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Much of the debate around the Affordable Care Act centers on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which requires that all documented residents of the United States obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The mandate is seen by many as the cornerstone for other popular insurance market reforms.
A nearly two-year-old initiative in California is credited with reducing hospital-related infections and cutting costs with simple solutions, like increased handwashing, better patient oral care and closely following checklists.
A judge ruled that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer can legally reduce enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program as a means to balance the budget. The state has barred childless adults with incomes above the federal limit for Medicaid from either enrolling or re-enrolling in the program; a move that is projected to save $207 million this year.
Connecticut has received federal approval to set a flat premium for the state’s Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan. This rate will ensure coverage for $381 a month for any individual who qualifies.
Five health insurers, including two of the nation’s largest (Cigna and Aetna), have decided to stop selling individual insurance policies in Indiana. This trend has prompted the state’s Department of Insurance to request to defer components of the federal health reform law.
Following health reform in 2006, safety-net hospitals and community health centers, which were originally created to serve the underserved and uninsured, have not seen a decrease in demand. Despite Massachusetts’ law mandating health insurance coverage, the number of patients receiving care from community health centers increased by 31 percent between 2005 and 2009, while individuals seeking care at safety-net hospitals rose 9.2 percent in non-emergency ambulatory care and 1.8 percent in inpatient admissions.
The Missouri Health Insurance Pool announced that its board has cut premiums by 23 percent for new and current policyholders, as a means to boost enrollment in the state’s pre-existing conditions health plan.
The South Carolina State Budget and Control Board will increase health insurance premiums for those participating in the state health insurance plan by a total of nine percent, which will be spread equally between employees and employers, with each paying 4.5 percent more. This increase translates to families paying $143 more a year for health insurance.
Governor Sam Brownback stated that Kansas will return a $31.5 million federal grant intended to aid in the creation and establishment of a health insurance exchange. This decision comes amid pressure from Republican lawmakers to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Economists tracking health care expenditures state that Alaska’s spending is growing at an eight percent annual rate. If spending continues at this rate, health care spending could reach approximately $8 billion in 2011. If this trend were to remain consistent, spending would hit $10 billion in 2015 and $14.5 billion in 2020.
To secure sustainable health system reform and quality, affordable care across America, NCHC and its allies are working to educate the public, support coalition building and foster citizen engagement in policy advocacy at the national, state and community levels. NCHC appreciates the generous support of The California Endowment and all of our strategic partners without which this critical work would not be possible.