Florida’s Largest Health Insurer Is Raising Exchange Rates An Average Of 17.6 Percent

Kaiser Health News, August 1, 2014
by Phil Galewitz

Florida Blue, the state’s largest health insurer, is increasing premiums by an average of 17.6 percent for its Affordable Care Act exchange plans next year, company officials say. The nonprofit…

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Study Estimates 10 Million Americans Gained Health Coverage

Kaiser Health News, July 24, 2014
by Phil Galewitz

About 10.3 million Americans gained health coverage this year, primarily as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study by the federal government and Harvard University, published Wednesday in…

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Federal Health Exchange Stays Busy After Open Enrollment Ends

NPR, July 23, 2014
by Charles Ornstein

For months, journalists and politicians fixated on the number of people signing up for health insurance through the federal exchange created as part of the Affordable Care Act. It turned…

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BREAKING — D.C. Circuit strikes down tax credits in federal exchanges

Washington Post, July 22, 2014
by Jonathan H. Adler

This morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released its much awaited opinion in Halbig v. Burwell.  In a 2-1 opinion, the Court held that the Internal Revenue…

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Arkansas Weighs Plan To Make Some Medicaid Enrollees Fund Savings Accounts

Kaiser Health News, July 22, 2014
by Michele Andrews

If all goes according to plan, next year many Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries will be required to make monthly contributions to so-called Health Independence Accounts. Those that don't may have to…

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D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies:

Washington Times, July 22, 2014
by Tom Howell Jr., quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

[...] To redress the potentially fatal blow to its signature law, the administration will likely seek an “en banc” hearing on the case by all the judges in the D.C. Circuit. That…

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D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies:

Washington Times, July 22, 2014
by Tom Howell Jr., quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

[...] To redress the potentially fatal blow to its signature law, the administration will likely seek an “en banc” hearing on the case by all the judges in the D.C. Circuit. That…

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Big Data Peeps At Your Medical Records To Find Drug Problems

NPR, July 21, 2014
by Nell GreenfieldBoyce

No one likes it when a new drug in people's medicine cabinets turns out to have problems — just remember the Vioxx debacle a decade ago, when the painkiller was…

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Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails

NPR, July 16, 2014
by Alan Greenblatt

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday. Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed…

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After Hobby Lobby, ACA exceptions may become the rule

Reuters, July 15, 2014
by Interview with Holly Fernandez Lynch (Executive Director)

Holly Fernandez Lynch analyzes the impact of the Supreme Court's recent decision, saying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed by Congress, will shape the impact as much as the…

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Dozens Of Religious Groups Refuse To Sign Contraceptive Opt-Out

Kaiser Health News, July 14, 2014

The two-page form, designed to accommodate religious beliefs, is regarded as an untenable compromise by some religious employers, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, GOP governors see little fallout from…

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Race Is On to Profit From Rise of Urgent Care

New York Times, July 9, 2014
by Julie Cresswell

[...] But what is happening here is also playing out across the nation, as private equity investment firms, sensing opportunity, invest billions in urgent care and related businesses. Since 2008, these investors…

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Conflicting Views Of Supreme Court’s Contraception Decision Cloud Other Cases

Kaiser Health News, July 8, 2014
by Julie Rovner

The Supreme Court’s decision last week that some for-profit corporations don’t have to comply with the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act may have raised more questions than…

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Complaint Says Insurance Plans Discriminate Against HIV Patients

NPR, July 8, 2014
by Michelle Andrews

Four Florida insurers allegedly discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS by structuring their prescription drug benefits so that patients are discouraged from enrolling, according to a complaint filed by health advocacy…

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Some Insurance Companies Ask Their Customers to Cross the Border for Care:

New Republic, July 7, 2014
by Adam Teicholz and I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director) and

Faculty Director I. Glenn Cohen has co-authored a new piece in New Republic on the practice adopted by some insurance companies of sending clients across the border for less expensive care. From…

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Florida Shifts Medicaid Mental Health Strategy

Kaiser Health News, July 7, 2014
by Phil Galewitz

Seeking to improve care and lower costs, Florida this month became the first state to offer a Medicaid health plan designed exclusively for people with serious mental illnesses, such as…

