In the News This Week…

Why Medicaid expansion is a no-brainer, 9-11-12, NC Policy Watch
Writer Bill Schweke reports on the different aspects of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA), including Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid News: Fight Over Expansion Brews in Ark., 9-12-12, Kaiser Health News
Kaiser Health News reports that State Medicaid budgets across the country, including North Carolina, show promise where a cost savings program may be working and where the program has spent less than anticipated.

Medicaid Expansion Appears to Lower 5-year Mortality, 7-25-12, New England Journal of Medicine
A survey conducted by Benjamin Sommers, MD, PhD; Katherine Baicker, PhD; and Arnold Epstein, MD; hints that bolstering the Medicaid system benefits even those already enrolled. Adjusted all-cause mortality in three Medicaid expansion states (New York, Arizona and Maine) declined by 6.1 percent in the five years after expansion, a significant difference compared to mortality in adjacent states used as controls in the study (Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico and New Hampshire).

NC Medicaid says spending on track with budget, 9-11-12, Herald Online/Associated Press
The Associated Press reports that North Carolina Medicaid spending is on track with the budget through the first two months of the new fiscal year after the Legislature had to provide two cash influxes last spring to narrow what became a $295 million shortfall.

Ranks of uninsured drop to 15.7 percent in 2011, 9-12-12, Modern Healthcare
Reporter Gregg Blesch writes that more young adults with health insurance helped reduce the number of US uninsured last year to 48.6 million from 50 million the year before, the US Census Bureau said.

Spending varied widely in early ACO test, report says, 9-11-12, Modern Healthcare
Reporter Melanie Evans writes that Medicare spending varied widely among 10 physician groups that tested accountable care ahead of healthcare reform, with the most notable reduction among low-income, medically complex seniors, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) report.

Blue Cross expects savings by building urgent care centers, 9-12-12, Rocky Mountain Telegram/Associated Press
The Associated Press reports that BCBSNC will make its first investment in urgent care clinics, hoping more locations will drive down its costs for hospital emergency room visits.

Health Secretary Broke Law That Limits Campaigning, 9-12-12, Wall Street Journal
Reporter Peter Nicholas writes that Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made comments during a speech in North Carolina that violated the Hatch Act. Sebelius has already taken measures to address this issue.

Americans Hoarding Medication, Avoiding Doctor to Save Money: Report, 9-13-12, Huffington Post
Huffington Post reports that more than 60 percent of Americans who didn’t have prescription drug coverage said they skipped a doctor’s visit in the last year because of cost, according to a new Consumer Reports survey. This figure is up nearly 50 percent from the year before. 

NC homes to lose funds over too many mentally ill, 9-13-12, WRAL/Associated Press
Reporter Michael Biesecker writes that four adult care homes in North Carolina could lose Medicaid funding, resulting in the possible eviction of dozens of residents with mental illness.

Raleigh doctor, former ambassador reflect on Libyan attack, 9-12-12, WRAL
Reporter David Crabtree writes about the encounter NCMS member Randall Williams, MD, of Raleigh, had while in Libya two weeks ago with the US ambassador to the north African country who was killed in an embassy attack.


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