News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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California forges ahead on healthcare expansion after Obama win
Los Angeles Times

California officials are plowing ahead with a major healthcare expansion now that the threat of repeal has lifted with the reelection of President Obama.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney had vowed to overturn the federal Affordable Care Act, casting uncertainty over state efforts to implement the coverage expansion for millions of Americans.

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ACA implementation, Medicaid, sequestration issues loom
Modern Healthcare

Reform implementation, Medicaid and sequestration are three key issues facing the healthcare industry in the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election, analysts, consultants and healthcare leaders said Wednesday. In the remaining seven weeks of the year, the president and the 112th Congress have a slew of complicated matters to address, including several pending regulations to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the 2%, across-the-board Medicare cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 2; and the anticipated 27% reimbursement cut in Medicare payments to physicians after Feb. 1.

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Deficit talks may mean big cuts for hospitals: Frist
Modern Healthcare

Looming deficit-reduction negotiations coming soon after Tuesday’s federal elections could result in larger-than-expected cuts to hospitals, some health leaders warned.

Dr. Bill Frist, former Republican Senate Majority Leader, told attendees at a Washington health policy symposium that he expects a so-called grand bargain on deficit reduction within a few months with 2.5-to-1 ratio of spending cuts-to-tax increases. And hospital payments are the likely source of much of the coming federal spending cuts, due to the large share of Medicare and Medicaid spending they receive.

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Healthcare Funding Options for Securing Large Capital
Health Leaders Media

Addressing a litany of government mandates while dealing with a sluggish economy and decreasing patient volumes and reimbursements have created a challenge for CFOs looking to raise large amounts of capital. Only a handful of organizations have the wherewithal to generate enough cash from existing operations, reserves, or endowments, leaving most to weigh the options. Small and large hospitals and health systems are turning to mergers to find financial strength.

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Insurance mandate seen likelier with Obama victory
Modern Healthcare

The healthcare reform mandate that nearly everyone have health insurance would benefit hospitals and is now more likely to take effect after President Barack Obama won re-election, Moody’s Investors Services said in a report.

Moody’s analysts said the mandate was “most at risk” in the campaign and its adoption is expected to increase demand for care from newly insured patients and reduce unpaid bills.

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Healthcare industry leaders react to Obama’s re-election
Modern Healthcare

Modern Healthcare reporters are tracking healthcare leaders’ reaction to President Barack Obama’s re-election and what the election means for the healthcare industry, which finally has certainty that the bulk of the Patient and Protection and Affordable Care Act will be implemented yet little clue how the president and a still-divided Congress will treat healthcare programs in their quest to control federal spending. Modern Healthcare will continue to update this page throughout the week.

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Obama Win With Health Law Buoys Hospitals as Insurers Slip
San Francisco Chronicle

HCA Holdings Inc. and other hospitals will get more paying customers while insurers like UnitedHealth Group Inc. will see profits squeezed as U.S. President Barack Obama moves to preserve the health-care overhaul he championed. Obama’s re-election rallied shares of HCA Holdings Inc., the largest for-profit hospital company, by 9.4 percent today, while Community Health Systems Inc. and Tenet Healthcare Corp. also gained on prospects for millions of newly insured patients being added to their admission rolls.

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Obama Win to Move Sweeping Health Overhaul Ahead in States
San Francisco Chronicle

President Barack Obama’s re-election means his overhaul of the U.S. health-care system, opposed by most Republicans, will move ahead in all 50 states, with or without the cooperation of their governors. State officials who held off implementing some aspects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act now face pressure to make decisions almost immediately.

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Obama’s health care overhaul turns into a sprint
San Francisco Chronicle

Its place assured alongside Medicare and Medicaid, President Barack Obama’s health care law is now in a sprint to the finish line, with just 11 months to go before millions of uninsured people can start signing up for coverage. But there are hurdles in the way. Republican governors, opposed to what they deride as “Obamacare,” will have to decide whether they somehow can join the team. And the administration could stumble under the sheer strain of carrying out the complex legislation, or get tripped up in budget talks with Congress.

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Obama’s re-election clears way for California health reform
Sacramento Business Journal

Re-election of President Barack Obama clears the path for federal health reform in California and nationwide, supporters touted early Wednesday. Challenger Mitt Romney had promised to repeal “Obamacare” within days, if elected. Staff at Covered California — the new name for the California Health Benefit Exchange — have spent more than a year putting policy in place despite political wrangling over the program before and after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld key components of the law.

