Health Care Waiting Room

Brown, California Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal After Compromises

California Healthline on June 17, 2015 at 10:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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On Tuesday, California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced a $115.4 billion budget deal with several health care implications, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (Mason, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/16).

The deal comes after the California Legislature on Monday passed its budget plan (AB 93) hours ahead of the deadline to do so.

The initial $117.5 billion general fund plan assumed that the state would get about $2.3 billion more in revenue than estimated in Brown's revised version of the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget plan, which was released in May (California Healthline, 6/16).

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ACA Changes Provide Big Opportunities for Small Businesses

Samantha Beasley, Senior Manager of Health Care Policy, L.A. Area Chamber on June 3, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm in Health Care Waiting Room 
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Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), all health plans must now have 10 essential benefits, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health treatments. Any health plans that do not meet all 10 requirements were to be canceled at the end of 2014, but Gov. Brown signed SB 1446 last July, giving California’s businesses with fewer than 50 employees an extra year to obtain ACA-compliant health coverage. If the eligible businesses' sponsored health plans still do not meet the law's requirements at the end of this year, such plans will be canceled. cancelled

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L.A. Area Chamber Health Care Team Gears Up for ACCESS Sacramento, May 19-20

Samantha Beasley, Senior Public Policy Manager, L.A. Area Chamber on May 6, 2015 at 5:00:00 pm in Health Care Waiting Room 
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Since last December, the L.A. Area Chamber’s Health Care Council has been closely monitoring the health care legislation under discussion in Sacramento. From insuring the undocumented, increasing Medi-Cal rates, updating charity care requirements, transparency in the creation of specialty drugs and allowances for nurse practitioners, we’ve seen quite an active start to the 2015 legislative session.

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Legislature's Turn to Consider Open Data

George Lauer, California Healthline on April 24, 2015 at 12:00:00 pm in Health Care Waiting Room 
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Last month, the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) embraced the open data movement in health care with a decision to make more data available to the public online. Now it's the Legislature's turn.

California lawmakers are considering four bills designed to make more state data accessible online. The bills are not aimed directly at health care or medical applications but could have a significant effect on how health data is disseminated and shared in California.

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Health Insurance Tax Penalty: What you could pay if you don't get covered

Presented by: Health Law Guide for Business Team on April 8, 2015 at 10:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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For the first time when filing their taxes, people are facing a penalty if they do not have health insurance. Known as the “shared responsibility payment,” this can amount to 1 percent of a household’s 2014 income, or $95 per adult and $47 per child, whichever is higher. Many people are now realizing that 1 percent of their household income is in fact much greater than $95. For 2015, the penalty will go up significantly and in many cases it will more than double.

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The End of SGR?

Samantha Beasley, Senior Public Policy Manager, L.A. Area Chamber on March 25, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm in Health Care Waiting Room 
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House leaders from both sides of the aisle are finally coming together to change the way the federal government pays Medicare doctors. Championed by House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, was introduced on Monday to permanently repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for Medicare payments to physicians. Without a remedy or replacement plan in place before the current ‘doc fix’ expires, physicians would see a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments on April 1. 

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Consolidating Health Care Services for L.A. County Residents

Samantha Beasley and Shelby Thurston, L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce on February 25, 2015 at 10:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is proposing a big change to the way Los Angeles County provides health care for its residents. On Jan. 13, County Supervisors voted unanimously to continue moving toward the merging of three different health departments. This proposal, championed by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and Mitch Katz, director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services (DHS), would merge the County’s public and mental health agencies with the DHS, which currently runs a number of hospitals and clinics in the L.A. region.

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The Measles Outbreak is a Big Story. This One's Bigger.

Dan Diamond, California Healthline Contributing Editor on February 11, 2015 at 10:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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In the past 10 days, one health care story went viral: the Disneyland-centered measles outbreak. It's an important story. More than 100 Americans are infected; thousands more have been exposed. But it's probably not the most important story in health care this month. The only problem is -- which one is?

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Medicaid Expansion a Big Leap Forward for People Experiencing Homelessness

John Connolly - Insure the Uninsured Project on January 28, 2015 at 10:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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A recent report from researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council examined the experiences of four clinics for people experiencing homelessness in the wake of the Medicaid expansion in 2014. Each of the clinics was in a different state; three were in states that expanded Medicaid, and one was not. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that many of the clinics’ previously uninsured patients and clients who are homeless have gained health coverage though Medicaid. New health coverage has made a substantial difference in individuals’ access to care, particularly in their ability to get timely, needed treatments. Not only can individuals get more regular access to services, they can now have important, life-saving surgeries that they delayed, and fill prescriptions—with ongoing, regular access to these medications—that they previously could not. These newly available treatments have been virtually indispensible for controlling many individuals’ behavioral health conditions.

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Time is Running out for the Children's Health Insurance Program

Samantha Beasley, Health Care Policy Manager, L.A. Area Chamber on January 14, 2015 at 10:00:00 am in Health Care Waiting Room 
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 The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was passed into law in 1997 in order to provide health coverage to children (and pregnant women in some states) who belonged to families that didn’t qualify for Medicaid but couldn’t afford to pay for private coverage. After the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) was signed in 2009 by President Obama, health coverage for children was revitalized through increased state funding and additional programmatic options. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) then enhanced federal funding of CHIP by 23 percentage points, provided an additional $40 billion to promote Medicaid and CHIP enrollment, and authorized the program until 2019. Funding for CHIP however, runs out this year, and uncertainty about the future of this program has grown with the new leadership in the 114th Congress.

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