What’s New in Health Care Reform: Sept. 9


What's New in Health Care Reform provides an overview of the past week’s news, updates, and commentary in health care reform and utilization management.

Most Americans View Access to Health Care as a Moral Issue

An overwhelming majority of Americans believes that access to health care is a moral issue, and that the United States should be able to afford universal health care if other developed nations can do the same. But after that, Americans are still deeply divided over many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more than five years after President Barack Obama signed the controversial health-reform legislation into law, a new HealthDay/Harris Poll found. Via U.S. News & World Report.

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Hospitals Test Paying Doctors for Performance, But Get Mixed Results

One of the biggest challenges in American health care is how to get physicians to improve the quality of their work and save more lives in the process. It was one of the promises of the 2010 health care reform law: reducing costs while improving patients' quality of care. It would be a win for patients, who would pay for better results and get more value out of each trip to the doctor. The Affordable Care Act requires hospitals to make changes that help achieve those goals, but there are several expert theories on how best to go about it. Some started charging patients per week or month, rather than per service, while others charged per illness or surgery. Others gave physicians bonuses when they conducted enough cancer screenings or performed surgeries with fewer complications, all in the hopes of delivering better care and lowering costs. Via U.S. News. 

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Physician Leaders Accept Health Care Reform but Wary About Future

Last week, in collaboration with the American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL), the Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis released findings of a new survey of more than 2,300 physicians who serve in leadership roles in hospitals, medical groups, post-acute facilities, health plans and employer settings. According to the survey, physicians in leadership roles believe the shift from volume to value based payments will not compromise quality of care for patients. They believe the transition is here to stay. Via MedCity News.

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Health Care 2015: Why Millennials Avoid Seeing Doctors And What This Means For Rising Healthcare Costs

Millennials, the generation between the ages of 18 and 34, do not visit doctors the way other age groups typically do, a growing body of evidence shows. Not only do they forgo healthcare in favor of other priorities, when they do need medical attention, they turn to Google and WebMD before visiting actual doctors, whom they are less like to visit repeatedly or regularly. These habits, doctors and public health experts say, could not only jeopardize young people’s health but also potentially increase healthcare costs over the long run. Via International Business Times.

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National Survey Reveals More Consumers Using Alternative Sources for Health Insurance Coverage

Valence Health, a leading provider of clinical integration, population health, and value-based care solutions and services, has released new research underscoring the impact recent industry reform has had on increasing consumer choice for health insurance and encouraging individuals to assume greater ownership of their health care. First conducted in 2013, the company’s 2015 “U.S. Attitudes Toward Health Insurance and Health Care Reform” study found that Americans are spending more time evaluating their insurance options, and are securing coverage from sources other than their employer. This is despite widespread consumer unfamiliarity with non-traditional health plan options, including provider-sponsored health plans (PSHPs). Survey data also reveals that consumers consider a health plan’s cost the most important factor when selecting coverage. Via Business Wire.

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Obamacare: 5 Reasons Its Supporters Are Claiming Victory

Ever since it was first proposed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been the subject of fierce debate. Yet lost in the tussles about the ins and outs of the program and how it works has been the stated initial purpose of Obamacare: to provide universal health care coverage options for as many Americans as possible. The results of a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics have drawn attention back toward that fundamental goal of health care reform, and the conclusions it draws from early trends show that Obamacare has helped the U.S. make substantial progress toward more inclusive healthcare coverage for all. Via The Motley Fool.

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Health Care Reform: A Right Way and a Wrong Way

It’s clear the GOP has stalled in its drive to repeal and replace Obamacare. In fact, it’s beginning to look unlikely this objective will ever be achieved – at least not the way the voters who returned Republicans to power in Congress over the last several elections wanted. The idea of “ripping it out by its roots,” as more than one congressional candidate on the stump promised, has been overtaken by political reality. With 60 votes needed to do almost anything in the Senate and President Obama waiting at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to veto a bill that undoes his signature achievement, the bar for full repeal is at the moment just too high. Via The Hill.

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3 Charts That Predict A Huge Potential Problem for Obamacare

Obamacare has faced multiple serious challenges. Pivotal Supreme Court decisions. Dozens of congressional votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. National elections that could have doomed the healthcare legislation. A disastrous launch of the federal health insurance exchange. Despite it all, Obamacare is still here. Proponents say it's here to stay. It's quite possible, though, that one area where health care reform has seemed to achieve success could be one of the biggest potential problems of all. Via The Motley Fool.

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Congress Mulling Mental Health Reform Bills

Could 2015 be the year for major mental health reform legislation? Mental health provider groups and advocates certainly seem to hope so. Legislators in both houses of Congress -- and from both sides of the aisle -- have introduced two similar pieces of mental healthcare reform legislation that would, among other things, improve access to care for mental health patients on Medicaid and clarify what personal health information mental health providers may disclose under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Via MedPage Today.

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Business Group Lobbies Against Health Care Out-Of-Pocket Rule Change

An employer coalition is asking federal regulators to withdraw, or at least delay, a new health care reform law rule that places limits on how much in out-of-pocket expenses employers with high-deductible plans can require employees to pay. Under that guidance, issued earlier this year by the U.S. Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments, the maximum out-of-pocket expenses employees can be required to pay before health plan coverage kicks in will be $6,850 for single coverage and $13,700 for family coverage, when the rules take effect in 2016. Via Business Insurance.

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Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.

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