KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call’s Emily Ethridge discuss HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s latest testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, which also included updates on steps officials are taking…
One out of every five dollars Medicare spends goes to nursing homes, home health services or other post-acute facilities and services. The spending varies greatly between states: Louisiana spends 31…
Medicare has two payment incentive programs for hospitals that are part of an effort to make them accountable on quality. One gives bonuses and penalties to hospitals based on how well they performed on 24 quality measures. That program is called Value…
The Health and Human Services secretary also said she couldn’t give firm numbers on how many people have enrolled for health insurance using the website because the data are not…
But while Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in her Capitol Hill testimony Tuesday that some website subcontractors hadn’t met expectations, she offered few other details…
Fights over defunding the health law remain at the center of legislative battles eight days into a federal government shutdown and just a week before the nation hits its debt ceiling. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call’s Emily Ethridge discuss the…
The Affordable Care Act lies at the center of a last minute push to fund the government past Sept. 30. Mary Agnes Carey and Politico Pro’s Jennifer Haberkorn discuss how the standoff is likely to be resolved.
>> Listen to audio of this interview…
With implementation of major provisions of the law looming, Republicans see this fall’s budget showdown as their last chance to slow or stop the president’s signature legislation from taking effect. Mary Agnes Carey and Politico Pro’s Jennifer Haberkor…
It came as a surprise to some that the Affordable Care Act seems to allow large employers to offer health insurance that pays for preventive care and not much else. Check…
Kaiser Health News and ABC obtained compensation details for CEOs at dozens of top nonprofit and government-supported hospital systems. Source documents are available as downloadable .ZIP files by clicking hyperlinks…
Mary Agnes Carey talks to Joanna Kerpen, a partner at the law firm McDermott Will & Emery, about the role of the IRS in implementing and enforcing provisions of the health law after recent revelations the agency inappropriately targeted conservativ…
KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico Pro about the Senate’s confirmation Wednesday of Marilyn Tavenner to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and what awaits her.
>> Listen to audio of this interview.
The wide variation in spending to hire and train people to provide consumer assistance in the first year of the new marketplaces could have a major impact on how many people actually get coverage under Obamacare, experts say.
As the health law marks its third anniversary, much of the action surrounding its implementation has shifted to the states.
Hot topics include creation of health exchanges, the on-line marketplaces where consumers will be able to shop for insurance coverage, and the law’s Medicaid expansion, a key mechanism by which the overhaul will extend health care to millions of people who currently lack health insurance.
We checked in with reporters on the ground in Colorado, Florida and Minnesota to find out what they view as the most significant developments to happen in their states since the law’s passage and what future challenges they see ahead.
LYNN HATTER, WFSU: I’m Lynn Hatter from WFSU-FM in Tallahassee, Fla. One of the biggest developments in the past three years has been the state’s rejection of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Florida lawmakers say they don’t want to move forward with that and are now proposing their own plan to submit to the federal government that would cover roughly the same 1 million Floridians who would have otherwise been eligible. A plan should be coming on that within the next week.
One of the biggest challenges the state will face will be how to put it all together. Obviously, Florida is looking to do its own state-run program, and that’s going to come with getting approval from the federal government in order to take the Medicaid expansion money. The state is also looking at how to comply with the law in the area on insurance regulation, and Florida will be deferring to the federal government like premium increases, rate increases and other insurance regulations.
ELIZABETH STAWICKI, MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO: My name is Elizabeth Stawicki, and I’m a health care reform reporter at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul. The most significant issue that’s happened here since the law passed three years ago has been getting our legislation passed to create a state-based health insurance exchange. We’re one of the few states that actually has done this.
This began, though, three years ago. But, because Republicans were in control the first two years of the legislature, they wanted to block the creation of the health insurance exchange, because they were against the Affordable Care Act and thought that either the U.S. Supreme Court would strike it down or there would be a different president in the White House.
But, just this week our Legislature has passed this exchange legislation, and, as I am talking to you in mid-March, we believe that the governor will sign that legislation into law.
The challenges that I foresee in the coming year here again have to do mostly with the insurance exchange. Our state health plans that want to sell on the exchange have only until May 17 to get approval from the state — which doesn’t leave them a whole a lot of time — but that’s necessary in order for the state to begin enrolling Medicaid members and for people to start using the exchange to compare plans on Oct. 1.
ERIC WHITNEY, COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO: I’m Eric Whitney of Colorado Public Radio in Denver. The most significant thing to happen since the passage of the Affordable Care Act here was in 2011 when the state legislature passed a bipartisan health exchange bill that established the health insurance exchange in Colorado. There was a lot of debate over whether that was actually going to work or not, but the fact that it passed allowed the health insurance exchange to get started and go forward.
It did get a handful of Republican votes. The people who did vote for it – the Republican co-sponsors – took a lot of heat from more conservative members of their party. There was some concern over whether they would be ousted and whether Republicans would be able to muster the votes to derail the startup of the exchange in Colorado. The 2012 elections were also significant because that didn’t happen: The Republican supporters of the bill managed to survive their challenges. Also, the fact that the Obama administration kept the White House in 2012 meant that it was very clear that the exchange was going to be established and continue in Colorado.
Right now the most significant challenge for the exchange in Colorado – and I think the most significant thing for health reform going forward in Colorado – is finding an ongoing source of funding for the exchange’s operations. In 2015, state exchanges have to be self-sustaining, so right now the exchange board and the legislature are looking for ways to fund its ongoing operations. There’s been some work on that already – the exchange board has passed an administrative fee – but they have to go to the legislature to try to find some other funding mechanisms. And that debate is just starting up in Colorado, so that’s what I’m going to be watching closely.
For generations, bad behavior by doctors has been explained away as an inevitable product of stress or tacitly accepted by administrators reluctant to take action. But that time-honored tolerance is waning,