One in three Americans say they have put off getting medical treatment that they or their family members need because of cost. Although this percentage is in line with the roughly 30% figures seen in recent years, it is among the highest readings in the 14-year history of Gallup asking the question.
Legal immigrants are running into fresh problems signing up for insurance on HealthCare.gov, presenting a hurdle in the Obama administration’s efforts to cover more Hispanics.Immigrant groups say people born outside the U.S. who are entitled to private insurance under the Affordable Care Act are having trouble proving their identities to the federal insurance marketplace and uploading documents that demonstrate they are in the country legally. Some also are being routed first to Medicaid, the state-federal insurance for the poor, even though they don’t qualify.The 2010 health law excluded illegal immigrants but extended benefits to certain legal ones. In trying to keep unlawful immigrants out of the system, the enrollment process has made it difficult for lawful ones to get through, immigrant groups say.“A lot of advocates are frustrated,” said Angel Padilla, health policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center.
With a plan released Wednesday by the administration of Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, Wyoming has become the latest state seeking to expand Medicaid.
The plan would provide Medicaid coverage to an additional 18,000 low-income people, according to the state’s health department. If it wins federal and state legislative approval, Wyoming will join 27 states that have expanded the program under the Affordable Care Act, including nine with Republican leadership.
As several other Republican governors have done, Mr. Mead wants to require some people who receive coverage under the expansion to pay something toward the cost. Under his plan, those earning 100 to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — for a single person, $11,670 to $16,105 a year — would have to pay monthly premiums. The premiums could range from about $20 to $50 a month, depending on household size and income, according to a summary of the plan.
As a result, those physicians who have not examined the data in depth are now treating patients on the basis of deeply flawed data. How flawed? That’s the real issue: Because the authors won’t release their data, we don’t know.
It is imperative that, as part of America’s continuing efforts at health care reform, we develop a declaration of principles about the need for data transparency. Our regulatory bodies must insist that clinical trials, and especially taxpayer-funded ones, be open to scrutiny by independent investigators who have no ties to industry. Hoarding data, especially flawed data, is unacceptable when lives are at stake.
One percent of the U.S. population accounts for nearly 23 percent of overall health care spending, and 5 percent are responsible for a full 50 percent of spending. In stark contrast, the lowest-spending half of the population generates less than 3 percent of total spending—or only about $234 per person, per year. Any meaningful effort to control spending growth must account for this extreme concentration. This chart story uses newly-released data to take a closer look at the top spenders, noting factors driving their higher spending and examining the persistence of spending patterns over time.
Despite the enduring unpopularity of Obamacare, Congressional Democrats have up to now stood by their health care law, allowing that “it’s not perfect” but that they are proud of their votes to pass it. That all changed on Tuesday, when the Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat—New York’s Chuck Schumer—declared that “we took [the public’s] mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform…When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me.’”