The media have focused on the recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline for states to decide whether they will create health insurance exchanges. It’s an important issue, but if a state does not agree to build an exchange, the federal government will step in and create one. So either way, all 50 states will end up having health insurance exchanges.
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has published the results of a study that showed a new program for children resulted in fewer days spent in the hospital, lower medical costs and a higher satisfaction rate by families and care coordinators. The tiny “Partners for Children” California public health program increased home and community-based care for terminally ill children on Medicaid – largely by removing a six-month time limit for how early children with terminal conditions can enter hospice care – and it has shown very promising results. If the program results can be replicated on a larger scale, the program might make an important contribution to lowering health costs and helping terminally ill patients spend more of their time at home. (here)
Millions of uninsured Americans will now have access to healthcare as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision last Thursday to uphold the Affordable Care Act. This is a big step forward for the nation, but it raises questions about funding. The nation is already starved for revenue and is supposed to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next eight years through the sequestration process.
Unfunded municipal pension liabilities are getting all the attention now, but it’s the burden of Medicaid and health-care expenses that are really crushing state and county budgets. In California, for example, the state will make a $2.4 billion pension contribution to Calpers and spend approximately $16 billion on Medicaid. The federal government kicks in an additional $25 billion.