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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The heads of the Legislature's budget committee telegraphed Thursday they will keep Wisconsin in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.
"Nothing's fundamentally changed," said Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican and co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee.
Nygren and the Senate co-chairwoman of the committee, Republican Alberta Darling of River Hills, told reporters they continue to talk to their GOP colleagues but had not yet made a final decision on what to do.
For now, they're staying in the lawsuit and neither offered a reason for why they should drop out of the lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act.
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Anchorage Daily News
Alaska is significantly behind on approving Medicaid applications, and in some cases applicants are waiting for months.
As of Jan. 29, Alaska had a backlog of 15,639 cases of new applicants or renewals on the books. About two-thirds of those, or 10,200 cases, were filed in 2018. The average wait time to be approved is currently 55 days, according to Clinton Bennett, the media relations manager for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
That's the average, but not everyone is waiting that long, he wrote in an email.
New York Magazine
The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge to Medicaid expansion in the state, which voters approved at the ballot box in November. As the Idaho Statesman reported, the right-wing Idaho Freedom Foundation had sued to block expansion on the basis that it "gave too much power to the federal government and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare." The ruling is a victory for activists who helped pass Idaho's Medicaid expansion, but other obstacles persist.
Humana says its joint venture with Walgreens Boots Alliance is helping boost enrollment in Medicare Advantage, the fast-growing privately administered health coverage for U.S. seniors.
Humana reported a nine percent increase in Medicare Advantage membership the health insurer attributed to physicians at more than 230 clinics including two sites inside Walgreens stores. It's the latest sign showing the early stages of a joint venture between Humana and the nation's largest drugstore chain is working and could be expanded beyond a pilot in the Kansas City market.
Lansing State Journal
A new report estimates tens of thousands of Michigan residents could lose Medicaid coverage once the state's work requirements go into effect next year.
Policy experts and community advocates say that could have serious impacts on Medicaid members, hospitals and Michigan's economy.
Manatt Health, a professional services firm that's part of Los Angeles-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, released a report Wednesday predicting between 61,000 and 183,000 people covered by the Healthy Michigan Plan — between nine percent and 27 percent of recipients — could lose coverage in a one-year period once the work requirements kick in.
When Medicare prescription drug insurance was created in 2003, the idea that beneficiaries with very high drug costs should pick up five percent of the tab seemed reasonable — but that was well before specialty drugs were invented that carry price tags in the tens of thousands of dollars. Today, the five percent coinsurance charge shouldered by Medicare Part D beneficiaries with serious illnesses does not look so reasonable. Instead, sky-high prices of specialty drugs threaten to bankrupt some enrollees — mainly because Part D does not cap the total amounts that enrollees must pay out of pocket each year.
Some health systems and health insurers have decided it makes sense to team up. It means the entity that owns the hospitals and employs the doctors also sells and manages health insurance to pay for it.
A case study of the possible harms for consumers is playing out in Pittsburgh, where both UPMC and Highmark sell medical care as well as health insurance.
A dispute between the two means that, beginning in June, people in the Pittsburgh region who have Highmark health insurance won't be able to use most UPMC doctors and hospitals.
Eight years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured Americans is down — but more and more are underinsured.
According to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, just 12.4 percent of Americans ages 19 to 64 are uninsured, a rate the Commonwealth Fund notes is statistically unchanged since 2016 despite efforts by the Trump administration to weaken the law. But the number of underinsured Americans has steadily climbed, increasing from approximately 29 million in 2010 to 44 million in 2018.
Microsoft Corp. is releasing a service to help health-care companies move vast amounts of patient data to its cloud and connect with other related systems in a bid to offer clinicians, individuals and researchers a more comprehensive view of patient health.
The tool, based on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and a national standard for exchanging health records, will let disparate health systems talk to each other, for example hooking up patient records with pharmacy systems, fitness devices and others more seamlessly.
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NAHU Newswire is a daily brief featuring the latest news of interest to healthcare agents and brokers, selected from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiView. NAHU personnel, in accordance with internal policies, do not approve all stories selected. Any comments regarding content of this publication should be emailed to NAHU. It should not be understood or inferred from the presence of advertisements that NAHU endorses any products or services advertised. Similarly, NAHU is not responsible for the quality of journalism reflected in the articles: it should not be understood or inferred that NAHU supports the information provided. MultiView and NAHU are not liable, for any delays or inaccuracies in the information contained in this brief, nor for any actions taken or outcomes resulting from relying on the information provided herein.
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