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Mentally ill accessing less U.S. health care
Reuters

More than 8 million American adults suffer from serious psychological distress, and they’re less likely to access healthcare services than other people, a U.S. study suggests.

People with serious psychological distress, which includes any mental illness severe enough to require treatment, are three times more likely to be too poor to afford care and 10 times more likely to be unable to pay for medications, the study found.

“Adults with serious psychological distress are more likely to experience delays in healthcare, insufficient money for needed healthcare, change their place of health care, and change their place of healthcare due to insurance,” said lead study author Judith Weissman of New York University Langone Medical Center.

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Severe Shortage Of Home Health Workers Robs Thousands Of Proper Care
Kaiser Health News

Acute shortages of home health aides and nursing assistants are cropping up across the country, threatening care for people with serious disabilities and vulnerable older adults.

In Minnesota and Wisconsin, nursing homes have denied admission to thousands of patients over the past year because they lack essential staff, according to local long-term care associations.

In New York, patients living in rural areas have been injured, soiled themselves and gone without meals because paid caregivers aren’t available, according to testimony provided to the state Assembly’s health committee in February.

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Right-wing Relapse? How The Opioid Fight Is Threatened By Healthcare Reform
Newsweek

It was an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon at Dee’s Place, a warehouse turned community center tucked down an alleyway in blighted east Baltimore, but Deborah Agus was nervous. Perched on one of the metal folding chairs that lined part of the warehouse, she alternated between cautious optimism and anxiety about the future of the opioid treatment programs she runs.

The root of her fears lies about an hour away, in Washington, D.C., where Republicans are pushing a new plan to repeal Obamacare and fundamentally restructure Medicaid, the 50-year-old government health program that covers America’s poor and disabled. Obamacare not only made people in Agus’s program—mostly poor working men—eligible for Medicaid but also helped them access the health care services they need to deal with addiction, as well as the panoply of health issues that often accompany it. “For our program, getting people on Medicaid is key,” says Agus, adding that the Republicans’ plan to dramatically shrink federal Medicaid funding would be “devastating.” She was hopeful, however, that it wouldn’t pass.

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Dems want ObamaCare subsidies funded in exchange for $15B to military
The Hill

An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agreeing to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks.

Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding.

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Changes to GOP ObamaCare repeal flips some conservatives
The Hill

A proposed amendment to the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill appears to be flipping some conservative lawmakers from “no” to “yes.”

Rep. David Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters Tuesday evening that he would likely support the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as long as discussions on what would be in the amendment appear in the legislative text.

“If it shows up in the language the way we discussed it, then yes,” Brat said.

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Pre-Obamacare, Preexisting Conditions Long Vexed States And Insurers
Kaiser Health News

For most of his life, Carl Goulden had near-perfect health. He and his wife, Wanda, say that changed 10 years ago. Carl remembered feeling “a lot of pain in the back, tired, fatigue, yellow eyes — a lot of jaundice.”

“Gray-like skin,” Wanda added. His liver wasn’t working, she explained. “It wasn’t filtering.”

Carl was diagnosed with hepatitis B. He is now 65 and on Medicare, but back then he had a flower shop in Littlestown, Pa., so he had been buying health insurance for his family on the market for small businesses and the self-employed.

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Trump promises decreased premiums as part of healthcare reform
Becker's Hospital Review

President Donald Trump vowed a revised ACA replacement plan will include decreased premiums, reports Politico.

On Monday, the president tweeted the revised plan, if approved, would result in “real healthcare” and “tumbling” premiums.” He added: “ObamaCare is in a death spiral!”

President Trump has long promised to repeal and replace the ACA. However, the GOP’s first proposal, dubbed the American Health Care Act, was pulled from the House floor last month due to lack of support.

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Moderates chafe at Republican healthcare compromise
POLITICO

If the White House manages to resuscitate its flat-lining effort to replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump may owe it to a moderate New Jersey Republican and multimillionaire who only reluctantly backed his candidacy for president. Rep. Tom MacArthur has singlehandedly kept the embers of the failed repeal-and-replace effort burning, huddling with the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus to try to forge a deal.

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Most Americans favor a national healthcare plan according to Economist/YouGov poll
Healthcare IT News

Most U.S. adults favor some kind of national health care plan, according to an Economist/YouGov poll conducted in April 2017.

Six in 10 people are for expanding so-called “Medicare for All,” where the health plan that currently serves older Americans would extend to all U.S. health citizens. Six in 10 people would also favor a federally-funded health insurance system that would cover all Americans – that is, universal health care.

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Overnight Healthcare: Dems eye deal on ObamaCare subsidies for extra military funding
The Hill

An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agreeing to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks.

Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding.

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Covered California insurers move forward on 2018 plans
San Francisco Chronicle

Despite a cloud of uncertainty hanging over federal health care policy, several of the nation’s largest insurers are moving forward with plans to sell insurance on the Covered California exchange in 2018. Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California and Health Net, which collectively cover two-thirds of the 1.3 million Covered California enrollees, intend to continue selling plans on the California exchange, or marketplace, in 2018.

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California Health Care Bill: Big Corporate Money Opposes Single-Payer Proposal
International Business Times

As health care premiums rise and insurers threaten to leave Obamacare’s state exchanges, polls show that a majority of Americans now support the creation of a universal, government-funded health care program. The so-called single-payer system has been a long-sought goal of progressive groups, who now hope that California lawmakers will pass a bill to create such a system. Proponents hope the system could then begin moving the United States to follow Canada, which saw its own national single-payer system first begin in the province of Saskatchewan.

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Physicians ask the CMS to cut Medicare red tape
Modern Healthcare

In response to a request by the CMS to find ways to attract and retain Medicare providers, physicians want less red tape.

