for working with a Hillary Clinton administration to achieve conservative healthcare goals. Their focus is on a possible “grand bargain” that would give conservative states greater flexibility to design market-based approaches to make coverage more affordable and reduce spending in exchange for covering low-income workers in non-Medicaid expansion states. (Meyer, 8/6)
In other news, Modern Healthcare fact checks Donald Trump's health law claims —
Modern Healthcare: Behind Trump's Claim That Obamacare Cost 2 Million Jobs
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed in an economic speech Monday that his proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act would “save” 2 million American jobs. But there are serious problems with that statement. The Congressional Budget Office tentatively projected in early 2014 that the ACA would reduce the total number of hours Americans work by 1.5% to 2% between 2017 and 2024—“almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor—given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive.” (Meyer, 8/8)
The move by regulators comes after a media report about facility employees posting demeaning photos and videos of nursing home residents to platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.
NPR/ProPublica: Federal Officials Seek To Stop Social Media Abuse Of Nursing Home Residents
Federal health regulators have announced plans to crack down on nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents and post them on social media. The move follows a series of ProPublica reports that have documented abuses in nursing homes and assisted living centers using social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. These include photos and videos of residents who were naked, covered in feces or even deceased. They also include images of abuse. (Ornstein and Huseman, 8/8)