First Edition: September 12, 2014
Today's headlines include reports about various health law political and policy developments.
Kaiser Health News: Census Bureau: Health Costs Inch Up As Obamacare Kicks In
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jay Hancock reports: “Doctors and hospitals treated more patients and collected more payments in the spring as millions gained insurance coverage under the health law, new figures from the government show. But analysts called the second-quarter increases modest and said there is little evidence to suggest that wider coverage and a recovering economy are pushing health spending growth to the painful levels of a decade ago” (Hancock, 9/11). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Health Law Shows Little Effect In Lowering Children's Uninsured Rate, Study Finds
Kaiser Health News’ consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: “The uninsured rate for kids under age 18 hasn’t budged under the health law, according to a new study, even though they’re subject to the law’s requirement to have insurance just as their parents and older siblings are. Many of those children are likely eligible for coverage under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program” (Andrews, 9/12). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Apparent Retail Glitch Triggers Copays For Birth Control
Now on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Shefali Luthra reports: “CVS Health is investigating a potential glitch in its drug pricing system that appears to have charged women copayments for prescription birth control – though the scope of the error remains currently unclear. The problem came to the attention of Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., after one of her staffers attempted to buy generic prescription birth control in Washington D.C. and was charged a $20 copay” (Luthra, 9/11). Check out what else is on the blog.
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Measuring The Impact Of States’ Obamacare Decisions
The early story of the Affordable Care Act can be challenging to generalize sometimes because so much of it depends on decisions made at the state level — both before and during implementation of the ACA. Did states defer to a federal-run exchange, or did they set up their own? In the states that built their own insurance marketplaces, did the Web site actually work? Did they expand Medicaid programs to low-income adults? Did they temporarily let people keep their old health plans? (Millman, 9/11).
The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics: Obamacare Participants Worse Off, But Don’t Blame Washington — Blame States, Paper Says
The president’s health-care law has made participants in most states worse off, but the result may reflect decisions made in state capitals, not the broader policy, a new study from a Yale University economist found. The average enrollee in a health plan made available under the Affordable Care Act saw individual welfare decline in 35 states, according to the study Amanda Kowalski presented Thursday at the Brookings Institution in Washington. The report found the majority of those states either handed over at least part of the rollout to the federal government or were crippled by technology glitches (Morath, 9/11).
The Wall Street Journal: Health-Care Spending Picks Up
The sprawling U.S. health-care industry saw revenue rebound last quarter, a sign that stronger spending at hospitals and medical offices could help boost U.S. economic growth to its highest level in eight years. Total revenue at health-care and social-assistance firms rose 3% in the second quarter from the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Thursday in its Quarterly Services Survey. Hospital revenue rose 2.8% from the first quarter and revenue at physician offices jumped 4.1% (Leubsdorf, 9/11).
Politico: House Returns To Anti-Obamacare Votes
House Republicans on Thursday returned to the Obamacare well for another vote against the law, this time to allow consumers to stay on once-canceled plans until 2019. The House approved the bill, 247-167, with the support of all Republicans and 25 Democrats. It was the first vote on the health care law since April (Haberkorn, 9/11).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Portman: Four Things A GOP Senate Could Do Quickly
Another early item on a GOP Senate’s agenda is oft-debated legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law, Mr. Portman said, but he hoped that it would be followed by other measures to replace the law with other health measures. President Obama, in fundraising events for Democrats this year, has made a big plea for keeping the Senate in Democratic hands to keep a check on Republican obstructionism (Hook, 9/11).
NPR: Changing Tack, GOP Candidates Support Better Access To Birth Control
A string of Republican candidates for Senate are supporting an issue usually associated with Democrats: increased access to contraception (Liasson, 9/12).
NPR: A Doctor Who Performed Abortions In South Texas Makes His Case
In a Brownsville family clinic, a powerfully built, bald doctor treats a never-ending line of sick and injured patients. He has been practicing for nearly four decades, but family medicine is not his calling. He seems an unlikely doctor to perform abortions. The son of an Army officer, he grew up in a deeply religious family in rural Texas. His career path was shaped by an experience in medical school in the early '70s. A young woman whose uterus had been accidentally pierced by a backroom abortionist bled to death in front of him. After Roe v. Wade was decided, the young doctor devoted his career to helping poor and working-class women terminate their unwanted pregnancies in South Texas (Goodwyn, 9/11).
Los Angeles Times: Skid Row Sweep Finds Many Homeless With Medical, Psychiatric Needs
A joint city-county sweep of skid row last month to provide sanitation and social services identified more than 100 homeless people in need of immediate medical and mental health care, officials said Wednesday. Eighty homeless people received medical attention for scabies, wounds and other conditions during the August operation and 27 were referred to mental health services, City Councilman Jose Huizar said in a statement (Holland, 9/11).
The Associated Press: Ohio: Law Against Lies Is Nullified
The case began in the 2010 congressional race after Steve Driehaus, a congressman at the time, filed a complaint when the Susan B. Anthony List planned to post billboards claiming the Democrat’s support for President Obama’s health care overhaul equated with support for abortion, even though he opposed abortion. Judge Black had said earlier that the anti-abortion group did not have standing to sue, and an appeals court agreed. But the Supreme Court said the challenge should be considered (9/11).
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