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PA Departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs Outline 2017–2018 Budget Needs; Make Case for Consolidation

March 01, 2017

Pennsylvania’s Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, and the Acting Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Jennifer Smith, joined Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Karen Murphy in providing testimony to the PA House Appropriations Committee yesterday afternoon. During the hearing, all three faced questions from members of the committee concerning the budget and other initiatives within the two departments.

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U.S. House Committee Seeks to Tackle Health Care Costs through Liability Reform

February 28, 2017

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee today advanced comprehensive medical liability reform legislation intended to improve access to quality, affordable health care. The Congressional Budget Office said the reforms would reduce the federal deficit by tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.

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Study Says ACA Increased PA Medicaid Recipients’ Primary Care Appointment Availability

February 27, 2017

A new study says that the Affordable Care Act has increased primary care appointment availability for Medicaid recipients. 

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More Americans View Affordable Care Act Favorably

February 24, 2017

This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds favorability for the Affordable Care Act at its highest level since 2010, when the law was enacted. The share of those polled who have a favorable opinion of the law (48%) is greater than the share of those who have an unfavorable opinion (42%).

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Nearly $1 Billion in ACA Tax Credits Helps Pennsylvanians Afford Their Insurance

February 23, 2017

During 2016, Pennsylvanians who obtained insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal Health Insurance Marketplace received, in total, nearly $1 billion in tax credit subsidies to help make that coverage more affordable.

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State Administration Officials Highlight the Impact of the Affordable Care Act and Caution Consequences of Repeal

February 22, 2017

In a press conference today attended by state government officials and Pennsylvania consumers, the Wolf Administration highlighted advancements resulting from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the potential implications of repealing the law. The administration also released an “Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania Fact Sheet.”

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State Legislature Begins Annual Budget Hearing Process with Focus on Economic Performance, Revenue

February 21, 2017

Today, the State House and Senate Appropriations Committees held their first round of hearings on the Governor’s proposed 2017–2018 state budget. The House heard from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the Department of Revenue, and the Department of State, while the Senate listened to presentations by the IFO and the Pennsylvania Treasury.

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National Report Projects Health Care Spending to Average 5.6 Percent During the Next Decade

February 21, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its national health expenditure projections for 2016–2025. The findings reflect that health spending, influenced by aging “baby boomers,” is expected to begin to increase at a faster rate, with the slowest growth during 2016 (4.8 percent) and 2017 (5.4 percent), and then higher increases during the remaining years. This follows a period of historically slow national health care spending growth.

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Health Care’s Transition to Value-Based, Patient-Centered Care Continues Through Population Health

February 20, 2017

Population health management is a key factor as health care executives work to control costs, and improve health care quality and outcomes. A new study looks at the evolution of population health management in the United States. 

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House Labor and Industry Committee Holds Hearing on Drug Prescribing in Workers Compensation Program

February 17, 2017

Members of the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee heard testimony from various stakeholders on House Bill 18, introduced by Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh), aimed at reducing opioid abuse within the Workers’ Compensation Program.

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Medicaid Redesign Expert, Seema Verma, Receives Hearing to Serve as Head of CMS

February 16, 2017

In a hearing today, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee considered the nomination of Seema Verma—an experienced health care policy consultant who has championed redesign of Medicaid in several states—as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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CMS Delays New Bundled Payment Models

February 16, 2017

Citing the “Regulatory Freeze”, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delaying the implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) new bundled payment models and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) final rule on confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records.

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CMS Issues Proposed Rule Released to Stabilize Health Insurance Markets

February 15, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released a proposed rule intended to stabilize the health insurance marketplaces, through which millions of Americans have acquired health insurance coverage. Insurers and providers both have pressed the Trump Administration and Congress to address the challenges that threaten coverage options, and may cause more insurers to discontinue offering policies through the marketplace in 2018.

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Nation’s Uninsured Rate Is at Historic Low

February 14, 2017

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the findings of the January–September 2016 National Health Interview Survey showing that the nation’s uninsured rate is at a historic low—8.8 percent. This represents 20.4 million more individuals with health insurance coverage in 2016 than had coverage in 2010.

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Readmission Rates Declined After Hospital Readmission Reduction Program

February 13, 2017

A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that readmission rates declined after the implementation of the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP). The study examined more than 20 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries that were discharged between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2015.

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