February 18, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Less than a year before Americans will be required to have insurance under President Obama's healthcare law, many of its backers are growing increasingly anxious that premiums could jump, driven up by the legislation itself. Higher premiums could undermine a core promise of the Affordable Care Act: to make basic health protections available to all Americans for the first time. Major rate increases also threaten to cause a backlash just as the law is supposed to deliver many key benefits Obama promised when he signed it in 2010.
February 13, 2013 |
Consumers are getting their first glimpse at what health insurance will look like in California as the state prepares to implement the federal healthcare law. On Wednesday, state officials will spell out the details on policies available next year to people buying their own coverage. In January 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance or face a penalty. Federal law established four broad plans of coverage - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze - whose benefits vary based on the level of out-of-pocket expenses that consumers are required to pay. A Platinum plan, the most expensive, would require policyholders to pay about 10% of the cost of care, while the Bronze plan, the least expensive, pegs the patient share at 40%. Document: Details of California's healthcare plans Now for the first time, California is laying out the specific co-pays and deductibles that many policyholders will face when going to see a doctor, get a lab test or visit an emergency room.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- Facing a doctor shortage in California, state lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare in the Golden State. As detailed in Sunday's Los Angeles Times , they are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high- blood pressure . The effort is being led by state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2013 |
When Claire Gordon arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, nurses knew she needed extra attention. She was 96, had heart disease and a history of falls. Now she had pneumonia and the flu. A team of Cedars specialists converged on her case to ensure that a bad situation did not turn worse and that she didn't end up with a lengthy, costly hospital stay. Frail seniors like Gordon account for a disproportionate share of healthcare expenditures because they are frequently hospitalized and often land in intensive care units or are readmitted soon after being released.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama's healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren't enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients. Some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare. They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure.
February 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Some of the nation's most prominent Republican governors have moved to embrace a key feature of President Obama's healthcare law, providing a significant boost to the administration and highlighting a fissure inside the GOP on an emerging campaign issue. At stake is the goal of expanding health insurance under the Medicaid program, one of two main ways the law is to provide coverage to those who lack it. Starting in 2014, the law broadens Medicaid to cover people who earn up to about $15,500 a year, but under last year's Supreme Court decision upholding the law's constitutionality, states have the option of rejecting the expansion and the federal money that comes with it. Opponents wanted to unite all Republican governors against participating in the Medicaid expansion; they have lined up 15, including Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
February 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Healthcare for the nation's poor, once viewed as especially vulnerable in this era of budget cutting, has emerged as a surprisingly secure government entitlement with as much political clout as the Medicare and Social Security retirement programs. Even as President Obama and congressional Republicans gear up for a new budget battle, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, which together provide coverage to more than 1 in 5 Americans and almost 1 in 3 Californians over the course of a year, appear off-limits despite their huge price tag. The president protected Medicaid in 2011 when Congress and the White House slashed $1.2 trillion in federal spending, including on Medicare - the healthcare plan for seniors and disabled people - as part of a deal to raise the nation's debt limit.
February 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration, trying to defuse one of the most contentious issues in its healthcare law, proposed Friday a new way to shield religiously affiliated organizations, such as hospitals and universities, from having to provide contraceptive coverage directly to their employees. Instead, the employees would obtain coverage through a separate, private insurance policy at no cost. The proposed rule also reaffirms that churches and other houses of worship themselves are exempt from the contraceptive mandate in Obama's healthcare overhaul, and makes it easier for institutions to show that they qualify for the exemption.
January 31, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Nearly 4 out of 5 states have not enacted laws essential to enforcing new consumer protections in President Obama's healthcare law, less than a year before it is supposed to be fully implemented, a new survey indicates. Millions of Americans still stand to benefit in 2014 from protections in the Affordable Care Act, such as a new guarantee that consumers with preexisting medical conditions cannot be denied coverage. The law also limits how much more insurers can charge older consumers and requires health plans to cover a basic set of minimum benefits.
January 17, 2013 |
Using “fascism” to describe President Obama's healthcare reform was “poor use of an emotionally charged word,” according to John Mackey, co-chief executive and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. In a blog post Thursday, Mackey said he “definitely” regrets using the term, which “today stirs up too much negative emotion with its horrific associations in the 20th century.” The mea culpa came amid a surge of criticism after Mackey's interview earlier this week with NPR, in which he said that Obama's policies are “technically speaking … more like fascism” instead of socialism.