HCAO News

Millennials on Obamacare: what do you mean, affordable?

'Young invincibles' struggle to come up with reasons to justify paying for health insurance, finding obstacles and not incentive.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

by Jana Kasperkevic
heguardian.com, Sunday 6 April 2014

When President Obama promised millennials that they could get health insurance for $100 a month or less, he wasn't thinking of Assante, a young New Yorker with two part-time jobs and a high cost of living.

Assante works two part-time jobs as a server and has lived in New York for about five years. One of his jobs offers health insurance – but only to full-timers. "But because I am part-time, I don't qualify for it anyway.”

He's decided, instead, to stay uninsured and pay whatever one-time penalty comes up.

"At least taking the penalty, it's just something I have to deal with once, at the end of the year," says Assante, who asked to only be identified by his first name. "Since I don't make a lot of money, the cheapest plan that I was able to get was probably $75 a month plan, but my deductible was about $6,000. By the time I would reach my deductible, it would be a couple of years.”

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How does Oregon rate when it comes to health transparency? Hint: Not too well

Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute rate states' health transparency laws.

Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute rate states' health transparency laws.

Elizabeth Hayes, Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal

When it comes to transparency, most U.S. states, including Oregon, have a lot of work to do, according to a new report card issued by Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute.

All but five states received an F and none got an A. Colorado, Vermont and Virginia earned C's, and Maine and Massachusetts garnered B's.

The groups analyzed state-specific laws and regulations surrounding price transparency in health care and state-mandated price transparency websites.

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PhRMA's Money Affects Human Lives–and Journalism Too

by Jim Naureckas
FAIR Blog, March 27, 2014

Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo (3/27/14), is "excited to announce that we've launched a very cool new section" to the  website called Idea Lab: Impact. Marshall describes its focus:

How is science and applied technology affecting real human lives? How is it impacting people and communities living on the margins of global wealth and on the margins of the technological transformations of the 21st century–whether that's in Sub-Saharan Africa or Appalachia or in congested great cities of the world. Basically, how is and how can science and technology change the lives of people in their everyday lives–not only with their gadgets and not only for people who command great wealth, but real world impacts for everyone.

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President Jimmy Carter: "A Call To Action

The Diane Rehm Show
March 26, 2014

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks during an interview on Monday March 24, 2014 in New York.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks during an interview on Monday March 24, 2014 in New York.

Diane Rehm:  Briefly, how do you feel about the Affordable Care Act?

President Jimmy Carter:  I was disappointed the way it was done and the complexity that it assumed. Instead of taking a leadership role from the White House and saying, “This is what we think is best,” they had five different congressional committees do it and it got, I think, the lowest common denominator, which is the most complex system. I would really have favored just the expansion of Medicare to include all ages, rather than just to deal with old people.

Video (38 second clip of quote above; also full 51 minute video):

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Comment by Don McCanne (Quote of the Day)

Characterizing the Affordable Care Act as “the lowest common denominator - the most complex system,” President Jimmy Carter tells us that he would have favored “the expansion of Medicare to include all ages.”

He’s right, and here’s why.

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Concerns about cancer centers under health law

by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press
Updated 5:05 pm, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This photo taken Feb. 24, 2014, provided by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, shows Dr. Willie Underwood, a urologic oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, examining patient Richard Waldrop at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, N.Y. Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health care law may be disappointed to learn that some of the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off limits. Only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to an Associated Press survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state’s exchange, or primary market. Photo: Bill Sheff, AP

This photo taken Feb. 24, 2014, provided by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, shows Dr. Willie Underwood, a urologic oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, examining patient Richard Waldrop at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, N.Y. Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health care law may be disappointed to learn that some of the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off limits. Only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to an Associated Press survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state’s exchange, or primary market. Photo: Bill Sheff, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of America's best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation's new health care program.

Doctors and administrators say they're concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington's insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it's in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP's survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states' exchanges.

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When the US Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Still Cares Enough to Fight?

Published on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by Common Dreams
by Donna Smith

We can tally the deaths that we know are caused by denials of care or medical errors in the U.S. health care system, and those numbers are horrifying.  Yet most of the American public doesn't pay much attention to the issue, and many only gripe about the health care system when their costs for maintaining health coverage or getting care exceed what is available in their personal budgets.  We live in a highly individualistic and selfish society when it comes to many of life's most essential needs.  And unless we can figure out a way to reward most Americans for having a sense of empathy toward those who are sick or weak, I am afraid it will be difficult to protect our current social safety net programs (including Medicare) or to reinvent our health care system without profit and business success as its primary motivations.

I work for a small non-profit that supports single-payer reform in health care financing.

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