Blog

Health Care Waiting Room

Legislature's Turn to Consider Open Data

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

The End of SGR?

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. 

Read More

Consolidating Health Care Services for L.A. County Residents

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.

Read More

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

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?

Read More

Medicaid Expansion a Big Leap Forward for People Experiencing Homelessness

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.

Read More

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

 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.

Read More

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

 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.

Read More

Health Insurance Toolkit for Small Business Owners Now Available

By now you have probably seen the commercials on TV, heard something on the radio, or even read it in this blog— open enrollment for health insurance through Covered California is happening now through Feb. 15, 2015, so there is no better time to make sure you and your employees get covered.

Read More

Health Care Legislation a Priority for State Legislature on First Day of Session

Last Monday, 10 new state senators and 27 new assembly members were sworn in.  Simultaneously, a number of health care-related initiatives were announced, including several carried over from last year.

Read More

See the Full Archives