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Candidates’ proposals signal big changes for ACA
Health care proposals from both presidential candidates suggest the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be completely overhauled under the next administration. Hillary Clinton frequently defends the ACA, while also calling for a public option and other changes that would expand the federal government’s role in the health care system. Donald Trump believes the ACA should be repealed and insurers should face fewer restrictions and regulations, writes Robert Pear of The New York Times.
Hospital infections not listed as cause of death
In California, infections caught in the hospital frequently are not listed as the cause of death, following a trend of fatal infections going unreported. Researchers at the University of Michigan find infections would become the leading cause of death if the statistic was determined by medical billing records instead of death certificates. California, as well as many other states, does not require hospitals to track infections that come about during a patient’s stay or report cases of the superbug CRKP, which is fatal for as many as half of the individuals who acquire the bacteria. Melody Petersen at the Los Angeles Times has the story.
Fixed-indemnity plans remain as health insurance option
The Obama administration is ending its effort to ban fixed-indemnity plans, a low-cost health insurance option covering only a fixed amount of medical expenses. Government lawyers said they would accept a federal court ruling that the Department of Health and Human Services did not have the authority to prohibit the sale of the plans. Some consumer advocates are concerned the plans are misleading. Supporters say the option provides health coverage at an affordable price. Louise Radnofsky at The Wall Street Journal reports (subscriber’s content).
Errors in medical bills common
The American Medical Association estimates that roughly 7 percent of bills paid by commercial health insurers contain errors, including misspelled names, incorrect treatments and inaccurate insurance information. Sarah Skidmore Sell from Associated Press shares steps individuals can take to assess the accuracy of their medical bills, such as asking for an itemized bill or calling the insurer.
Our weekly Blog Review features insightful posts from around the web and keeps an eye on medical industry and health news via the Trend Watch. This week we review posts on how Medicare interacts with other areas of the health care system. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts discussing tactics for fighting food insecurity.
Medicare Affects Health System
The Two Mysteries of Medicare
The New York Times
Health Economist Austin Frakt highlights two trends the Congressional Budget Office did not predict: Medicare beneficiaries are turning to Medicare Advantage plans and traditional Medicare spending growth has slowed. Frakt explores the theory that as Medicare Advantage enrollment increases, the cost of care for traditional Medicare lessens.
How Do the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Interact?
Journalist Phillip Moeller explains why individuals do not have simultaneous access to subsidies for exchange plans and Medicare coverage. Moeller demonstrates the plans were never designed to interact except for in incredibly rare circumstances, as most patients who are on Medicare do not need coverage provided by exchange plans.
How Community Partnerships Can Help End Food Insecurity
Health Affairs Blog
Brigham and Women’s Hospital Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine fellow Vin Gupta, M.D., and colleagues explain food insecurity is a widespread but unaddressed public health threat. Dr. Gupta believes a coordinate effort by medical professionals and hunger-relief advocacy organizations could end food insecurity and improve health in communities.
The Facts on Community Eligibility
Food Research and Action Center Director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs Crystal FitzSimons defends a provision of the Hunger-Free Kids Act that allows schools to offer free meals if the school’s population falls within certain income restraints. FitzSimons claims the rule has played a vital role in curbing food insecurity and is being misrepresented by opponents calling for the rule’s repeal.