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Insurers Will Do Just About Anything to Avoid Public Plan
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Health insurers are so concerned that a public insurance option could destroy their business that they have made concessions over the past few months that would have seemed impossible only a year ago. [Read More]
  May 13, 2009

Editor's Picks
Obama's Budget Targets Healthcare Improvements
As part of his $3.4 trillion budget plan, President Barack Obama included cutting $22 billion in Medicare payments to private insurers as part of "a broader effort to reduce healthcare costs." The Medicare Advantage program is slated for payment cuts of between 4% and 4.5% in 2010. In his budget, Obama also hopes to expand the Children's Heath Insurance Program and provide access to nearly four million newly insured children by 2013. These are very different days in DC. [Read More]
Sebelius: Same Rules for Public and Private Health Plans
Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the House Ways and Means Committee that she sees the public plan option operating much like state employee health plans that are in 30 states. They would be offered side-by-side with private plans and allow Americans to choose the plan that better suits their needs. The goal is to create a level playing field for the two types of plans. She added that healthcare reform "must guarantee choice of doctors and health plans." [Read More]
Healthcare Reform Financing Options Discussed in Senate Committee Paper
The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday will meet behind closed doors and "walk through" policy options on expanding healthcare coverage. These options are found in the second of three papers on healthcare reform released this week by the Finance Committee. The paper presents three alternatives for a public health insurance option: a Medicare-like option that would be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, a public health insurance option that would be administered through multiple regional third-party administrators, and a state-run public health insurance option. The policy paper also presents the option of not creating a public health insurance option, but expanding coverage through a reformed and more regulated private market. [Read More]
Washington Insider: Health Reform in Trouble, Medicare Advantage May Survive
A leading Washington healthcare expert is questioning whether any major healthcare reform will happen this year or even if the proposed Medicare Advantage payment cuts will get through Congress. Robert Laszewksi, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, LLC, in Washington, DC, has been outspoken in his belief that policymakers have simply not found enough money to fund major healthcare reform. Because lawmakers haven't found a way to fund a large reform plan, Laszewski says interests groups and Washington insiders are presenting their own Plan Bs, which include minor tweaks to healthcare rather than wholesale reforms. [Read More]
Congress plans incentives for healthy habits
Congress may give employers new authority to reward employees for healthy behavior as a way to reverse declining health in the country. Congress is considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria, which will make it easier to use financial rewards or penalties to promote healthy behavior among employees. The president has made wellness a part of his health reform, but the incentive idea is being met with opposition from those who see wellness rewards as an infringement on a person's privacy. Population health companies should follow this story because it could have a major impact on their business. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Taxing those with insurance to pay for those without
New York Times - May 8, 2009
Trustees: Medicare Part A Fund Will Go Broke by 2017
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media - May 12, 2009
Searching for $90 billion to expand healthcare
New York Times - May 13, 2009
Despite fanfare, experts say health industry's cost saving plan lacks key details
Washington Post - May 12, 2009
Study: Health Insurance Too Expensive for Many
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - May 11, 2009
Missouri House rejects healthcare expansion
Kansas City Star - May 8, 2009
Extended healthcare for young adults passes in Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Inquirer - May 13, 2009

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