Doctors are asking the CMS to better synchronize policies for Medicare Advantage, Medicare fee-for-service and accountable care organizations as a way to reduce their regulatory burden.

The CMS requested the feedback in a 2018 Medicare Advantage rate notice.

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California lawmakers consider dumping health insurers
U.S. News and World Report

California lawmakers are considering an audacious proposal that would substantially remake the state’s health care system by eliminating insurance companies and guaranteeing coverage for everyone.

The idea known as single-payer health care has long been popular on the left. It’s gaining traction with liberals as President Donald Trump struggles with his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The proposal, promoted by the state’s powerful nursing union and two Democratic senators, is a longshot. But the supporters hope the time is right to persuade lawmakers in California, where Democrats have long been willing to push the boundaries of liberal public policy and are now particularly eaaliger to stand up to the Republican president.

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5 Things To Know About The Health Issue That Could Shut Down The Government
Kaiser Health News

Congress must pass a bill this week to keep most of the government running beyond Friday, when a government spending bill runs out. It won’t be easy.

The debate over a new spending bill focuses on an esoteric issue affecting the Affordable Care Act.

The question is whether Congress will pass — and President Donald Trump will sign — a bill that also funds subsidies for lower-income people who purchase health insurance under the law.  These “cost-sharing reductions” (CSR) have become a major bargaining point in the negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, because the spending bill will require at least some Democratic votes to pass.

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Docs will still get paid if government shuts down
Modern Healthcare

Even if the federal government shuts down, doctors will continue to get paid to see Medicare or Medicaid patients. They will however face delays as they register to provide care under the programs.Congress must pass a $1 trillion spending bill by Friday to pay for all agencies of government or trigger a partial shutdown that would start Saturday. The threat of a shutdown was last realized in 2013. But the lack of legislative action since President Donald Trump took office has many wondering if this year might see another shutdown.

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The Fairy Tale of a Non-Profit Hospital
The Health Care Blog

Nonprofit hospitals have higher profit margins than most for-profit hospitals after accounting for their tax obligations. 3900 (62%) of U.S. Hospitals are non-profit and therefore tax-exempt: they pay no property tax, no federal or state income tax, and no sales tax. An article published in Health Affairs found seven of the nation’s 10 most profitable hospitals were of the non-profit variety, each earning more than $163 million from patient care services.

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Stopping cost-sharing subsidies is a money loser for feds
Modern Healthcare

If Congress refuses to appropriate billions to continue the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies, it won’t actually save a dime, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That’s because the ACA requires that insurers limit out-of-pocket spending for individual customers with incomes of less than $29,700, or 250% of the poverty level.

Currently, the federal government is spending $7 billion a year to lower deductibles and co-pays for about 8.4 million customers.

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Anthem profit soars on higher membership growth and premiums
Modern Healthcare

National insurer Anthem’s profit soared in the first quarter thanks to membership growth and higher premiums.The Indianapolis-based insurer, which is locked in a battle to acquire rival Cigna Corp., on Wednesday reported net income of $1.0 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 43.7% over the same time last year.Earlier this week, St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts announced that Anthem will not renew its long-term contract with the PBM after the end of 2019. While the decision is a blow to Express Scripts, it gives Anthem the potential to find a better PBM deal and save move on pharmacy costs.Anthem’s revenue grew 11% to $22.5 billion over the same period a year ago.

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Anthem’s breakup with Express Scripts to prompt greater PBM scrutiny
Modern Healthcare

Anthem’s decision to cut ties with its long-time pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, saying it withheld billions in cost savings, is bound to turn up the heat on PBMs over the soaring cost of prescription drugs.

It also means Anthem is on the hunt for a new PBM in a highly consolidated industry that doesn’t switch partners often. Express Scripts will be left with a gaping hole in its revenue that experts say will be tough to repair.

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North Bay hospital safety scorecards: What do they actually mean?
North Bay Business Journal

In the April 12 release of Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grades, several North Bay hospitals received an A, while others ranked a B or C.

Statewide, nearly half of California hospitals received a grade of C or lower and accounted for six of the 10 hospitals nationwide that received an F (complete list: hospitalsafetygrade.org).

But what do the grades actually mean for hospitals and for patients? Leapfrog says too many patients are dying from preventable errors, and is pushing hospitals to increase their safety measures.

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Kaiser now operating two hospitals in San Diego
San Diego Union-Tribune

Ambulance rides usually come before hospital stays, but that was not the case for more than 100 patients who were loaded one by one onto gurneys and transported to Kaiser Permanente’s new hospital in Kearny Mesa on Tuesday — the facility’s first day of operations.

Trisha Bernal and her newborn son, Malachi, were the first to arrive on the Kaiser San Diego Medical Center maternity floor. They had made their way from Kaiser’s longtime hospital in the Grantville neighborhood — in an ambulance led by a police motorcycle escort.

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TRMC gets late audit
Visialia Times-Delta

Tulare hospital board of directors will consider approving a delayed 2016 fiscal audit completed by Eide Bailly LLC. when they meet for their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday.

The audit was due Dec. 31, 2016, but hospital officials said it was delayed because of a change in auditors.

The board directors are also expected to get financial results for the hospital’s quarter ended March 30 and receive updates on the expansion tower construction and the bond audit.

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Hospital district seeks input as it weighs board structure
Los Altos Town Crier

The El Camino Healthcare District plans to vote to change the structure of its board of directors in the coming months and seeks public input on the process.

The two options, an expanded model and an alternate model, will be discussed at a special district board meeting May 15. Public comment is due by May 3.

Both the expanded and alternate models call for five appointed hospital directors and one hospital CEO.

 

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