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The Future of Health Care in Obama’s Second Term
The Health Care Blog

Although members of the Obama team are now celebrating their election victory, the next four years will not be smooth sailing. Ignoring the campaign rhetoric, there is still much more work to be done in order to reshape our health care system; the effect on academic medical centers and teaching hospitals will be significant. The political conscience is still being driven by the fear of the fiscal cliff, which dominates most Washington conversations.

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Obamacare’s doctor depression
Orange County Register

Thanks to Obamacare, America’s corps of doctors appears to have a case of the blues. The Physicians Foundation recently asked more than 13,000 doctors about their morale, their career plans, their practices and their views of the Affordable Care Act. The results were grim. Nearly six in 10 doctors said that they are less positive about the future of health care in America under Obamacare.

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Proposition 33 opponents ready to take on health insurers
Los Angeles Times

The consumer activists that defeated the Proposition 33 auto insurance initiative, despite their small budget, are crowing over their victory and spoiling for a new fight.

This tiime, it’s with the health insurance industry.

Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica is winding up its own initiative on the 2014 ballot to regulate health insurance rates in much the same way the state oversees auto insurance premiums under California’s landmark Proposition 103 law of 1988.

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Study finds exercise adds to life expectancy, even for obese
Los Angeles Times

So, what’s it worth to lace up those sneakers and break a sweat for about 30 minutes a day? About 3.5 extra years of life, on average — and about 4.2 additional years for those willing to step up the intensity or put in closer to an hour a day of brisk walking or its equivalent, according to a new study.

Even for the severely obese — those with a body mass index above 35 — exercising for about 2.5 hours a week at moderate intensity or for 75 minutes at vigorous levels puts average life expectancy a notch above that of a normal-weight person who is sedentary, the research shows.

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Doctors Biased Against Fat People, Too, Study Says
Yahoo! News

Doctors have similar levels of bias against people who are overweight as the general public, a new study says. Additionally, physicians are likely not aware of their own biases, the study showed. “The most striking thing is that physicians are like others in society, and hold negative attitudes about weight,” said study researcher Janice Sabin, an assistant professor at the University of Washington.

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Hospitals Gamble On Urgent Care Clinics To Keep Patients Healthy
capital public radio

When Stephen Wheeler realized he had an aching, swollen finger, he called his primary care doctor, who works for MedStar Health. The doctor referred him to PromptCare, an urgent care clinic in a strip mall in the Baltimore suburbs. Wheeler says he probably would have ended up waiting a long time if he’d gone to the doctor. And even longer at the emergency room. But they are all about speedy service here at the urgent care center; Wheeler got in and out in 15 minutes.

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WellPoint keeps outlook despite profit rise; shares off
Yahoo! News

Health insurer WellPoint Inc reported forecast-beating third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, but investors were disappointed that the company did not raise its guidance and said the higher earnings had a weak underside. Shares of WellPoint, the second-largest U.S. health insurer by market value, slumped more than 5 percent, even as the company’s chief financial officer tried to reassure investors over the outlook for the year.

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Slideshow: ECRI’s Top HIT Hazards
Health Leaders Media

The ECRI Institute’s Top 10 Health Technology Hazards report for 2013 highlights three serious hazards that the ECRI says increasingly threaten both patients and providers. They involve electronic health records, health information technology systems, and personal mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, which can distract healthcare providers.

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California speeds revamp of health insurance market
Los Angeles Times

With President Obama’s reelection lifting a potential roadblock, California officials are rushing to implement the federal healthcare law and revamp the insurance market for millions of Californians starting next fall.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney had vowed to overturn the Affordable Care Act, casting uncertainty over efforts in California to use billions of federal dollars to extend coverage to many of the state’s 7 million uninsured.

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UCSF Hosts 5th Annual Managed Care Pharmacy Roundtable
Synapse - UCSF Student Newspaper

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) hosted the fifth Annual Managed Care Pharmacy Roundtable on Monday, October 29, at the Millberry Union Golden Gate and City Lights Room.

Pharmacy students had the opportunity to meet with representatives of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Students said they learned how these pharmacists made their decisions to work in managed care companies and also learned about the job opportunities and responsibilities.

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WellPoint drops Medicare Advantage in Sonoma County
North Bay Business Journal

WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health insurers and the parent company of Anthem Blue Shield, has withdrawn a Medicare Advantage health plan that enrolled 1,252 persons in Sonoma County, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The centers said it is working to ensure that the affected beneficiaries know they’re losing their Medicare Advantage plan for 2013. People with Medicare in Sonoma County still have seven Medicare Advantage plans to choose from for next year.

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