This side-by-side chart compares three types of community quality initiatives: 1) Aligning Forces for Quality communities, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2) Beacon Communities, funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and 3) Chartered Value Exchanges, funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Sister Carol Keehan on Health Law Enrollment Challenges this Year
A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Sister Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association of the United States addressing the challenges of quickly enrolling millions of Americans for health insurance this fall. Open season begins October 1 of this year, yet she says that up to 85 percent of those who will be newly eligible for Medicaid or for subsidies to buy private insurance in state-based exchanges don't know it. FULL TRANSCRIPT
Jonathan Blum, acting principal deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), addresses the slower growth of Medicare spending over the last few years, and what his agency is doing to try and continue the trend. “There are promising signs that this strategy to change the payment system, to change the payment models, to focus on waste and abuse, is paying off," he said. "We are taking a whole new approach to addressing fraud in the program. Much more data resources, much more on the ground reaction. We have seen dramatic spending declines in areas of spending, such as home health and durable medical supplies that historically fueled lots of the fraud.” FULL TRANSCRIPT
Updated Toolkit -- The Sustainable Growth Rate: Seeking a ‘Doc Fix’ at the Edge of a Fiscal Cliff
A new Alliance toolkit tells you what you need to know about the current policy debate about the $138 billion Medicare physician payment problem – the "doc fix." The public is keeping a close eye on federal budget deficit reduction efforts this year, including potential automatic spending cuts initially mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Yet one component of the debate has been largely ignored - the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Indeed, because of the SGR, physicians in January 2013 faced a 26.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. Last-minute congressional intervention delayed the cut until January 2014 as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Without intervention, physicians will receive a 25 percent reimbursement cut in January 2014. At the same time, according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, if Congress and the president agree to permanently eliminate the SGR, the deficit will grow by another $ 138 billion over 10 years. The cost of repealing the SGR has fallen significantly since last year, spiking a new interest in permanently fixing the problem.
Illinios Health Law Implementation: Race to the Starting Line
Health care experts recently kicked off a series of briefings for reporters addressing complex issues that states face leading up to major 2014 health law changes. Illinois will have a federal partnership insurance exchange next year, but may take more control after that, Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas said at the first briefing in Chicago. Georgetown University insurance expert Sabrina Corlette, hospital leader David DiLoreto and journalist Bruce Japsen also spoke at the briefing, held Dec. 12 at Columbia College, and sponsored by the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, arguing that recent slower spending growth in health care won’t continue.
"We also saw a slowdown in the mid-90s, and we all declared victory and it came right back. I think next year we’ll see a noticeable uptick. There will be lots of new people entering the insurance markets because of the exchanges and the subsidies that come along with them, and those subsidies are very generous. … These are an invitation for people to get coverage and to buy more health care. I think that’ll place a lot of pressure on spending."