FOCUS OF THE WEEK
Florida Budget Cuts Hit Healthcare Workers
Budget cuts mean county health clinics will be unable to fill hundreds of jobs, leaving smaller staffs to serve low-income people in state that declined to expand Medicaid despite pleas from its hospitals and business leaders.
Kaiser Report Predicts Severe Market Disruption if ACA Subsidies Are Lost
A lengthy report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts widespread market disruption if ACA premium subsidies are lost under King vs. Burwell. Adverse selection, insurers exiting markets, and higher rates are just some of the possibilities.
Tax Preparer Says More Than Half Who Got ACA Subsidies Must Repay a Portion
H&R Block, the largest consumer tax preparer, said those who underestimated their 2014 income must repay an average of $530. Those who failed to get coverage at all must pay an average penalty of $172.
Study Suggests Lung Cancer Screening Criteria May Not Capture All Smokers Who Need It
A study published today in JAMA suggests that former long-term smokers who have quit for more than 15 years would benefit from access to the lung cancer screening recently approved for coverage by Medicare; however, these smokers no longer meet the criteria.
At Winter Meeting, Governors Admit No “Plan B” if ACA Subsidies Fall
Governors in states without their own exchanges admit they have no fallback option if the Supreme Court takes away subsidies from an estimated 8 million consumers.
Dietary Panel Releases Report; Cholesterol Removed From List of Nutrients to Avoid
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee met for more than a year to review scientific evidence and discuss "patterns" of food consumption, and those discussions are reflected in the report. After a 45-day comment period and public hearing, the US Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services will issue the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the nation's official nutrition policy.
Obesity Among Children and Teens Demands Stronger Response, Lancet Authors Find
The article was part of a Lancet series which took aim at the "unacceptably slow" response to rising rates of childhood obesity, and the effects not only on health but also on its social and economic effects on children. Authors called on nations to rein in marketing aimed at children.
Early Figures Put Final 2015 ACA Enrollment at 11.4 Million
Last night's announcement came in a video release featuring President Obama and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. The president cited the Affordable Care Act's reach into previously underserved markets and the increased level of consumer choice in 2015; increased competition as the law goes forward will drive down premiums over time, he said.
Iowa Seeks Formal Bids for Medicaid Managed Care
Iowa's timetable calls for receiving bids by May 8, 2015, and signing a contract by August 28, 2015. Officials want the program up and running January 1, 2016, because they seek $51 million in savings in the first 6 months.
Facing Higher Penalties, Uninsured Crowd Enrollment Centers Right Up to Deadline
Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act lacked the chaos and drama of 2014, thanks to improvements in HealthCare.gov. But there is still plenty of uncertainty ahead, as the fate of financial supports rests with the US Supreme Court.