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News Archives

MS doctors want ‘expanded coverage’ under federal ACA

August 16, 2016, The Clarion Ledger, Geoff Pender- The Mississippi State Medical Association has adopted a resolution supporting expansion of medical coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, but stopped short of using the politically charged words “Medicaid expansion,” deleting them before passing the resolution on Saturday. “We have a public health crisis here,” said Dr. Lee Voulters, president of MSMA and a Gulfport neurologist. “... We are in favor of any expansion of medical coverage that’s possible. Everything’s on the table.”

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Obamacare Hits a Bump

August 19, 2016, The New York Times, Paul Krugman- More than two and a half years have gone by since the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, went fully into effect. Most of the news about health reform since then has been good, defying the dire predictions of right-wing doomsayers. But this week has brought some genuine bad news: The giant insurer Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of many of the “exchanges,” the special insurance markets the law established.

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Obamacare Options? In Many Parts of Country, Only One Insurer Will Remain

August 19, 2016, The New York Times, Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz- So much for choice. In many parts of the country, Obamacare customers will be down to one insurer when they go to sign up for coverage next year on the public exchanges.
A central tenet of the federal health law was to offer a range of affordable health plans through competition among private insurers. But a wave of insurer failures and the recent decision by several of the largest companies, including Aetna, to exit markets are leaving large portions of the country with functional monopolies for next year.

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August 18, 2016, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Desare Frazier- Mississippi’s Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says despite some help from the government, the responsibility of recruiting another insurer to replace United Healthcare falls to his office. He’s not optimistic Mississippi will have a third insurer by the deadline.  “Well we’ve got one other carrier we’re looking at but I do not think it will be approved. The deadline for approval is next Tuesday and the reason for that is you must have actuarial opinions. You must have rates in place and you must have networks established,” said Chaney.

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Six Years Into Obama’s Health Care Law, Who Are the Uninsured?

August 18, 2016, The New York Times, Abby Goodnough- Roughly 20 million more Americans have health insurance now than when President Obama’s health care law was passed in 2010. But as Mr. Obama prepares to leave office, there are still about 24 million adults with no coverage, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, a health research group. That translates to an uninsured rate of about 13 percent, down from 20 percent in 2013. Who are the remaining uninsured?

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Feds award $1.2M to Mississippi for health centers

August 18, 2016, The Clarion Ledger- Mississippi is receiving 21 awards totaling $1,282,370 to invest in health center quality improvements. Health centers in Mississippi will use these funds to expand current quality improvement systems and infrastructure and to improve primary care service delivery in the communities they serve. “Millions of Americans rely on health centers to provide them with quality health care,” said Dr. Mary Wakefield, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Acting Deputy Secretary. “These quality improvement awards will support health centers to continue to deliver superior health care that engages patients, improves care coordination and bridges overall access to care.”

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As Insurers Like Aetna Balk, U.S. Makes New Push to Bolster Health Care Act

August 17, 2016, The New York Times, Robert Pear Reed Abelson- Facing high-profile withdrawals from online insurance exchanges and surging premiums, the Obama administration is preparing a major push to enroll new participants into public marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. The administration is eyeing an advertising campaign featuring testimonials from newly insured consumers, as well as direct appeals to young people hit by tax penalties this year for failing to enroll But as many insurers continue to lose money on the exchanges, they say the administration’s response is too late and too weak. The companies point to a fundamental dynamic in the marketplace in which too few healthy people are buying policies and too many sick people are filing costly claim

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People With Obamacare Plans Filled More Prescriptions, But Had Lower Costs

August 17, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Shefali Luthra- The 2010 health law was meant to expand insurance coverage so that Americans could get medical care they would otherwise go without - and not spend a fortune doing so. Though it’s still early, new evidence suggests this scenario is playing out. Research published online by Health Affairs Wednesday examines what happened when people got insurance through the law - either with a private plan purchased via the online marketplaces or through Medicaid, the state-federal program for low-income people. The study specifically focuses on how many medical prescriptions they filled.

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Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

August 15, 2016,, Alison Kodjak- The battle continues to rage between drug companies that are trying to make as much money as possible and insurers trying to drive down drug prices. And consumers are squarely in the middle. That’s because, increasingly, prescription insurers are threatening to kick drugs off their lists of approved medications if the manufacturers won’t give them big discounts. CVS Caremark and Express Scripts, the biggest prescription insurers, released their 2017 lists of approved drugs this month, and each also has long lists of excluded medications. Some of the drugs newly excluded are prescribed to treat diabetes and hepatitis.

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Race, Ethnicity Affect Kids’ Access To Mental Health Care, Study Finds

August 12, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Shefali Luthra- One in five Americans is estimated to have a mental health condition at any given time. But getting treatment remains difficult - and it’s worse for children, especially those who identify as black or Hispanic. That’s the major finding in research published Friday in the International Journal of Health Services. The study examines how often young adults and children were able to get needed mental health services, based on whether they were black, Hispanic or white. Using a nationally representative sample of federally collected survey data compiled between 2006 and 2012, researchers sought to determine how often people reported poor mental health and either saw a specialist or had a general practitioner bill for mental health services.

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