While the health law's insurance markets are still struggling to get off the ground, the Obama administration is moving ahead with its second year of meting out bonuses and penalties to hospitals based on the quality of their care. This year, there are more losers than winners.
Medicare has raised payment rates to 1,231 hospitals based on two-dozen quality measurements, including surveys of patient satisfaction and — for the first time — death rates. Another 1,451 hospitals are being paid less for each Medicare patient they treat for the year that began Oct. 1.
Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK."
It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been canceling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry.
Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer, answers questions in a House Oversight Committee hearing about problems with the federal HealthCare.gov site. One Democrat on the committee called the hearing "a kangaroo court."
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:46 pm
A House oversight hearing examining the troubled start of HealthCare.gov was contentious from the start Wednesday, as Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought to cut short the opening remarks of one of the first officials to speak, Frank Baitman, the deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Baitman to conclude his statement, noting that the panel's time was short. The interruption came as Baitman discussed the work of his agency to save taxpayers money.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 7:23 pm
Democrats at the White House and in Congress find themselves in an ever-tightening vise over all those canceled health insurance policies.
House Republicans plan a vote as soon as Friday on a bill that would allow people to keep health plans they like, just as President Obama said they'd be able to (until it became clear they couldn't) under the Affordable Care Act.
Last week, we recorded our second “Health Equity Forum” in collaboration with the Connecticut Health Foundation. In our first of these town halls, we began with these sobering statistics: In Connecticut, pregnant black women are 2x more likely to deliver a smaller baby early, black men are 2x more likely to die of prostate cancer than white men, with overall life expectancy for black men significantly shorter than for their white peers.
It's no secret to say that health care has been undergoing radical change in this country. But what's less well-known is that the state of Connecticut is going beyond the current changes in the Affordable Care Act to address the way we deliver care and pay for medical services. And some consumer advocates are disturbed by the results.
When the head of the agency responsible for the troubled Healthcare.gov went before Congress for the first time since its foibles became apparent Oct. 1, she probably didn't expect that many questions would be on something else altogether.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:01 am
HealthCare.gov, the faulty website where people can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, has become nearly synonymous with the word "glitch" — sometimes defensively, sometimes mockingly.
Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 8:06 pm
They've got a few weeks.
But if federal officials can't get the new online insurance marketplace running smoothly by mid-November, the problems plaguing the three-week-old website could become a far bigger threat to the success of the health law, hampering enrollment and fueling opponents' calls to delay implementation, analysts say.
It's been two weeks since enrollment began under the new health insurance law known as Obamacare. First, the numbers. Connecticut has about 344,000 people without health insurance. Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, was designed to lower that number.
Quinnipiac University released their latest national poll on Tuesday, looking at American voters' attitudes about the government shutdown and Obamacare. The poll of 1,497 registered voters revealed that 72 percent are opposed to the notion of shutting down the government to stop implementation of Obamacare, and 64 percent oppose blocking an increase of the debt ceiling to derail the Affordable Care Act.
Join us while we talk about the new Connecticut health care exchange on Where We Live. Listen live here.
9:11 am: Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut's health insurance exchange, says Access Health CT is up and running. He says plenty of people are visiting the site and it's active. "It's a highly complex implementation," he says, citing lots of support in the state for the health care exchange.
Access Health CT, the state's new health care marketplace, goes live for customers today. Officials are encouraging people shopping for insurance plans to do it online, if possible, to limit paperwork. Officials are also sending workers into the community to work with low-income people who may not have web access, or may not be web-savvy.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:08 pm
Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:
As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.
Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.
Today’s the day the new Affordable Care Act kicks into gear.
The health care reform known as “Obamacare” is creating state exchanges where those without insurance can buy it. But how do these exchanges work? Who’s eligible and who’s not? What about all the myths, mysteries and misconceptions? How much is it really costing us?
Only hours before a partial shutdown of the federal government would take effect, House Republicans still hadn't arrived at a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats were willing to approve to keep government workers on the job. A closure appeared inevitable.
On Monday afternoon, Senate Democrats rejected a stopgap spending bill passed by the House over the weekend because it contained anti-Obamacare measures that Democrats found objectionable.