The phenomenon of rural hospital closures has gotten a fair amount of attention in the last few years with all the Affordable Care Act finger-pointing. But as the University of North Carolina’s Cecil G. Sheps Center notes, the problem really emerged and caught the attention of policymakers in the late 1980s.
For a few years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published an annual report, but closures slowed down about 20 years ago, and interest waned. The pace of closures picked up again during the Great Recession of 2008-09, before the ACA’s passage. Continue reading
Given the ACA’s uncertain future, some experts have said that another law, MACRA, could lead the way on provider payment reform and accountable care innovations.
At the AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2017 conference in Orlando, a panel of providers will discuss their implementation of MACRA rules so far (reporting began on Jan. 1), and what the law means for their practices and their patients. A trade group representative from Washington, D.C., will give an overview of the law and where regulations stand in the Trump administration. Continue reading
In a speech before Congress in which he promised “Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed,” President Donald Trump laid out some expected goals for health care, without much detail about how to achieve those goals. (For comparison, see President Obama’s first congressional address.)
On Tuesday night, Trump talked about bringing drug and insurance costs down, giving states flexibility with Medicaid, tort reform and expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts. Continue reading
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has blocked the merger of Anthem and Cigna, the second court ruling this year against megamergers in the health insurance industry.
On Thursday, Anthem said it would appeal the Feb. 8 ruling promptly and request an expedited hearing. Cigna said it would review the decision and evaluate its options. Anthem has a financial incentive to appeal given that under the terms of the merger proposal, Anthem agreed to pay Cigna $1.85 billion if the deal fell apart. Continue reading
Medicare Advantage 2016 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update, by Gretchen Jacobson, Giselle Casillas, Anthony Damico, Tricia Neuman and Marsha Gold for the Kaiser Family Foundation, May 11, 2016.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates on Monday sided with the Department of Justice to block the merger of Aetna and Humana. The ruling is being called a victory for members of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, since Aetna and Humana — two of the nation’s largest health insurers would, as a combined company, have owned the biggest share of the Medicare Advantage market, The Wall Street Journal reported.
For journalists covering health insurance in their cities and states, there’s a story on how the merger would have affected competition in states where the two companies compete. Continue reading