Category: Health Care

By Benita M. Dodd In his State of the State address to the Georgia Legislature this week, Governor Nathan Deal succinctly justified his resistance to expanding Medicaid to low-income, able-bodied Georgians. Deal recited the costs already imposed by the Affordable Care Act: Reporting requirements alone add $2.1 million in state spending, and even without Medicaid expansion, enrollment increased due to heightened eligibility awareness. This “woodwork effect” increased program costs 15.7 percent from fiscal years 2013-17, to $3.1 billion. Unsurprisingly, critics denounced the governor for “leaving” federal money on the table and poor Georgians uninsured while missing an economic opportunity. But “no” to expanding this entitlement program does not equate to “no” to health care or to economic opportunity in Georgia.… View Article

Innovation is the True Health Care Solution

By Josh Daniels Political support for Medicaid expansion in Georgia is on life support and the prognosis may be terminal. This doesn’t mean, however, there isn’t a pathway forward for those looking for health care solutions. It’s the same pathway that has solved many of our problems: innovation. Each Medicaid expansion proposal has been a reaction to the failure of federal policy in attempting to address the “coverage gap.” But the gap is only a symptom of the underlying disease. The Affordable Care Act did little to actually make care affordable. In fact, it aggravated the very conditions that have driven health care costs up: regulation and government intervention. ObamaCare put more patients into the system with no corresponding increase… View Article

Checking Up On Health: November 3, 2015

Health Care News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd Open enrollment began Sunday for health care coverage for 2016 under ObamaCare. Unfortunately, about 740,000 people insured through federally funded co-ops must find new health homes. They won’t have coverage because 12 of the 23 co-ops – “consumer operated and oriented plans” – are shutting their doors. Since October 1, seven co-ops in Tennessee, Kentucky, Oregon, Colorado, South Carolina, Utah and Arizona have announced they will not be selling insurance in 2016. Four more in Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada and New York told consumers earlier this year. On Tuesday, Michigan’s co-op added its name to the list. What’s the company line? “If a co-op has solvency issues, and we cannot rule… View Article

Halloween, ‘Sugar’ and The Right To Try

Are you ready for Halloween? I’m looking forward to good weather and good times with the hordes of trick-or-treaters this evening! Whenever Halloween and the predictions of “sugar highs” come around, I’m reminded of my mother. She had what she called “sugar.” When she died in 2012, having spent more than a painful decade as a bedridden amputee, she had battled Type 2 Diabetes for more than 40 years. The memories are mostly happy thoughts, though, because we were fortunate to have my mother in our lives nearly 75 years. I never did get to meet my grandmother: My mother was just 15 when her 45-year-old mother succumbed to the same insidious disease. It’s one of the reasons I monitor… View Article
The Hill ran an article this week criticizing Georgia’s efforts to encourage cross-state selling of health insurance. There are different forms of cross-state selling proposals. While Georgia’s single state one-way process hasn’t led to any changes in the market, it at least allows Georgia is willing to partner with other states and insurers in developing a successful cross-state program. Some reasons for Georgia’s lack of success: The bill was passed during the ObamaCare debate when insurers were focused on national health reform Insurers are not going to be responsive to a solitary state allowing plans and benefit designs from other states. It would take at least a regional coalition of states to get the attention and efforts of insurance, legal… View Article

Reforming Medicaid with Technology

By Merrill Matthews  Every state is looking for ways to reduce its Medicaid spending. Here’s an untested idea: Integrate existing technology to help Medicaid beneficiaries and their health care providers monitor and manage their health care. Medicaid’s Scope The federal-state Medicaid program is by far the largest health insurance plan, covering 62 million Americans, and it is the first or second biggest budget item in most states. Actually, Medicaid is three different programs. It provides health insurance for low-income children, pregnant women and some adults, covering about 40 percent of all births, and more than 50 percent in some states; It is the primary source of coverage for the disabled; and It covers certain costs for poor seniors, including nursing… View Article

Checking Up On Health: September 1, 2015

Health Care News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd It may be a generational thing, but for those of us who walked to school in the snow (uphill both ways), the list of #Firstworldproblems gets really tedious. Today, attention is directed, among other issues, at global warming (aka climate change), carbon pollution (aka carbon emissions), gun violence (once called criminal behavior), plastic versus paper, “endangered” species and Cecil the Lion. Granted, it’s wonderful that our children don’t have to protest the things we did. Still, how nice it would be to see the same level of passionate outrage about young girls being kidnapped in Nigeria, entire villages being slaughtered by ISIS; the sale of baby parts by Planned Parenthood… View Article

Checking Up On Health: August 25, 2015

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd The amount of conflicting nutrition data out there is enough to give anyone heartburn. Last week I had my annual routine physical exam and was talking to the doctor about my exercise and diet routine. For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet: Everybody lies, and every physician knows you’re lying … about how much exercise you’re getting, how much wine you’re drinking and how healthy you’re eating. Three drinks a week? A social smoker? Exercising four days a week? Low-fat, low-salt diet? Laying off the sugar? Lies, lies, lies. Physicians each have a multiplication factor they build into every one of your responses, I’m guessing. Back to… View Article

Checking Up On Health: August 18, 2015

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd My opportunity to participate as a team volunteer in a Remote Area Medical mission was lost last week when the mission, scheduled August 13-17, had to be canceled at the last minute because – as I posted on my Facebook page – there was unrest in the region. That’s right. The program organizers were apparently unable to guarantee the safety of volunteers on the trip to East St. Louis, about 10 miles from Ferguson, Mo., where protesters were marking the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. It’s a tragedy that hundreds of low-income residents missed the opportunity for free, basic medical care brought right to their doorstep, all because a few… View Article

Checking Up On Health: August 4, 2015

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd On Sunday, colon cancer took the life of a very dear, longtime friend and former colleague at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The tributes to Frank Hyland, a fine author, sportswriter, editor and all-round classical journalist are both poignant and hilarious. It’s consoling when someone leaves you with the finest of memories. I have a feeling Frank’s busily reviewing obits and checking game stats at the Pearly Gates while we’re still here chuckling about his shenanigans. And if you haven’t read his book, “The Sportin’ Life of Lewis Grizzard,” you’re missing some great, irreverent newsroom tales! It got me thinking again about colon cancer and screenings. My mother-in-law, too, succumbed to cancer… View Article

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