Federal Healthcare Reform

Last week, Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper announced very good news for his state. Teen birth rates had fallen 40 percent from 2009 through 2013. The drop moved Colorado from the 29th lowest teen birth rate in the nation in 2009...

Today the federal government announced proposed rules to allow current customers of state and federal health insurance exchanges to auto-enroll for 2015 coverage. The rule will allow a simple way for consumers to renew their same plan. On the other hand, if they want to shop for a new plan and choose to make changes, they can use the exchanges during the next open enrollment period scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. 

The proposed rules bring the exchanges into line with today's...

The bad news is a lot of people across the country can’t get access to appropriate and timely dental care. The good news is state policymakers can help improve the situation.
That was the...

The first enrollment period for health care insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has ended. The Obama administration announced in April that more than 7 million people had enrolled on state and federal health care exchanges. Here are some updates on what's going on in the states with regard to health care reform.

Maine became the third state this year where dental therapists, a mid-level provider similar to physician assistants or nurse practitioners on the medical team, can help dentists expand care. Alaska and Minnesota already have a similar dental care provider. Dental hygiene therapists, as they are called in Maine, will be able to practice in the state and receive reimbursements from Medicaid and all other insurance carriers after Oct.1, 2015.

After a rocky rollout, health insurance exchanges across the country finished the open enrollment period with 8,019,763 individuals selecting health policies available through the exchanges. An additional four million people have enrolled in expanded Medicaid programs. However, despite available subsidies, data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggest affordability remains a barrier to health insurance for many. The Affordable Care Act was designed to provide expanded Medicaid eligibility to individuals with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but in its decision upholding the health reform law, the U.S. Supreme Court put the eligibility expansion decision in the hands of each individual state. To date, 26 states have authorized expanded eligibility.

While two dozen states may be holding out on traditional Medicaid expansion because of political or philosophical reasons, some state policymakers are forging a new path with expansion programs the likes of which have never been seen before.

During the ACA open enrollment period, Oct. 1, 2013 to April 15, 2014, 12.8 million persons signed up for health insurance. Over 8 million purchased health insurance policies through the exchanges and 85 percent of those buyers qualified for a tax subsidy to reduce the premium cost. Another 4.8 million enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP programs in states, an 8.2 percent increase in overall Medicaid enrollees nationally.

Apparently having health insurance matters. Not as many people die.

That is the chief finding of a new health study that looked at mortality in Massachusetts following the enactment of health reform in 2006 that resulted in nearly universal health insurance coverage in that state.

Today’s New York Times summarized the study which was published online Monday in the ...

Yesterday President Obama announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health insurance coverage through the health exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. The number slightly exceeded the original 7 million estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, which was later reduced to 6 million after the problem-plagued rollout of the website in October 2013.

If the last surge of enrollment in March holds true to the earlier sign-ups, it is possible that another 7...