Major Health Affairs Conference Discusses What's next for PPACA Implementation

A few weeks ago, many of the country’s leading health experts gathered in Washington D.C. at a Health Affairs sponsored conference entitled “What’s Next for the Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Implementation.”

Waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court Decision: An Overview of Potential PPACA Outcomes

Last month, the United States’ highest court heard oral arguments on what has become the most controversial piece of legislation in recent history, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Many of us wait eagerly for a final decision, which is expected to be published in June. Some key background information is listed below to help put things in perspective.

U.S. Supreme Court Wraps-Up Oral Arguments on PPACA’s Constitutionality by Questioning the Act’s Medicaid Expansion Provision: Justices Now Must Meet in Chambers to Resolve Legal Issues

On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded the final session of oral arguments concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)’s legality by focusing on the Act’s Medicaid expansion provision and whether it unduly coerces state governments. The Supreme Court has previously held that Congress can place conditions on state receipt of funds, but the condition cannot be “so coercive as to pass the point at which the pressure turns into compulsion.”

CMS Reports Trends in National Health Care Spending: Short-Term Health Care Inflation Rates Are In-Check But Long-Term Outlook Not As Clear

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary recently released its updates to the document, National Health Spending Projections: The Estimated Impact of Reform Through 2019. The revised report appears in the December 2011 edition of Health Affairs (subscription only). The update includes health care cost and utilization data and the preliminary estimates of the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The Good News

Concierge Medicine: Changing the Future of Primary Care for Better or for Worse?

Visiting the doctor’s office may not top the list of favorite activities for most consumers, but eliminating common stressors such as juggling one’s schedule to squeeze in an appointment, spending too much time in the waiting room, and then maybe seeing the physician for only a few minutes, can make the experience much more pleasant. 

What if the majority of this stress could be alleviated? According to the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), use of “concierge” or retainer-based physicians can be part of the solution. In fact, the number of these types of physician services has doubled in the past two years, according to AAPP. 

Obama Administration Defends Affordable Care Act in Opening Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court

On January 6, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), one of the most talked about pieces of legislation passed in recent memory. In addition, over a half dozen amicus curiae briefs have been filed since then by interested parties wanting to weigh in on the case.  Oral arguments on the merits of the new health care reform law are scheduled for late March. 

Contract Award Puts Wheels in Motion for Establishing Federal Insurance Exchange Program

In an effort to provide consumers with competitive insurance options as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the federal government has awarded a $93.7 million, multi-year contract to CGI Federal, Inc. to establish a federal health insurance exchange. The Centers for Medicaid & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Consumer  Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has hired CGI Federal, Inc., a U.S.  subsidiary of CGI Group, Inc., to build the federally-sponsored health insurance marketplace that will “provide millions of Americans with ‘one-stop shopping’ for affordable coverage,” according to the CCIIO website. The CGI Group, Inc.

HHS Launches Demonstration Project to Improve Care for Medicare Beneficiaries through Federally Qualified Health Centers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a joint initiative between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) that allocates $42 million dollars to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries in 500 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in 44 states across the country. This initiative is expected to help up to 195,000 beneficiaries.

AHIP Roundtable of State Medicaid Directors Addresses Medicaid and Financing Concerns

The resounding cry of three state Medicaid directors at a recent roundtable focused on concerns related to the financing of state Medicaid and welfare programs. The directors participated in panel discussion held during the American Health Insurance Plan’s (AHIP) annual Medicaid Conference in Washington, D.C.

PPACA’s Public Relations Challenge & Opportunity: Keeping Consumers Informed

When Congress was considering the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in the spring of 2010, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made this now-famous statement: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."[1] Although many poked fun at Pelosi’s gaffe at the time, the reality is that she was right. We are still finding out what is in PPACA, even 18 months after its passage. Above all, the on-going regulatory process has perpetuated this journey.