Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Special Enrollment Periods; Drug Prices Climb

1) Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Beyond the Basics Series

Special Enrollment Periods
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Webinar Video
Presentation Slide Deck

Many of you are aware that a new special enrollment period (SEP) was announced today for people in states using the federally facilitated Marketplace (FFM) who have to pay the penalty for not having coverage when they file their taxes. The special enrollment period goes from March 15 to April 30, and consumers have to complete enrollment by April 30, 2015. We will update our material and provide more information on this new SEP and additional updates soon.  

Additional resources on Beyond the Basics include: 

Health Care Assister's Guide to Tax Rules
CBPP developed The Health Care Assister’s Guide to Tax Rules to familiarize people who are helping consumers apply for Medicaid, CHIP and premium tax credits with the tax rules that are applied in determining eligibility for these programs.

Key Facts You Need to Know About Health Reform
This collection of key facts explain in-depth topics related to health reform. 

2) The Charts That Drugmakers Don’t Want You to See from AHIP

Drug prices have gone up greatly in 2014. 

3)  Half Of Obamacare Enrollees Must Pay Back Part Of Insurance Subsidies

4) Study: Electronic Health Records Lead To More Patient-Doctor 


5) Enroll America: State of Enrollment report 
 Which messages motivated the uninsured to start the enrollment process.
  • What tools and outreach strategies make consumers more likely to successfully enroll.
  • Why year-round outreach is critical to enrollment success.
  • How tax time is a prime opportunity to encourage enrollment.
  • Where the uninsured rate has already fallen the farthest.
6)   Employers 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

ACA Tax Fix, Enrollment in the States; Hospital Prices Down

An Obamacare fix  Excellent editorial in the Post re Tie between Tax Penalty and Extended Enrollment. Glad it is so positive.  

The Health-Care Enrollment Story Is in the States  Useful article 

Hospital prices always go up. But this year, they went down:  

What Funders Can Do to Advance Payment Reform

This is an outstanding review of the accomplishments. covers several points that I was not aware. Highly recommend it.  (Note: already posted in a number of places)

An Early Look at the Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care in ACOs

Emerging health care models for innovators  

CHART: 3 disease categories contributed to more than 1/3 

of US medical services spending growth from 2000-2010  


Thursday, February 19, 2015

From Coverage to Care

From Coverage to Care

HHS just released this package of materials which is designed to us to educate consumers on how to make best use of their new health insurance coverage. Looks like some useful material.  Please let me know what you think.  

Reducing Health Disparities; Rising Spending

1) RWJF: A New Approach to Eliminating Health Disparities

They do not provide much specifics on what they plan to do.  I suggested they look at the following paper for which I was a co-author

Low-birth-weight rate reduced by the obstetrical access project  California project lowered low birth weight by 33%. An incredibly dramatic result. This project led to major expansions in Medicaid prenatal care program.  One of my most significant accomplishments at CMS. 

 2)  Health Spending is Rising More Sharply Again

Raises important concerns. 

3) The President on ACA Progress 

Obama Announces 11.4 Million People Enroll In Marketplace Plans
Marketplace Website Still Has Many 'Back End' Glitches 

Affecting Insurer

Questions Grow About GOP, Administration Plans 

Should Supreme Court Reject Subsidies

4) How Medicare Was Made

Wish the title included Medicaid.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Taxes and the ACA ++

1) Taxes

a) CBPP: Tara Straw pointed to our new guide to help tax preparers understand the new tax-filing rules related to health reform. Jessica Schubel discussed how states can (and can’t) change the way they implement health reform through waivers.

b) NYT: Tips for Navigating a Changing Tax Landscape

How to handle new forms related to the Affordable Care Act,

thwart identity theft, claim deductions for job searches, and 

other advice.

c) IRS Fact Sheet:  “2014 Tax Changes: Health Care Law Brings Updates to Tax Forms; Other Benefits Renewed” [FS-2015-9]

2)  Supreme Court Case 

Post: Millions at risk of losing coverage as justices take up challenge to Obamacare

This is a key article. Please share widely

3) Key news: Enrollment deadline extended; Coverage Gap

Sun: Health enrollment deadline extended
  Good news for those who started applications. Deadline is 2/28 for them.  Volunteers maybe needed. is also extending the deadline as are some other States.  

4) Death and dying

Atul Gawande on Frontline: Being Mortal

NPR host Diane Rehm emerges as a key force in the right-

to-die debate via @washingtonpost

5) Businesses 

Congressional Research Service:  The Affordable Care Act and Small Business: Economic Issues

Area Development:  “Employers Still Struggling With the Affordable Care Act

6) Data Systems 

Health System Data Center Explore Regional Performance

Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap: The Journey 

to Better Health and Care

Encouraging. Best to see in above link.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Paperless Airplane: Business and Public Officials “United for the Purp...

Paperless Airplane: Business and Public Officials “United for the Purp...: As the new State administration considers transportation priorities for the next four years, business leaders and public officials met rec...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spanish Language Broadcast on ACA; Cost Sharing +

1) Spanish Language Broadcast on ACA +

I appeared on a local Spanish TV/Radio Show sponsored by Montgomery County Government.  “Montgomery Al Dia” During the show I discussed the ACA and Safe Silver Spring. Here is the broadcast and my talking points.

Average cost sharing declines for lower-income enrollees

3) US Hospitals Experienced Substantial Productivity Growth 

During 2002–11

4) High deductibles are keeping people away from care

5)   Save the Children's Insurance

6)    Keep the Medical Device Tax  

7) Conservative Lobbying Group Works To Block Medicaid 

Expansion In GOP-Controlled States