Noam N. Levey reports despite years of prodding and pleading by the Obama administration, close to half of the nation’s governors will not take a critical step to implement the president’s healthcare law next year, leaving the job of running new insurance markets for their residents to the federal government.
But what was once viewed as a setback for the Affordable Care Act is increasingly seen as a blessing by consumer advocates, many of whom doubt that officials in some Republican-controlled states are committed to implementing a law they fervently oppose.
Setup for States’ Health Insurance Exchanges is Massive Job with Crucial Deadline, 12-15-12, Washington Post
Sarah Kliff reports the Obama administration this past week gave eight states and the District of Columbia conditional approval to operate health insurance exchanges, the online marketplaces where consumers will use federal subsidies to purchase insurance policies.
The designation recognizes that these states have made enough progress to hit a crucial deadline: launching for open enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013. The exchanges will also need to begin collecting subsidies in January 2014.
Prices Rise as Hospitals Buy Medical Practices, 12-16-12, News & Observer
The Associated Press reports that North Carolina patients are likely to pay more for services ranging from heart tests to routine office visits if their doctors are employed by a hospital, a newspaper investigation has found.
According to an investigation by the Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer of Raleigh, the higher charges are part of a national shift that experts say is raising costs for many patients.
The papers’ investigation shows that hospitals are increasingly buying doctors’ practices, then sending out bills for routine services that are significantly higher than those charged by the formerly independent doctors.
Delay Unlikely for Medical Device Excise Tax Dues to Take Effect Jan. 1, 12-17-12, PhysBizTech
Rene Letourneau reports the White House has clearly indicated no intention of allowing delay of a 2.3 percent medical device tax slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Barack Obama’s message is that device companies will benefit monetarily from an influx of new healthcare consumers through provisions of the ACA.
CCHIT Plans to Develop and Share IT Framework for ACOs, 12-17-12, PhysBizTech
Frank Irving reports that non-profit certification body the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) announced on Dec. 13 that it plans to develop an IT framework for accountable care organizations (ACOs). CCHIT said the framework would identify the health IT infrastructure components necessary for a provider organization to function effectively as an ACO and help identify any gaps that would prevent them from meeting their goals as an ACO.
UNC Healthcare CEO Calls for Single-Payer Health Insurance, 12-18-12, Carolina Journal
Sara Burrows reports UNC Healthcare CEO Dr. Bill Roper educated state legislators Dec. 11 about what he called five “myths” of health care at a Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services meeting held to discuss the future of health care.