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July 9, 2008

On the Road to Reform?

Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Healthcare reform is at the top of the list for many legislators, and it's expected to be a priority on our next president's agenda. But already, there is a push for universal healthcare, as some on Capitol Hill are eyeing a bipartisan and collaborative effort. [Read More]

Editor's Picks
Healthcare groups turn against Schwarzenegger budget plan for California
The Governator's health supporters will not be back-at least not as long as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to make $1.1 billion in cuts to the MediCal program to help close a $17 billion budget gap. A coalition of organizations-including Catholic Healthcare West, the state's largest private hospital chain; the Service Employees International Union; the consumer advocacy groups AARP and Health Access California; and insurers Kaiser Permanente and Health Net, which previously supported the governor's universal healthcare proposal-is speaking out against the budget cuts that they say would cut 1 million Californians' health insurance by the end of his term. [Read More]
UnitedHealth cuts 4,000 jobs and 2008 outlook
UnitedHealth Group Inc. announced it will cut 4,000 jobs to make the company "simpler, leaner, and faster," and plans to focus more on regional coverage. The company also revealed it has agreed to pay $900 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over options backdating that was led by the California Public Employees Retirement System and Alaska Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Pension Trust. [Read More]
Connecticut launches health plan for uninsured
Connecticut has begun accepting applications for its Charter Oak Health Plan, which is for residents who aren't insured through an employer. The state expects to serve a projected 19,200 adults during the first year, which is expected to balloon to 47,200 in its third year. Opponents have criticized the program, which is being contracted by three private insurers, because it will not provide coverage for mental and chronic illnesses. [Read More]
New Jersey moves closer to universal healthcare
New Jersey moved a step closer to becoming the first non-New England state to create a form of universal healthcare as legislators approved a bill expanding a health insurance program for low-income families. The legislation would require all children in the state to have health insurance and expand FamilyCare, the state's health insurance program, to include more poor parents. [Read More]
Healthy San Francisco still working out kinks
Some San Franciscans who thought the Healthy San Francisco program was universal healthcare have been disappointed when they have been declined. Rather than universal care, Healthy San Francisco is only open to individuals earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level, roughly $31,000 a year. City officials have not opened up the program to others because they are awaiting the outcome of a court case regarding the legality of making employers contribute to the plan. [Read More]
Health insurance lags most in Southwest, CDC says
Thirty percent of non-elderly adults and 18% of children in the Southwest don't have health insurance, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. One expert points to a combination of factors, including state policy decisions and that many jobs in the Southwest are service, construction, or other jobs with poor health benefits. On the other side, New England has the largest proportion of its population covered, and one expert suggests that steps in Massachusetts to increase health insurance coverage could further widen the gap between New England and the Southwest. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Debate over health insurance bills continues in Michigan
AP/Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2008
WellPoint employees rewarded for patient care
AP/Chicago Tribune, June 26, 2008
Deadline nears on Highmark talks with Johnstown, PA, hospital system
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 27, 2008
Court lets state keep TennCare files
The Tennessean, June 30, 2008
Maryland patching together expanded coverage for the low-income uninsured
Baltimore Sun, July 1, 2008

Upcoming Events/Audioconferences
July 22: Health Literacy: Four Ways to Create a Successful Program
On Demand: Legal and Tax Implications of Incentive Program Designs
On Demand: Value-based insurance design: Alternative to high-deductible plans
Listen Up
Communicating Properly
Dexter Campinha-Bacote, MD, medical director at Aetna, talks about the reasons why health plans should create a health literacy program and the economic reasons that drive the need. Campinha-Bacote is taking part in a July 22 audioconference on how to create a health literacy program. [Listen Here]
Developments in DM
Keystone Mercy to integrate dental into DM
Keystone Mercy Health Plan intends to roll out a program in Pennsylvania next year that will integrate the Medicaid health plan's dental benefits into its disease management program in an effort to reach more beneficiaries with preventive care. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
When the Auditor Comes Calling
Medicare's RAC demonstration is designed to catch payment mistakes, but some providers say auditors are getting carried away. [Read More]
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