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By Keith Fitzgerald | News related to health care policy issues

The Next Cybersecurity Target: Medical Data

The health industry is not immune to cyberattacks.

Hackers often carry out massive cyberattacks to gain access to financial data through banks and retail companies, but this week's cybercrime hit a seemingly new target: medical data, taken from the health insurance company Premera Blue Cross. The …

Health Care

Why Hospitals Are Wrong About Shifting Costs to Private Insurers

To hear some hospital executives tell it, they have to make up payment shortfalls from Medicaid and Medicare by charging higher prices to privately insured patients. How else could a hospital stay afloat if it didn’t?

But this logic is flawed.

Study after study in recent years has cast doubt on the …


The Freakout From An Obamacare Ruling Could Be Unlike Anything We've Seen

WASHINGTON -- Experts have a pretty good sense of what will happen if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, cutting off Obamacare’s tax credits in roughly two-thirds of the states. Without that financial assistance, most of the people now buying insurance through …


Conservatives Know the Latest Obamacare Challenge Is Weak—That's Why They're Trying to Spin John Roberts

Because the stakes are so enormous, the pending conservative Supreme Court challenge to Affordable Care Act subsidies in three dozen states generates …

Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard

WASHINGTON — For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the …

Health Care

GOP searches for elusive Obamacare fix

Republicans are looking for a way to roll back the ACA.

Updated 1/4/15 8:17 PM EST

Republicans have been vowing to repeal Obamacare for nearly five years. But 2015 could be the year that Republicans finally define how they would replace it.

In March, the Supreme Court will hear another case that …

Republican Party

Every Patient a Subject

Personalized medicine, the hoped-for use of the information in our genes to inform our medical care, may end up helping people live longer, healthier …

Life Sciences

9 people die of flu in NC during Christmas week

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — State health officials say nine people died of complications from the flu during Christmas week, bringing the death toll for …

New evidence that Medicare Advantage is an insurance industry scam

A big part of the argument made by enemies of the Affordable Care Act that the Act is hurting Medicare applies to a category of health plan known as Medicare Advantage. New evidence has just come in showing that Medicare Advantage is a ripoff that fattens the health insurance industry while …

Medicare Advantage

Poverty, Homelessness, and the Social Determinants of Health

If much of health and health care spending is determined by social conditions, what can and should we do about that?

Adrianna wrote in a recent TIE …


Regrets on Obamacare? Sebelius has very few

'I think it was not only well worth it, but a battle worth fighting.'

During the worst days of the Obamacare rollout last year, Kathleen Sebelius kept her spirits up by thinking about … Medicare.

As the Obamacare website was crashing and conservative interest groups were shining the spotlight on …

Kathleen Sebelius

Obamacare on track to exceed HHS coverage goal

Updated 12/31/14 7:48 AM EST

Obamacare enrollment may already have topped 9 million, data released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services suggest, putting the administration on pace to surpass its coverage goal for 2015.

According to the new report, about 6.5 million people were …


Jonathan Gruber tops list of influential economists

MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, an influential player in the making of the Affordable Care Act, was named The Economist’s “most influential economist” of 2014.

The ranking, which will be included in the magazine’s Jan. 3 edition, measures economists’ influence by their publication count and the level …

Liberal News

No health insurance? Penalties to rise in 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The cost of being uninsured in America is going up significantly next year for millions of people.

It's the first year all taxpayers have to report to the Internal Revenue Service whether they had health insurance for the previous year, as required under President Barack Obama's …


Medical Blockbuster Book of the Year: The Patient Will See You Now

Dr. Eric Topol wrote what I believe will be the medical book of 2015 — The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands. Dr. Topol is a leading thinker in healthcare’s age of enlightenment. He does a terrific job of laying out the immense potential of smartphones and iMedicine …

High noon for federal health records program?

2015 will be a critical year for testing the system.

Vast spending, frustrating software, angry doctors facing a punch in the wallet — and a hungry new Congress. It could add up to a powerful threat to the Obama administration’s $30 billion program to digitize the nation’s medical records.

