The Senate passed an historic immigration reform bill last Thursday. While the House of Representatives still must pass a bill, this legislation could have far-reaching effects on the health of the millions of currently undocumented immigrants in our country.
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, more than one quarter of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 in the United States did not have health insurance. However, since a provision in the health care law was implemented that allows young adults to remain on their parents’ plans through age 25, more than 3.1 million young adults have gained health insurance.
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio (MLR) provision, 77.8 million Americans paid $3.4 billion less in health insurance premiums in 2012 because insurance companies operated more efficiently.
More than 10 years ago, a very close loved one told me that he was HIV positive. As you can imagine, it was shocking and devastating news. Shocking, because I never thought that HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) would touch my life. It is much too common to think that it is something that affects only other people. Devastating, because the first words that popped into my mind were “AIDS,” “INCURABLE,” and “FATAL.” Just like that, in really big letters, heavy, painful, dripping in tears.
Report finds that adding dental therapists to dental practices is cost-effective and good for the community
According to a recent report released by Community Catalyst, dental therapists provide cost-effective, high-quality care, and they enable dental practices to expand the number of people they serve. Placing dental therapists in dental practices is one way to help our vulnerable populations who lack regular access to dental care—people with low-incomes, children, racial and ethnic minorities, older adults, and residents of rural communities—get routine and preventive care.
We’ve said it over and over—expanding Medicaid is not just a good deal for people who gain health insurance coverage, but it’s a good deal financially for states. And now a new report by the Urban Institute, “Medicaid Expansion Under the ACA: How States Analyze the Fiscal and Economic Trade-Offs,” reaches that same conclusion. The study (issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) takes an in-depth look at economic analyses of Medicaid expansion in ten very different states.
The New and Enhanced Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards Will Help Eliminate Disparities in Health and Health Care
This April, the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services released the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act in full swing and growing interest in improving the delivery of care and addressing health care costs, these standards will serve as a critical guide to developing policies and strategies that improve the quality of health care services and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.
Last Week, Covered California, the health insurance marketplace that California is establishing under the Affordable Care Act, released premium rates for 2014 health insurance plans. Before the release, rumors of “rate shock” were swirling, with predictions of much higher insurance premiums filling the headlines. Now that the rates are out, only opponents of the health care law are experiencing shock. Covered California revealed that, for people of all ages, rates in the marketplace will be much lower than anticipated.
According to the Medicare Trustees’ report released last Friday, the Medicare hospital insurance trust fund (which covers the hospital portion of Medicare expenditures), is now fully funded until 2026. That’s two years longer than was estimated in last year’s report, and nine years longer than projections prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act. But what’s more significant than the actual year cited in the report is the encouraging trend in Medicare’s costs that underlies the projection: Health care costs, and Medicare costs in particular, are growing more slowly than in the past. This is encouraging news for Medicare and for the 50 million seniors and people with disabilities who rely on it. If these trends continue, Medicare’s future fiscal challenges become significantly more manageable.
A RAND Corporation Study released this week concludes that states would be smart to expand Medicaid. This is yet another study demonstrating what we have known for a while: The Medicaid expansion is a good deal for states.