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When Religious Freedom Clashes with Access to Care:

NEJM, July 2, 2014
by I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director), Holly Fernandez Lynch (Executive Director), Gregory Curfman

At the tail end of this year's Supreme Court term, religious freedom came into sharp conflict with the government's interest in providing affordable access to health care. In a consolidated…

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Hobby Lobby stunner:

Washington Times, June 30, 2014
by Tom Howell Jr., quoting Holly Fernandez Lynch (Executive Director)

[...] Holly Lynch, a health and ethics expert at Harvard Law School, said she was “not surprised in the least that contraceptives in particular were not covered directly in the…

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Silent kidney epidemic ravages Central America sugar belt:

Al Jazeera America, June 22, 2014
by Tim Gaynor

[...] The five men in Zapata's family are among tens of thousands cut down by a new form of chronic kidney disease striking like a scythe across the sweltering plains…

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Survey: Most Buying On Insurance Exchanges Were Uninsured

Kaiser Health News, June 19, 2014
by Julie Appleby

Nearly six in 10 Americans who bought insurance for this year through the health law’s online marketplaces were previously uninsured—most for at least two years, according to a new survey that looks…

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Contraceptive Coverage Case Decison Still Pending

Kaiser Health News, June 16, 2014

The decision on the legal challenge to the health law's birth control mandate will be issued by the end of this month. Also yet to be released is the Supreme Court's opinion on abortion opponents' free-speech challenge to a Massachusetts…

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Patrick airs $20m plan to combat opioid use:

Boston Globe, June 10, 2014
by Brian MacQuarrie

Governor Deval Patrick unveiled plans Tuesday to upgrade treatment for opioid addicts, expand insurance coverage, and coordinate with the other five New England governors to stem an epidemic that has…

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Under Health Law, States Serve As Testing Grounds For Innovation

Kaiser Health News, June 9, 2014

Media outlets report on a range of issues related to the measure's implementation, including how some states are finding opportunities in the overhaul to pursue their own health system changes. Also in the news, the…

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Why the New Obamacare Website Is Going to Work This Time

Wired, June 5, 2014
by Stephen Levy

The drama of the HealthCare.gov Ad Hoc team is now a modern tech fable: a small cadre of young geeks from Silicon Valley and President Obama’s election campaign parachute into…

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Data discrepancies found in roughly one in four applications for Obamacare

PBS News Hour, June 4, 2014
by Jaywon Choe

Roughly a quarter of Americans who signed up for private health insurance under President Obama’s health care law has inconsistent data in their applications, which could lead to them potentially…

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Medicare can now cover transgender surgery:

Al Jazeera America, May 30, 2014

Medicare can no longer automatically deny coverage requests for sex reassignment surgeries, a federal board ruled Friday in a groundbreaking decision that recognizes the procedures are medically necessary for people who…

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Rape Victims May Have To Pay For Some Medical Services

Kaiser Health News, June 3, 2014
by Michelle Andrews

The effects of a sexual assault can be long-lasting, but the medical bills shouldn’t be. Yet a new study finds that despite federal efforts to lift that burden from rape…

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I.R.S. Bars Employers From Dumping Workers Into Health Exchanges

New York Times, May 25, 2014
by Robert Pear

WASHINGTON — Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to…

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Hospitals Look to Health Law, Cutting Charity

New York Times, May 25, 2014
by Abby Goodnough

Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower- and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the…

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GOP Strategy To Run Against Health Law Hits Snags

NPR, May 22, 2014
by Julie Rovner

Last year, the Republican playbook for keeping control of the House of Representatives in 2014 and winning the Senate consisted of a fairly simple strategy: Run against Obamacare. But now…

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Patients Lose When Doctors Can’t Do Good Physical Exams

Kaiser Health News, May 20, 2014
by Sandra G. Boodman

Doctors at a Northern California hospital, concerned that a 40-year-old woman with sky-high blood pressure and confusion might have a blood clot, order a CT scan of her lungs. To…

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Study: Limited Competition Raised Obamacare Prices

Kaiser Health News, May 19, 2014
by Jay Hancock

Many insurers only dipped a toe into the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces for their first year. Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurers, offered 2014 plans to individuals in fewer…

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Missouri Backs Criminal Checks for Health Insurance Advisers

Boston Globe, May 16, 2014
by David A. Lieb

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Despite a federal court order against their current law, Missouri legislators voted Thursday to toughen requirements even further for people seeking to work as insurance…

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Advocating Pill, U.S. Signals Shift to Prevent AIDS

New York Times, May 14, 2014
by Donald G. McNeil Jr.