Many …


The Point When Science Becomes Publicity

How does exaggeration make its way into health news? A study today says, blame academia.

One of the sources of academic disdain for popular health media is its reputation for sensationalism and exaggeration. "If You've Ever Eaten Pizza, You'll Want to Read About the Toxin That Is Pretty Certainly …


As Medicaid Rolls Swell, Cuts in Payments to Doctors Threaten Access to Care

WASHINGTON — Just as millions of people are gaining insurance through Medicaid, the program is poised to make deep cuts in payments to many doctors, prompting some physicians and consumer advocates to warn that the reductions could make it more difficult for Medicaid patients to obtain care.

The …


Is the Affordable Care Act Working?

Correction: December 5, 2014

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: A series of charts on Oct. 26 that used survey data to show the decline in the share of Americans who are uninsured incorrectly characterized the time period for one of the surveys. The survey conducted …

Barack Obama

Why single payer died in Vermont

Vermont was supposed to be the beacon for a single-payer health care system in America. But now its plans are in ruins, and its onetime champion Gov. Peter Shumlin may have set back the cause.

Advocates of a “Medicare for all” approach were largely sidelined during the national Obamacare debate. The …

Single Payer Health Care

Obamacare outreach spurring storefronts — ACA workweek vote coming up — Hospitals seizing patients’ wages

OBAMACARE STOREFRONTS — When the public won’t come to Obamacare, then Obamacare goes right to the public, Pro’s Natalie Villacorta reports. “Consumers in many states can now buy health insurance at local storefronts — places that are popping up next door to hair salons, setting up in churches, and …

Liberal News

AbbVie Deal Heralds Changed Landscape for Hepatitis Drugs

In a sign that price competition may take hold for hepatitis C drugs, the nation’s largest manager of prescriptions will require all patients to use AbbVie’s newly approved treatment rather than two widely used medicines from its rival Gilead Sciences.

The pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, …


Obama Administration to Investigate Insurers for Bias Against Costly Conditions

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Monday that it would investigate prescription drug coverage and other benefits offered by health insurance companies to see if they discriminated against people with AIDS, mental illness, diabetes or other costly chronic conditions.

The administration said …

Obama Administration

Medicaid Rolls Surge Under Affordable Care Act

In Idaho, the number of people who signed up for Medicaid has jumped by 13.4 percent. In Georgia, it’s up 12.9 percent. In North Carolina, the rate has climbed 12.4 percent.

None of those states opted to expand their Medicaid programs as part of the Affordable Care Act, but all have seen substantial …

Health Insurance

As Obamacare Boosts Tenet Healthcare, Jeb Bush And Hillary Clinton Win

Just five days before Tenet Healthcare board member and former Florida governor Jeb Bush said last week he would form an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States, the giant hospital operator said it would sponsor a major event with ties to Hillary Clinton near Palm Springs in …

Racial/ethnic differences in uninsurance rates under the ACA: Where you live matters

Initial estimates suggest that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has already reduced uninsured rates across all racial/ethnic groups, likely reducing …


Number of Uninsured Americans Near Historic Low

Just 11.3 percent of Americans were uninsured in the second quarter

New federal government data shows the percentage of Americans without health insurance was at or near historic lows this year following the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, and appears certain to fall to record levels next …

Health Insurance

Unequal Treatment: Where employers use quality control to shape healthcare

Forty miles north of Seattle, in the largest building in the world, Boeing assembles its biggest commercial airliners.

Thousands of workers on a 98-acre factory floor piece together hulking wings and fuselage pieces, miles of electrical wiring and millions of rivets on a production line so precisely …

Health Care

New surgeon general approved despite remarks on guns, contraception

Overruling the objections of gun-rights advocates, the U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy, a British-born, American-educated internal medicine specialist, to become the 19th surgeon general of the United States.

The 51-43 vote makes Murthy, a 37-year-old graduate of Harvard University …