In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
As the agency considers paying for knee replacement procedures outside the hospital, doctors debate patient choice and the potential for post-operation complications. (Christina Jewett, 12/21)
Using opioids to treat pain in seniors has been common, and that has led some to dependence disorders in later life. (Jenny Gold, 12/21)
Removing them during already-planned hysterectomies poses little risk and can help prevent a deadly cancer, researchers find. (Jocelyn Wiener, 12/21)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Paul Scissorhands?'" by Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
GRAY AND IN REHAB?
When does a person
Age out of addiction risks?
If there’s pain – never.
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 number of Americans who skipped care because of costs dropped by nearly 20 percent between 2013 and 2015.
Los Angeles Times: Millions More Americans Able To Afford Doctor's Visit Under Obamacare, Study Shows
The Affordable Care Act’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage has brought medical care within reach of millions of Americans who previously couldn’t afford it, new research shows. The share of adults who skipped medical care because of costs dropped by nearly one-fifth between 2013 and 2015, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund. (Levey, 12/20)
CQ Roll Call: Obamacare Led To Reductions In Uninsured Rates, Study Finds
The rate of uninsured adults dropped to historic lows in a number of states between 2013 and 2015, according to a study released Wednesday by The Commonwealth Fund. According to the analysis, which compared state performance data using yearly information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the uninsured rate for adults ages 19 to 64 dropped in each of the 50 states during that time period. Over one-third of states, including the District of Columbia, had uninsured rates below 10 percent by the end of 2015. (Williams, 12/21)
The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: Yet Another Report Finds That Obamacare Is Working
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund adds to the evidence that the embattled Affordable Care Act has been doing its job. Since the law's implementation, the number of people without health insurance has dropped in all states. It fell by at least three percentage points in 48 of them and the District of Columbia. The rates are now at "historic lows," said David Blumental, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports research on healthy policy issues. (Burling, 12/21)
Miami Herald: Health Care Coverage, Access Improved Under Obamacare, Study Says
Like nearly 1.5 million people in Florida, de Anda has an ACA plan that she bought on the insurance exchange at healthcare.gov — coverage that includes psychiatric counseling, prescription drugs and hospitalization if she ever needs it. But now, worried that she might lose the coverage under President-elect Donald Trump, de Anda joined a protest outside the offices of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican and frequent critic of the health law commonly known as Obamacare. (Chang, 12/21)
With Donald Trump coming into office, there's a chance the suit -- which centers around the legality of payments to insurers under the health law -- will be dropped entirely. Meanwhile, researchers are frantically saving data about the health law in fears that it will be deleted when the new administration begins.
Politico: Obamacare Recipients Go To Court To Protect Funding
Donald Trump won't be sworn in as president for another month, but one of the first salvos in a forthcoming legal war against his administration was launched Tuesday as people who get subsidies under Obamacare asked to intervene in a lawsuit that threatens to shut down funding key to the health insurance program. (Gerstein, 12/20)
The Hill: ObamaCare Enrollees File Motion To Protect Federal Payments
A group of ObamaCare enrollees on Tuesday filed a motion in federal court seeking to protect payments under the health law that Republicans say are illegal. The ObamaCare enrollees filed a motion in the case, known as House v. Burwell, seeking to become parties to the case and be represented to defend the legality of the ObamaCare payments, known as “cost-sharing reductions.” The consumers argue that they should be allowed to become parties to the case because once the President-elect Donald Trump enters office, the interests of ObamaCare defenders will no longer be represented. (Sullivan, 12/20)
CQ HealthBeat: Insurance Holders Seek To Revive Obamacare Spending Fight
Two people who got insurance through the 2010 health care law made a bid Tuesday to resuscitate a legal fight between House Republicans and the Obama administration that could jeopardize their coverage. Gustavo Parker and La Trina Patton asked the federal appeals court in Washington to allow them to intervene in the lawsuit, saying they want to defend the continued payment of subsidies that go to approximately 5.9 million people in their situation. (Rudger, 12/20)
Politico: Researchers Race To Copy Obamacare Data For Fear It Will Vanish
Spooked by Trump's rhetoric and pledge to repeal Obamacare, several dozen independent researchers are racing to download key health care data and documents before Jan. 20. They say they began the effort on their own, and then got a boost from Jeanne Lambrew, the White House's top health reform official, who also sounded alarms the new administration might expunge reams of information from public websites and end access to data, researchers told POLITICO. (Diamond, 12/21)
And in other health law news —
Morning Consult: CBO Warns Against Major Changes To Essential Health Benefits
Analysts with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday they would not count people with minimal insurance as being covered under an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation anticipate that under some ACA replacement proposals — which don’t clearly specify what type of coverage could be purchased with federal tax credits — insurers may start offering non-group plans that would not meet their expectations for adequate coverage, according to the blog post published Tuesday. (McIntire, 12/20)
PBS NewsHour: Worries About Access Fuel Women’s Rush To Get Contraception
In the immediate aftermath of the election, concerns about access to birth control have spiked. For many women, there’s a fear that the incoming Trump administration will repeal the Affordable Care Act, and with it, access to free contraception. (Desjardins, 12/20)
The Wall Street Journal: New York City Mayor Aims To Insure Thousands More Under Affordable Care Act
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to enroll 50,000 people in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act by the end of next year, a move officials said would save the city’s cash-strapped hospital system $40 million a year. President-elect Donald Trump and Republican leaders have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Mr. de Blasio, a supporter of universal health care, said he believes growing enrollment will make that more difficult. (Gay, 12/20)
Nashville Tennessean: Obamacare's Tennessee Inroads Tenuous Under Trump
Tennessee, even without Medicaid expansion, saw a 4 percent decrease in uninsured people from 2010 to now, according to a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, WalletHub and the Urban Institute. The biggest decrease came between 2013 and 2016, said LeeAnn Luna, author of the UT report. In addition to 268,000 people buying insurance on the exchange, some people realized they were eligible for TennCare and enrolled. An improved economy led to others landing jobs with insurance, Luna said (Fletcher, 12/20)
Washington Free Beacon: Healthcare.Gov Approves Fake Applicants In Undercover Investigation, Again
Healthcare.gov and its state marketplaces approved health care coverage and subsidies for nine fake applicants in another Government Accountability Office sting, according to a report from the agency. (Meyer, 12/20)
Tampa Bay Times: With Repeal Looming, Tampa Again Opens Recreation Centers For Obamacare Sign-Ups
For the fourth straight year, City Hall is opening city recreation centers so health insurance navigators can meet with people interested in signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act before the Jan. 31 deadline. This time, however, it's happening as President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans make plans to repeal the law. (Danielson, 12/21)