Annie Lowrey and Jonathan Weisman report that with the expansion of insurance coverage, the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that more people will choose not to work, and others will choose to work fewer hours than they might have otherwise to obtain employer-provided insurance. The cumulative reduction of hours is large: the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer full-time positions by 2024, the budget office said.
New Rule Allows Patients to Get Test Results Directly From Labs Without Doctors Clearance, The Washington Post, 2-3-14
Sandhya Somashekhar reports that the rule is part of a broader effort by the administration to give Americans more control over their health care. It supersedes state law and will have particular significance in 13 states that prohibit labs from releasing test results directly to patients.
Health Care Advocate Henry Waxman Retiring, Kaiser Health News, 1/31/14
Mary Agnes Carey writes that Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat who is one of the Medicaid program’s most vocal — and effective — champions, announced Thursday he plans to retire from the House at the end of this year, his 40th on Capitol Hill.
HCV Website Offers Expert Advice, Guidelines on Treatment, NEJM Journal Watch, 1/30/14
Joe Elia offers information about a new website to help clinicians treat the estimated 3 to 4 million Americans with hepatitis C infections.
Obesity Takes Hold Early in Life, Study Finds, The New York Times, 1/30/14
Gina Kolata reports that for many obese adults, the die was cast by the time they were 5-years-old. A major new study of more than 7,000 children has found that a third of children who were overweight in kindergarten were obese by eighth grade. And almost every child who was very obese remained that way.
Hospital Prices More Correlated to Reputation, Market Share, Modern Health Care, 1/29/14
Beth Kutscher reports on a Health Affairs study that reveals that hospitals that charge higher prices for inpatient care do not necessarily rank higher than their lower-priced peers on objective measures of quality. But what they do have is market clout.
Health-Care Law Loses Support Among Uninsured, Poll Shows, The Washington Post, 1/29/14
Sandhya Somashekhar writes that support for the health-care law declined among the uninsured this month, just as many of the program’s key provisions went into effect, according to a new poll examining Americans’ knowledge and views of the Affordable Care Act.
Providers Push for Further Delay of Two Midnight Policy, Modern Health Care, 1/28/14
Jessica Zigmond reports that doctors and hospitals need more time to adjust to a contentious policy, which the CMS made final last August in its rule for 2014 inpatient services. The policy directs Medicare’s contractors to assume hospital admissions are reasonable and necessary for patients who stay in a hospital through two midnights. The policy was meant as a fix for a sharp rise in extended hospital stays billed as outpatient observation, a trend attributed in part to hospitals’ efforts to avoid having their admission decisions challenged by the government’s auditors.
Doctors Abusing Medicare to Face Fines, The New York Times, 1/26/14
Robert Pear reports that the Obama administration is cracking down on doctors who repeatedly overcharge Medicare patients, and for the first time in more than 30 years the government may disclose how much is paid to individual doctors treating Medicare patients.
Pediatric Collaborative Targets Obesity, Asthma, Asheville Citizen Times, 1/25/14
Julie Ball writes about a group of area health care providers that is working to standardize and improve care for children who are obese or at risk of obesity and those suffering from asthma. The WNC Pediatric Care Collaborative includes 18 medical practices in the region along with other organizations. [Note: The WNC Pediatric Care Collaborative was first featured on the Toward Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium and Initiative website. Read that feature here.