Bad Grades On New National Health Report Card

KHN Original

Ahead of the unveiling Tuesday of the latest United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings, Reed Tuckson, a foundation board member, had a scary message for the nation: We’re facing “a tsunami of preventable illness,” Tuckson said. “We aren’t prepared for the consequences of that.” In an interview with KHN in advance of the release of the […]

‘Death Is Always Cheaper’

KHN Original

Conventional health care wisdom says that a less invasive procedure will be less expensive: Fewer days in the hospital and an easier recovery should reduce costs, right? Well, it’s complicated. A new heart valve device and procedure approved by the FDA last week costs less than the standard treatment, but it can’t replace that procedure. […]

N.C. Insurer Invests $15M In Docs’ Health IT

KHN Original

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina planned to announce Wednesday that the insurer will spend $15 million to arm as many as 750 physicians in the state with state-of-the-art electronic medical records. Blue Cross, the dominant financier of the state’s health system with 54 percent of the insured on its rolls, stands to […]

Texas And Feds Agree ‘In Principle’ On Medicaid Overhaul

KHN Original

Texas officials received a long awaited thumbs up from the federal government on a proposed overhaul of the Texas Medicaid program this week, according to a letter obtained by Kaiser Health News. The letter, dated Sept. 14 from federal Medicaid director Cindy Mann, said her agency has “reached agreement in principle” on the Texas plan […]

Squeezed States Embrace Even More Medicaid Managed Care

KHN Original

Medicaid managed care is blanketing the nation as states look to private health plans for help closing budget gaps, and state officials expect the trend to continue in the state-federal program for the poor, according to a survey released today by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Officials in 27 states (of 45 […]

Private Medicare Plans Defy Predictions, Growing Despite Health Law Cuts

KHN Original

The industry of private Medicare health plans is continuing to grow, despite steep cuts enacted in the 2010 federal health law, according to a report released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KHN is an editorially-independent program of the foundation).  Nearly 12 million of the nation’s 47 million Medicare enrollees are now in private plans, […]

Consolidation Trend Continues As UnitedHealth Picks Up Calif. Doctor Group

KHN Original

If you live in Orange County, Calif., the chances that your doctor’s checks are cut by a UnitedHealth Group company are on the rise. The insurer, the nation’s largest by revenue, is acquiring the management arm of Monarch HealthCare, a 2,300-physician group, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and  Modern Healthcare. It’s the […]

Private Medicaid Plans See Opportunity In Low-Wage Workers

KHN Original

Private health plans that oversee care for Medicaid patients have seized on a federal health law provision that could compound the boom their industry already expects in 2014, when the law steers 16 million more members into the state-federal partnership for low-income people. They are lobbying states to form so-called “basic health plans” that would […]

Making Medicaid As Easy As A Netflix Membership

KHN Original

AUSTIN, Texas — My application for Medicaid in Oklahoma was denied. That’s no surprise, but this is: It took all of 11 minutes to find out — from clicking on the state’s enrollment website to receiving the decision — about the same amount of time invested in launching my Netflix account. That’s because the state […]

Louisiana Medicaid Moves To Managed Care

KHN Original

Louisiana health officials announced Monday that five health plans won bids to manage care for 892,000 low-income Medicaid patients — a first for the state that will be worth an estimated $2.2 billion in new revenues for the companies. The announcement is the latest step in a four-year march to managed care. “This has been a long […]

Leading Venture Capitalists Place A Bet On ACOs

KHN Original

The Silicon Valley investors who thought the nascent tech start-up Google was a good idea back in 1999 are now putting their money behind another zany scheme: accountable care organizations, the networks of doctors and hospitals that experts hope will save the health system millions of dollars. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital […]