First Edition: September 24, 2014
Today's headlines include reports of the Obama administration announcement that the number of insurers offering health plans in the health law's online marketplaces is going up.
Kaiser Health News: Number Of Marketplace Insurers To Rise 25 Percent, HHS Says
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey reports: “The number of health insurance companies offering plans in the marketplaces this fall will increase by 25 percent, giving consumers more choices for coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Tuesday” (Carey, 9/23).Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Insurance Brokers Key To Kentucky's Obamacare Success
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jenny Gold, working in partnership with NPR, reports: “David Combs has been a health insurance broker in this small city in central Kentucky for more than 15 years. When the Affordable Care Act became law, he read it cover to cover. Then he ‘panicked’ and sold his agency. The mainstay of his business had been selling coverage to small companies. And here was the government, stepping in and offering to sell it online instead. Initially, Combs and his fellow brokers thought they would go the way of travel agents, no longer needed in a do-it-yourself online marketplace. But he started to think about the law in a new way after he learned that brokers could still earn a commission for selling coverage through the exchange. Kentucky built its own health insurance exchange – called Kynect -- and to expand Medicaid (Gold, 9/23). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Win-Win? CVS Joining Forces With Hospitals, Doctors
Kaiser Health News staff writer Shefali Luthra reports: “Neglected to pick up your prescription? Now, there’s a good chance your doctor will know and do something about it, thanks to a slew of new partnerships between CVS Health and various health systems. One of the most recent, which is slated to begin by early next year, will integrate the electronic medical records from MedStar Health’s 10 hospitals and 4,000 doctors – located in Washington, D.C. and Maryland -- with CVS pharmacies as well as the chain’s 900 Minute Clinics located across the country” (Luthra, 9/24). Read the story.
The New York Times: Under Affordable Care Act, 25 Percent Increase In Health Insurers Is Predicted
Consumers in much of the country will have a broader selection of health insurance plans next year, the Obama administration said Tuesday, as it predicted an increase of about 25 percent in the number of insurers that are expected to compete in federal and state marketplaces (Pear, 9/23).
The Associated Press: More Insurers To Offer Health Law Plans Next Year
The Obama administration says consumers in most states will have more insurance options next year under the president’s health care law. The Health and Human Services department on Tuesday reported a net increase of 63 insurers joining the market in 43 states plus Washington, DC. The preliminary figures show 77 insurers entering for the first time, while 14 are dropping out (9/23).
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. States To Get More Insurers Under Affordable Care Act
Most states will have at least one more insurer selling health plans under the Affordable Care Act in the second year of the program's full implementation, the Obama administration said. Some 33 states out of 43 where insurers have filed their intentions for the coming enrollment season are set to have a net increase in plans on offer through the law's online exchanges, including two states that only had one insurer for 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services said (Radnofsky, 9/23).
Politico: Insurers’ Bigger Role Suggests Confidence In Obamacare
The insurance industry believes Obamacare is here to stay no matter who wins control of the Senate this fall. A lot more insurers plan on taking part in Obamacare next year — a 25 percent increase, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced Tuesday. She called it a sign that the administration is “making historic progress” in covering the uninsured (Haberkorn and Norman, 9/23).
The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: A Sleazy Attack Puts Words In The Other Candidate’s Mouth
Our colleagues at FactCheck.org have already done yeoman work in untangling issues involving black lung benefits in the West Virginia race between Rep. Nick Rahall and challenger Evan Jenkins (R). But we don’t want to pass this one up. How often does a candidate literally put words in another candidate’s mouth? (Kessler, 9/24).
The New York Times: To Gather Drug Data, A Health Start-Up Turns To Consumers
For years, Thomas Goetz had been a spirited armchair advocate of the use of digital technology and data to improve health care. At Wired magazine, where he was executive editor, Mr. Goetz assigned and wrote articles on the subject. He organized conferences, lectured and wrote a book in 2010, “The Decision Tree,” which hailed a technology-led path toward personalized health care and better treatment decisions (Lohr, 9/23).
The Wall Street Journal: Health Diagnostic Laboratory CEO Resigns
The chief executive officer of a fast-growing medical laboratory that has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare resigned amid a federal investigation into its payments of blood-sample fees to doctors. Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. CEO Tonya Mallory ceded the reins of the Richmond, Va., company to Joe McConnell, a former Mayo Clinic scientist who co-founded HDL with her five years ago. Ms. Mallory will remain on HDL's board and serve as an adviser to Dr. McConnell, she said in a note to employees (Carreyrou, 9/23).
The Associated Press: Anti-Addiction Groups Call For New FDA Chief
Anti-addiction activists are calling for the Food and Drug Administration's top official to step down, saying the agency's policies have contributed to a national epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. In a letter released Wednesday, more than a dozen groups ask the Obama administration's top health official to replace FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, who has led the agency since 2009. The FDA has been under fire from public health advocates, politicians and law enforcement officials since last October, when it approved a powerful new painkiller called Zohydro against the recommendation of its own medical advisers (9/24).
The Associated Press: Jindal's Ex-Health Secretary Indicted On Perjury
The indictment comes more than a year and a half after the Jindal administration scrapped the 10-year Medicaid claims processing contract with Maryland-based Client Network Services Inc., or CNSI (9/23).
NPR: In This Year Of Ebola, A Montana YMCA Is Its Brother's Keeper
It started with the obvious question: "How can we help?" That's what Chris Siegler wanted to know when Ebola struck Sierra Leone. And the answer to that question shows that it's not only big international groups that can assist Ebola-ravaged countries. Siegler has had a long relationship with the West African nation. He was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the late 1960s with his wife, Jeannie. After the 11-year civil war ended in 2002, the Sieglers went to visit. Chris, who's on the board of the YMCA in Missoula, Montana, came across a YMCA in Freetown, the country's capital (Whitney, 9/24).
The Associated Press: Volunteer Ambulance, EMS Companies Receive Boost
New legislation being signed by Gov. Jack Markell will boost the coffers of Delaware’s volunteer ambulance and emergency medical services companies. One bill to be signed Wednesday establishes a new $10 fee on all motor vehicle violations, with the money going from driver’s wallets to volunteer ambulance companies statewide (9/24).
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