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Federal Report Shows Overall Improvement in U.S. Health Care Quality; Disparities Persist

August 24, 2017

An annual federal report, 2016 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, about health care quality and access indicates that health care quality across the U.S. improved overall from 2000 through 2014-2015, but at different rates for different priority areas. Although some of the gaps in care are lessening, disparities persist, especially among poor and low-income families.

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Report Identifies Opportunities for Providers to Better Meet Consumer Expectations

August 23, 2017

Kaufman Hall’s 2017 State of Consumerism in Healthcare, a compilation of online survey responses from 125 organizations, found that health care providers may not be meeting consumer expectations. As increasing out-of-pockets costs force patients to become more educated about their health care, and more sophisticated as consumers about their choices, providers need to make consumer expectations a higher priority.

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States That Expanded Medicaid Are Reducing Uninsured Amongst Minority Populations; Outreach Important to Sustaining Coverage Gains

August 22, 2017

The Commonwealth Fund recently released a report that shows that the decision by states, such as Pennsylvania, to expand Medicaid has resulted in 2016 uninsured rates for lower-income whites, blacks, and Latinos that were born in the United States dropping below 10 percent. 

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Pennsylvania CHIP Enrollment up 4.1 Percent This Year

August 22, 2017

Pennsylvania has seen 4.1 percent growth in Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment during 2017, despite a slight decline from July to August. Since December 2016, Pennsylvania has added 6,874 eligible children to the state program, increasing from 169,367 last December to 176,241 this month.

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CMS Releases Tool for Transparency in Hospice Care

August 18, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Hospice Compare, an informational website that allows consumers to learn more about hospice care in their area.

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CMS Announces Major Changes to Bundled Programs

August 17, 2017

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would significantly reduce mandatory bundled programs. 

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CMS Extends Deadline for Insurers to File 2018 Rates

August 15, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that insurers participating in the Health Insurance Marketplaces (HealthCare.gov) have until September 5 to file their final rates for 2018. The action provides additional time for insurers to adjust their premiums due to continued uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, including the possibility that cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies will go unfunded next year.

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President Declares Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

August 14, 2017

President Trump has declared the country’s opioid crisis a national emergency and has instructed the administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis.

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Employers Plan to Adopt Consumer-Focused Strategies to Reduce Health Care Costs

August 10, 2017

Two health care employer surveys released recently reveal that, faced with a five to 5.5 percent increase in health care benefit costs in 2018, United States employers plan to adopt new strategies to manage costs.

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Federal Appeals Court Ruling Could Help Preserve Cost Sharing Subsidies

August 02, 2017

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that a coalition of 16 state attorneys general–including Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro–may intervene in the House v. Price appeal relating to the future of cost-sharing subsidies. While the decision does not bar the Trump Administration from ending the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, it does make it more difficult to cut off the payments.

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HAP Statement on U.S. Senate’s Rejection of “Skinny Repeal”

July 28, 2017

News Release:  Early this morning, the U.S. Senate rejected the so-called “skinny” plan to repeal certain portions of the Affordable Care Act. The measure failed by a vote of 49-51, culminating weeks of Congressional efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care landscape. Andy Carter, president and CEO of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), gave the following statement on the result.

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New ANA Recommendations for How Nurses Can Help Optimize Antibiotic Use

July 24, 2017

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently released a white paper outlining the importance of good antibiotic stewardship and the important role nurses can play in optimizing the use of antibiotics in hospital settings.

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State Insurance Commissioner: Pennsylvania’s Individual Health Care Insurance Market is Stabilizing

July 21, 2017

Pennsylvania’s Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller released today the insurer rate filings for health care insurance policy premiums for the 2018 individual marketplace, with an average rate increase of 8.8 percent for individual plans, and 6.7 percent for small group plans. Although the state's individual market is stabilizing, she also stressed that the current uncertainty surrounding national health care law threatens to upset that stability.

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New CBO Analysis on Repeal Legislation: Higher Premiums and 32 Million More Uninsured by 2026

July 20, 2017

A newly released analysis about the direct spending and revenue effects of the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 (ORRA), would significantly increase the number of uninsured Americans. In addition, average premiums for individual health insurance policies would increase as much as 25 percent during the first year. Republican members of the U.S. Senate are vowing to push for a vote as early as next week for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

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Vote on Better Care Reconciliation Act Stalled; Senate Leadership Rethinking ACA Repeal Strategy

July 18, 2017

With four Republican U.S. Senators indicating they could not support the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), there were insufficient votes needed to act on beginning debate on the legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Following that announcement, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement indicating his goal to seek a vote on repealing the ACA with a two-year transition period in which Congress would work to replace the ACA.

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