Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Insurers Once on the Fence Plan to Join Health Exchanges in ’15 + more

Insurers Once on the Fence Plan to Join Health Exchanges in ’15,

States Consider Using Medicaid To Pay College Health Plan Premiums

Obama Says VA Problems Must Be Faced Amid Calls For FBI Probe

More uninsured hospital patients means higher health care costs for everyone. http://bit.ly/1gxq2pP

Innovations in health delivery are connecting rural doctors with world-renowned specialists, reducing health care costs, extending the reach of health systems, and reducing health disparities. We examine 4 pioneering programs & the impact they’re having on communities http://bit.ly/1t2dDdO

Will Democrat Candidates Avoid Obamacare Topic or Champion It?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hospitals Look to Health Law, Cutting Charity; and lots more

Given its memorial day, there is quite a lot of news being generated. An anti-Obamacare ad is especially sad to see as well as other Republican plans to repeal the ACA.

Hospitals Look to Health Law, Cutting Charity

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

3) Republican anti-ACA strategies 
The anti-Obamacare creepy Uncle Sam is back njour.nl/1nffVX8  A new video from the tea party.  Pretty sad. 

Just in time! RT: @thehill: Will GOP pass ObamaCare replacement? j.mp/1hqlqNc

4) Other news
Wild Health Insurance Rate Hikes May Settle Down, Filings Show nbcnews.to/1tFZcOA

Upcoming webinar to focus on #healthinsurance marketplaces for small businesses. Has your state begun implementation? ow.ly/xbN1T

The New Health Care: Health Care Cost-Sharing Works — Up to a Point nyti.ms/1prNrc6 

Employers can now face up to $36,500 in fines per person dumped onto the health exchange. 

Commonwealth Fund Video: Sharing #healthcare solutions across countries ow.ly/xbOZP This indicates lots of positive things to learn from other countries.

The New Health Care: Health Care Cost-Sharing Works — Up to a Point nyti.ms/1prNrc6

When Hospital Systems Buy Health Insurers nyti.ms/1k7G8kR

Friday, May 23, 2014

Potential Savings from Price Transparency + more

1) IDEA Forum Details Analysis Showing $100B
in Potential Savings from Price Transparency 

An overview of the analysis 

Potential savings from three policy initiatives, including:
  1. Use state all-payer health claims databases (APCDs) to report hospital prices
  2. Require electronic health record systems to provide prices to physicians when ordering diagnostic tests
  3. Require all private health plans to provide personalized out-of-pocket expense information to enrollees
 Full Report: Potential Savings from Price Transparency 

Media coverage of this event

2) Rockefeller Says Racism Plays Role In Health Law Criticism 

3) Health Care Management
To avoid problems and to optimize the consumer experience, a new, more effective management structure is essential for the Affordable Care Act open enrollment in November.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Health Centers at the Launch of the Coverage Expansion - Part 2; Experts wanted; + more

Health Centers at the Launch of the Coverage Expansion

As mentioned previously, I attended the above mentioned Alliance for Health Reform briefing which was excellent.  The above link will take you to their slides, etc.  In an email, they provided the following highlights. These Community Health Centers are in a position to play an important role in ACA.
  •  Eighty-four percent of health center patients earn under 200 percent of the federal poverty level, Melinda Abrams said.

  • Implementation of health information technology by health centers has more than doubled since 2009, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. However, many health center leaders report provider shortages, especially with the anticipated influx of new patients and focus on integrating behavioral health.
  • Health centers may face a funding cliff after the $11 billion mandatory trust fund created by the Affordable Care Act expires in 2015, Michelle Proser stated. This calls into question whether or not there is adequate continued support for health centers and whether or not they have the stability to continue to meet the needs of new patients.
  • Funding for health centers is not only about grants, but payment models, Brooks Miller noted. Total grant income is only 9 percent of the budget at Jordan Valley Health Center, while Medicaid accounts for 60 percent.
  • The evidence suggests that health centers save money by providing good quality primary care to people who otherwise would have difficulty getting it, Leighton Ku said. There are 1.1 million people who would be eligible if the state had expanded Medicaid to the 133% of poverty level. If a state does not expand Medicaid, these 1.1 million people will remain uninsured.
Experts needed
I am looking for contact in the following subject areas:
Pay for Performance
Medicare reimbursement for Kidney Disease
Please contact me at thausner@gmail.com if you know folks with expertise or know persons who may have such contacts.  


Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Evaluations: Let’s Keep Them All In Context  

This blog counters the Rand studyof PCMHs.

