Last night, the Senate voted to approve a bill extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 passed by a 92-8 vote, after the House passed it in a show of overwhelming bipartisanship last month. President Obama is expected to sign this bipartisan legislation into law.
Health care advocates across the nation are celebrating the milestone of nearly 11.7 million Americans gaining health insurance through the second open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, the latest enrollment numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have led some to characterize enrollment of communities of color as “lagging.” What is getting less attention is the new HHS data showing a huge reduction in the disproportionately high rates of uninsured people of color.
After expanding Medicaid, eight states (Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia) are expected to achieve budgetary savings and revenue gains exceeding $1.8 billion by the end of 2015, according to a report published yesterday. And that’s even though these states are fairly early into their Medicaid expansion.
America is on the cusp of becoming a nation with two health care systems. This sharp division is the result of continued resistance to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it does greatest harm to residents where the resistance is greatest.
Two current developments are animating this division: One relates to state decisions about expanding Medicaid, and the other is the potential outcome of the Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell, which was brought by ACA opponents and was argued on March 4.
While finding ways to support employees’ health is a laudable goal, some employers have designed wellness programs that penalize employees for failing to meet certain health outcomes, complete certain medical screenings or questionnaires, or fulfill other requirements under the program. Developments in recent months—including lawsuits against employer-run wellness programs filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—add to concerns that these programs can violate workers’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Twenty-two states have chosen not to extend Medicaid coverage, leaving hundreds of thousands of their residents in the health coverage gap. These people—who do not qualify for Medicaid in their state, but cannot afford private insurance or marketplace coverage—are left without any option for affordable health insurance. Who are they?
Yesterday, President Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell kicked off the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (Network), a network of cross-sector stakeholders focused on quality and costs in the health care system. The network aims to transform our entire health care system—beyond Medicare and Medicaid—from a system that pays for volume to one that pays for quality and value and that actively engages consumers in their own care. More than 2,800 payers, providers, employers, and consumer groups (including Families USA) have registered to participate in the Network.
New research suggests that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is linked to better diagnosis of one of America’s most lethal and costly diseases: diabetes. In a study published last week by Diabetes Care: The Journal of the American Diabetes Association, researchers from the medical testing company Quest Diagnostics and Tulane University found a dramatic increase in the number of Medicaid patients with newly diagnosed diabetes in states that expanded Medicaid.
States that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are seeing major budget savings, according to reports released in the past month. These budget savings coupled with new data linking Medicaid expansion to job growth in the health care sector add to the reasons why the program makes good sense for states.
This week, leaders in Congress released their budget plans for FY 2016. The budget plans put forward by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) (the Senate and House budget chairmen) include massive cuts to the health care safety net and, in that respect, are similar to previous budget proposals advanced by former House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).