Federal health officials recommended Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that…

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Mortality Drop Seen to Follow ’06 Health Law

New York Times, May 5, 2014
by Sabrina Tavernise

BOSTON — The death rate in Massachusetts dropped significantly after it adopted mandatory health care coverage in 2006, a study released Monday found, offering evidence that the country’s first experiment…

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Telemedicine Policy Draws Opposition From Patient Advocates, Health Care Providers

Kaiser Health News, May 2, 2014
by Lisa Gillespie

New guidelines issued by the Federation of State Medical Boards could have a chilling effect on the growth of telemedicine – especially in rural areas and among low-income patients, say some patient…

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Newly Released Data Highlight Last-Minute Sign-Up Surge

Kaiser Health News, May 2, 2014

The Obama administration's final report on insurance enrollment under the health law offered the most complete picture so far regarding who signed up, the degree of state-by-state variation and what impact these numbers…

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Envisioning the End of Employer-Provided Health Plans

New York Times, May 1, 2014
by Neil Irwin

The days of Americans getting health insurance through their employers may be numbered — and the change could be just as profound as the shift of employers forcing employees to…

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Some Obamacare Enrollees Emboldened To Leave Jobs, Start Businesses

Kaiser Health News, April 29, 2014
by Stephanie O'Neill

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday, as a district manager for a…

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With Medical Debt Rising, Some Doctors Push For Payment Upfront

NPR, April 25, 2014
by Jenny Gold

[...] Between 2008 and 2012, multispecialty practices saw their bad debt go up 14 percent, according to a survey by the Medical Group Management Association, a trade organization for doctor practices.…

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Health Plans Scramble To Calculate 2015 Rates

Kaiser Health News, April 28, 2014
by Jay Hancock

With the results sure to affect politics as well as pocketbooks, health insurers are already preparing to raise rates next year for plans issued under the Affordable Care Act. But…

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Low T Business Is Booming, Despite Questions About Risks

Kaiser Health News, April 28, 2014
by Sarah Varney

It is perhaps the biggest men's health craze since Rogaine or Viagra: so-called low testosterone clinics, which have rapidly grown in cities and suburbs all across the country. But these "low…

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Accountability in the ACO Structure:

Risk & Insurance, April 2014
by Katie Siegel

[...] As physician employers, ACOs “will need professional liability coverage for the errors of its professional care providers,” said Derek Jones, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman. In fact,…

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Looking at Costs and Risks, Many Skip Health Insurance

New York Times, April 21, 2014
by Abby Goodnough

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Steve Huber, an affable salesman who is still paying off an unexpected medical bill, was not among the millions of Americans who signed up for health insurance…

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Health Care Spending’s Recent Surge Stirs Unease

New York Times, April 18, 2014
by Anne Lowrey

WASHINGTON — It’s back. For years, because of structural changes in the health care delivery system and the deep economic downturn, the health care “cost curve” — as economists and…

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Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target for Health Care Act

New York Times, April 17, 2014
by Mark Landler and Michael D. Shear

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient…

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Abortion Coverage Details Hard To Find On Marketplace Plans

Kaiser Health News, April 15, 2014
by Michelle Andrews

When it comes to coverage of abortion services in plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are in complete agreement on one thing: Coverage…

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Doctors Shun Insurance, Offering Care for Cash

New York Times, April 10, 2014
by Alexa Ura

LAREDO, Tex. — For 12 hours a day, the waiting room at Dr. Gustavo Villarreal’s family practice is packed with patients who pay a flat $50 fee for the convenience…

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WHO Calls For High-Priced Drugs For Millions With Hepatitis C

NPR, April 9, 2014
by Richard Knox

Authors of the first-ever global guidelines for treating hepatitis C went big Tuesday, advocating for worldwide use of two of the most expensive specialty drugs in the world. The new guidelines from…

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