News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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High Court rules in favor of federal health care reform
Capitol Weekly

In California, the U.S. Supreme Court’s surprise ruling upholding the federal health care reform law means that perhaps four million people currently without health insurance will be able to obtain coverage after the law fully kicks in during 2014. The operations of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange, the first in the nation created to implement federal health care reform, will go forward as a central marketplace for coverage, in which people can shop online for policies at competitive prices.

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Supreme Court Lets Health Law Largely Stand
New York Times

The Supreme Court on Thursday left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation powers to push people to buy health insurance.

The decision was a victory for President Obama and Congressional Democrats, affirming the central legislative pillar of Mr. Obama’s presidency. The ruling upheld the individual mandate requiring nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

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AHA: Leapfrog ‘Manipulated’ Data Related to Safety Scores
Health Leaders Media

Patients should not use The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Score, which gives hospitals an A to F letter grade based on their likelihood of causing harm, because it’s inaccurate, the American Hospital Association said this week. The scoring applies a 26-measure questionnaire that is biased, uses unreliable measures, applies variable weights to the same measures for different groups of hospitals, and contains significant errors, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in a five-page letter to Leah Binder, Leapfrog President and CEO.

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CalPERS considers revamping health plans to lower its medical tab
Los Angeles Times

California’s biggest healthcare buyer isn’t happy about its $7-billion annual medical bill climbing almost 10% next year, and the state’s big insurers may be feeling the heat. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is preparing to rebid its health insurance business this fall for 1.3 million members, and two of its current plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California, are likely to face intense competition as the giant pension fund considers its options.

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Social media should be part of insurers’ DNA
FierceHealthPayer

One of the best ways payers can drive down healthcare costs and keep the population healthy is to use online and mobile platforms that borrow tactics from social media and gaming, reported FierceHealthIT. Social media and other platforms must be part of an organization’s DNA to succeed, said Bryce Willians, director of health and wellness at Blue Shield of California.

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Kaiser announces $1 million in grants in Sacramento area
Sacramento Bee

Helping to plug health care safety net gaps left by hefty government budget cuts, Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday announced more than $1 million in grants to 41 Sacramento region nonprofit organizations.

The purpose of the grants is threefold, Kaiser officials said – to improve health care access, to support healthy eating and active living initiatives, and to prevent family and community violence.

In addition, Kaiser Permanente retains its nonprofit status in part through grant-making in the community.

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Supreme Court decision on national health reform law keeps California programs intact
The Mercury News

Many California consumers were thrilled with the U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday to uphold the national health reform law because it preserves important consumer protections and programs the state set up under the law, but a doctor’s group cautioned that at least one problem lies ahead.

“This is a victory for consumers and especially for California,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer group. “No state in the nation had more at stake.

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Supreme Court upholds health care law
San Francisco Chronicle

In a divided but stunning decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld virtually all of the far-reaching law crafted by President Obama to extend health coverage to most uninsured Americans.

Despite widespread predictions after oral arguments in April that the court would overturn a central provision – that the uninsured buy private coverage or pay a penalty on their tax bills – the justices ruled 5-4 that the individual mandate was within Congress’ constitutional authority to levy taxes.

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Supreme Court upholds health care reform law
San Jose Business Journal

A split decision of the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the sweeping health care reform law.

The court said that Congress acted within its power to levy taxes when it voted to require all Americans to buy insurance.

The individual mandate is widely unpopular, according to a number of opinion polls, and is now likely to be the focus of fall political campaigns. But other parts of the law, such as requiring insurance of people with pre-existing medical conditions is generally popular.

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Supreme Court, 5-4, upholds most of health care overhaul
Orange County Register

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld virtually all of President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that nearly every American have health insurance.

The 5-4 decision meant the huge overhaul, still taking effect, could proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

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U.S. Supreme Court OKs health care mandate
San Francisco Business Times

The U.S. Supreme Court  upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s landmark health reform law Thursday morning, including the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health coverage or pay a fine.

The court ruled, by a 5-4 margin, that Congress acted within its Constitutional power to levy taxes when it included the mandate in the ACA, as a mechanism to ensure that insurers had a mix of healthy and sick enrollees when the full force of the reforms take effect in January 2014.

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Supreme Court’s health care decision
USA Today

The Supreme Court has decided to uphold the health care mandate, not through the commerce clause, but as a tax.

What do you think of this decision? Join a video panel discussion here (shown in the video player below) about the decision at 3 p.m. ET Thursday, led by USA TODAY Opinion.

We will provide information and analysis to put this decision in perspective for you. What will it mean to the future of health care? How will it directly affect you? We’ll try to answer those questions and more

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Retirement Planner: Some health insurance policies can make you sick with worry
The Mercury News

The sign on the cement truck’s barrel that says “Find a need and fill it” reminds me of a new business arising out of the dysfunctional health insurance/medical services industry. It’s the art of determining what bills are correct and knowing when better deals can be negotiated. Working the system, avoiding overcharges and learning how to shop for the most cost-effective services is something the average layman is simply not equipped to do — especially when they’re sick. Therefore, a cottage industry of consultants or patient advocates is starting to form to meet that need.

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Gilead seeks FDA approval of HIV-fighting drug
San Francisco Business Times

Gilead Sciences Inc. is looking to add to its HIV-fighting arsenal, seeking approval Wednesday for one of the four ingredients in its once-a-day Quad pill. Foster City-based Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD) filed a new drug application Wednesday with the Food and Drug Administration to market elvitegravir to people with the AIDS virus who have used other treatments.

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Finally, Quality We Really Care About
The Health Care Blog

Patient-centered care and patient engagement have become central to the vision of a high value health delivery system. The delivery system is evolving from a fee-for-service transactional payment model to a value-based purchasing model using outcome data and quality improvement and attainment. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and private payers have spurred delivery redesign of networks that focuses on a set of clinical quality measures and patient care experiences along with efficiency measures.

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Want to Revolutionize Healthcare? Enable Physicians, Don’t Replace Them
The Health Care Blog

The reality of today’s funding environment for digital health entrepreneurs is that it’s traditional tech investors who have the lion’s share of the money, while most long-time healthcare investors are on the ropes, contending with fleeing LPs and at least the perception of disappointing returns. While it’s great news that some tech funds seem interested in dipping their toes into the healthcare space, it’s concerning that the investors with the most resources are not necessarily the ones who understand healthcare the best.

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Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Act
KQED Radio

The decision holds some good news for the state, although there are those that say – especially in the immediate wake of another painful budget process – it’s going to mean too much spending, with not enough gained. California Healthline lays out the nitty gritty in this article. But here’s a quick overview from the piece. On the positive side, some predict it would create 100,000 jobs in the Golden State and others point out that California has long been in the lead in enacting many of the reforms, so we’re already well on our way.

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Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act
The Health Care Blog

Defying predictions that the Obama administration would suffer a landmark political defeat, the US Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act this morning. The implications for healthcare for the 2012 election are obviously nothing less than staggering. An official reaction from the Obama administration is expected shortly. The Romney campaign is expected to hold a press conference at 12 EST.

What will the landmark legislation mean for the healthcare industry?What are the implications for the Presidential race?  For heath IT companies?

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