Posts Tagged: health care

What’s wrong with Medicare? Here’s another Prime example

Remember the kwashiorkor plague striking Northern California — where the African childhood disease was spreading like wildfire, but only amongst seniors with Medicare getting treatment at hospitals affiliated with Prime Healthcare?

Well, according to Christina Jewett and Stephen K. Doig of California Watch, in a story published in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to a chronic case of upcoding, Prime Healthcare is also apparently hospitalizing patients who should be discharged, in an effort to maximize bills to Medicare and various H.M.O.’s. (more…)

Medicaid payment pains in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is not in the kind of fiscal apocalypse that faces Illinois, but they have a big problem: Medicaid coverage has rapidly expanded and, for the next four years, the federal government won’t pick up enough of the tab. Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report that “Medicaid provides health care for one in five Wisconsin residents” and that “the group of programs has expanded faster here over the past nine years than in any state except Arizona.” The close battle for governor in Wisconsin has focused on how to lower Medicaid costs. (more…)

Chicago to have most patriotic hospital ever

A federal health center that will open in North Chicago Oct. 1 will be the first of its kind to combine services for both the Dept. of Defense and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. The Chicago Tribune’s Peter Cameron reports that the DOD/VA project has taken eight years to complete and required the transfer of 530 civilian employees from DOD to VA, the assimilation of medical records, and the construction of a 290,000 foot ambulatory care center. (more…)

Illinois: we need money to help health care consumers

Illinois has applied for a $1 million federal grant so the state can better monitor skyrocketing health care costs.  According to Karla K. Johnson of the Chicago Sun-Times, the state’s Dept. of Insurance has received 186 complaints about health care rate increases in the past three years. The state, though, says it doesn’t have the resources to properly respond. “Illinois’ 81-page request portrays the state’s (more…)

Illinois patiently waits for Medicaid money

Via Progress Illinois, The Hill’s Julian Pecquet reports that Senate leader Harry Reid is expected to table a bill that extends increased Medicaid payments to states for six months.  These Medicaid payments were a critical part of the stimulus bill and their extension could make the Illinois budget crisis less dire. (more…)

Death and Taxes (plus health premium hikes)

People buying individual health insurance policies have seen their rates soar an average 20 percent nationally, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an arm of H.M.O. Kaiser Permanente.

That’s ten times the official rate of inflation for the 12 months ending in May according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index. According to Bobby Caina Calvan of the Sacramento Bee, three quarters of the 14 million people with individual plans had their rates bumped up last year. (more…)

California’s Health Insurance RX

It may be only a modest first step, but California lawmakers are beginning the journey to make the federal health reform plan a reality.

According to the Associated Press, the state Assembly unanimously approved a bill that would create a high risk insurance pool for 30,000 Californians whom private insurers have refused to cover. (more…)

Illinois Medicaid funding in peril

The Illinois state legislature passed a budget last week that does little to address the state’s $13 billion deficit. In fact, Jennifer Wessner of Illinois Statehouse News reports that the legislature outlined exactly one cut — slashing Medicaid funding by $200 million. (more…)

California tries to lead on health care

Democratic members of California’s state legislature will spend much of the week trying to put legs on  health insurance reform as debate begins on a score of bills that would create a health insurance exchange, eliminate exclusions for pre-existing conditions and establish a state commission to regulate premium hikes.  Meanwhile, members of the legislature’s Republican caucus may look to cut off reform at the knees. (more…)

Choosing How Much Choice to Offer in Health Care Reform

Full enactment may be four years off, but elected leaders in California were urged yesterday to get a head start in complying with the recently passed federal healthcare reform package. The advice on setting up an insurance exchange was delivered to a joint legislative session by someone who knows a thing or two about how to do it – Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, upon which the national reforms were based. (more…)