Nine million children nationwide receive health care coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But many of them could soon be uninsured if Congress doesn’t vote to reauthorize its funding.
Why is this popular children’s health program, created through bipartisan legislation two decades ago, at risk? Here’s a brief history of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and what it means for children and states across the country.
As fire raged in Ventura, Calif., earlier this month, Gracie Hartman made her way to the county fairgrounds to look for her friend, Fernando.
She found him there at the evacuation center, among 69 patients from the Vista del Mar acute psychiatric hospital, one of two such facilities in the county. They had been removed with little time to spare as the hospital was overtaken by flames.
“He was so upset, that he was throwing up,” said Hartman, who spoke on condition that Fernando be identified only by his first name to protect his privacy. “It was a nightmare.”
Overnight, the private hospital’s shutdown wiped out about two-thirds of the psychiatric hospital capacity in Ventura County, population 850,000. That a fire could so quickly devastate a county’s inpatient psychiatric services only underscores how few beds there are — a phenomenon that holds true across California and nationwide.
Despite successfully beating back Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the future of the federal health care law appears uncertain after congressional Democrats were unable to defeat a provision of the GOP tax plan that dismantles the foundation on which Obamacare is built.
Republicans’ $1.5 trillion tax bill scraps the so-called individual mandate in Obamacare that requires most Americans to have insurance or pay a tax penalty. Nearly 778,000 Californian tax filers paid the fine in 2015 – year two of the Affordable Care Act – and paid $377 million in fines, according to IRS data from the latest year available.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said “Obamacare is being repealed.” That’s not technically correct, though some worry that eliminating the requirement that people who don’t get health insurance pay a penalty may weaken Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.
Here are a few things to know about how eliminating the penalty, a change that’s part of the tax bill awaiting Trump’s signature, will affect consumers and the health care system:
While many healthcare industry groups are unhappy about the Republican tax cut bill, primary-care physicians and dentists in independent practices may be smiling.That’s because the bill, which passed Congress Wednesday, sharply reduces the personal income tax rate for owners of pass-through entities such as partnerships, Subchapter S corporations, and sole proprietorships. That’s how most physician and dental practices are organized.Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, owners of pass-through entities will receive a 20% deduction on their taxable income, dropping their maximum effective tax rate from the current 39.6% (or 37% under the bill) to about 29.6%.
Congressional lawmakers voted Wednesday to repeal the federal mandate requiring most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, a decision that could increase the ranks of uninsured Californians by nearly 2 million people and hike premiums for those who remain covered.
Passed as part of the Republican-led $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, the mandate’s elimination will roll back a key component of the Affordable Care Act in 2019 when signed into law by President Trump early next year.
Now that Congress has passed the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax bill, the Senate will soon vote on President Trump’s nomination of former drug company CEO Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. Republicans will be eager to get him confirmed and on the job. Considering Azar’s background, they have good reason to believe he’ll be a reliable ally when they get to work on their next big goal: slashing spending on health care programs, Medicare in particular.
House leaders reached a deal on a plan to avert government shutdown, but it won’t be enough to help states that are running out of money for their Children’s Health Insurance Programs.”There is no way that is enough through March,” said Bruce Lesley of the Washington-based advocacy group First Focus. “This is a disaster for CHIP.”Early Thursday morning, House lawmakers released the plan (PDF) to add just $2.85 billion to CHIP for the first two quarters of next year. It will be included in the short-term spending package to fund the government through Jan.19.But some states have reached a critical point in their programs, and no one is happy about another short-term fix.
American life expectancy at birth declined for the second consecutive year in 2016, fueled by a staggering 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
The United States has not seen two years of declining life expectancy since 1962 and 1963, when influenza caused an inordinate number of deaths. In 1993, there was a one-year drop during the worst of the AIDS epidemic.
Earlier this year, the Gallup organization set out to identify the top concerns everyday Americans have about money. Researchers asked more than a thousand people across the country, “What is the most important financial problem facing your family today?” Their top answer: the cost of health care.
Increases in medical costs have substantially outpaced economic growth for decades. In recent months, ProPublica has shown that it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s been estimated that the U.S. health care system wastes about $765 billion a year — about a quarter of what’s spent. We’ve identified ways that tens of billions of dollars are being wasted, some of them overlooked even by many experts and academics studying this problem.
More Medicare dollars spent on treatment of a heart attack patient doesn’t lead to better health outcomes, according to a new study.
A JAMA study published Wednesday found that mortality rates stayed constant for heart attack patients up to 180 days after discharge even as spending on cardiac procedures and post-acute care rose. But the study did find mortality dropped among patients who received early percutaneous coronary intervention, also known as angioplasty with a stent.
“The assumption to use more resources (to improve health outcomes for heart attack patients) might not be the case, but it might be more important where you spend the money on,” said Donald Likosky, lead author of the study and cardiovascular epidemiologist at the University of Michigan.
For years before her death at age 96, Nancy Lundebjerg’s mother underwent a long, slow decline.
Arthritis made it hard for Margaret Lundebjerg to get around. After two hip surgeries, she needed a walker when she was out and about.
Incontinence was a source of discomfort, as was the need to rely on aides to help her perform daily chores.
Little by little, Margaret became frail and isolated.