From Kaiser Health News

Nevada To Use Federal Exchange For Next Open Enrollment

How The Health Law Played On A Big Day For Primary Elections

The best evidence yet Obamacare competition lowers premiums

It’s crunch time for Obamacare’s broken exchanges 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My award as MCDCC Volunteer of the Year - ACA and Safe Silver Spring Implications

On Saturday, May 10, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee presented me with the Kelsey Cooke Volunteer of the Year Award at their annual Spring Ball.  This post contains the acceptance statement I submitted, the video statement, and photos from the event.  Councilmember Marc Elrich made very moving remarks when he introduced my award.  I was given this award for my work on the ACA and Safe Silver Spring among others and for over 30 years of contributions to the community.  I am deeply moved and humbled by this award.  It means that good deeds are appreciated.  In accepting the award, I said that the ACA is a big deal, there is much more to be done, and that I expect everyone to help.

Video of acceptance statement 


My written detailed acceptance statement

1    1. Name and Award

Tony Hausner, Kelsey Cooke Volunteer of the Year Award

   2.  When and how did you embrace being a Democrat?

I became a Democrat in the early 1960s. as I totally supported the Kennedy/Johnson Great Society programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Headstart.  I felt it critical that our country provide programs to help low income and disadvantaged populations.

I became fully engaged in Democratic politics in the 1980s after we moved to Silver Spring.  First, in 1982, I worked with six Silver Spring schools and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to battle a segregation decision made by the Montgomery County Board of Education.  We filed a successful civil rights case against the School Board and then subsequently elected a new school board. The Blair Magnet was one product of that battle as well as the restoration of numerous boundary changes.

In the late 1980s, I was involved in two complimentary battles.  The first was over development of downtown Silver Spring.  As part of the Silver Spring Takoma Traffic Coalition and the Arts Deco Society, we opposed the plan to build lots of office buildings, an enclosed shopping mall and the destruction of the Silver Theater.  We wanted more residential development and street facing stores. Fortunately that vision prevailed.  As the leader of the Route 29 Coalition, we successfully opposed creating a super highway out of Colesville Road, US29, as we felt an underpass at Four Corners would have been a nightmare.  It would have divided neighborhoods and resulted in more traffic congestion.  Those projects got me fully involved in the 1990  elections in which the voters elected a new County Executive and County Council.

   3.  Why do you think you were chosen for this award?

I believe I was chosen primarily for my work on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).   Much of my career was devoted to health policy.  I spent 26 years working for the U. S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Policy from which I retired in 2006. 

In 2008, I joined Organizing for Action (OFA), President Obama’s grassroots organization, and in 2010 I organized phonebanks for them as we lobbied constituents across the country to support the ACA.   This past year, I have served as OFA Deputy state lead for ACA and organized many enrollment events.  I recruited volunteers and worked with a number of elected officials to support these enrollment plans.  As part of this effort, I worked with many of the connector organizations in the Capital Region that served as enrollment centers.  In the process, I discovered a website that provides the best ACA consumer comparison info.  I shared this information with leading experts and had the site endorsed by the Commonwealth Fund and other leading experts.  My only regret is that more folks did not make use of it.  Another highlight was identifying a fraudulent site masking as the State's site.  I also conducted a number of training sessions for OFA volunteers especially with the Prince George's team.  More info can be seen at 


https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifI helped create Safe Silver Spring six years ago.  We are focused on criminal justice issues but are also concerned with a broad array of related social issues, such as affordable housing and jobs for minority teenagers.   We have successfully advocated for increases in county police officers, school police, and the truancy court program among others.  Last year, we played a significant role in the successful passage of gun safety legislation by the Maryland Assembly.  I helped organize and spoke at a large rally, organized letter writing campaigns, and lobbying efforts among other activities. More information at http://SafeSilverSpring.com

I have been an active board member of the Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club which has sponsored many candidate forums and related events.  As part of this Club,  I twice organized Metro to the polls for the Central Committee and organized several ACA phonebanks. 

   4. What does this award mean to you?

I am greatly humbled by this award which indicates that my commitment to the Democratic Party and to the social values that it stands for is appreciated.  That we want all persons to benefit fully from our society especially low income and disadvantaged.

    5. What is the one thing all Democrats could learn from you?

That hard work on behalf of social causes to help low income and disadvantaged populations will lead to progress and will be valued. 


1) With the award sitting next to Jill Ortman-Fouse
2) and 3) With Councilmember Marc Elrich who introduced me
4) My family: Dan Stromberg, Stephen Ronci, Deena Hausner, Toba hausner, Ariele Hausner Stromberg, myself

Ed Kimmel’s entire flickr album from the ball