Archive for November 2012
Expanding Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act would cost Pennsylvania $1.96 billion over the ten years beginning in FY 2013, according to a new report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. While that price tag may seem steep, it is only 1.4 percent more than the additional money the state would spend if it declines to expand its Medicaid program as the 2010 health care reform law envisioned. Expanding Medicaid would spur a 52 percent increase in the number of Pennsylvanians with health insurance. Without the Medicaid expansion, the number of insured would rise 28.9 percent because of other Affordable Care Act provisions. Pennsylvania’s safety-net hospitals would benefit greatly from the expansion of Medicaid in the … Read More
In a Sunday editorial, the Philadelphia Inquirer has urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to expand the state’s Medicaid program, as called for in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Expansion, the editorial notes, would bring health insurance to 600,000 additional people, with the federal government picking up most of the tab, while creating jobs and boosting the state’s economy. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial here.
As part of a three-part series titled “Labor Pains,” the Philadelphia Business Journal has documented the OB/NICU disproportionate share (DSH) payments that Philadelphia-area hospitals have received from Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program since 2007. Many of the recipients are safety-net hospitals, including a number of members of the Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP). Read about the payments and why they were created and gain access to other parts of the “Labor Pains” series via this Philadelphia Business Journal article.
Without explicitly ruling out expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, which is now an optional part of the federal health care reform law, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has hinted broadly that the state may not be prepared to spend the additional money such an expansion would necessitate. “I don’t think there’s any way we can absorb this,” the governor told the Pennsylvania Press Club, speaking of the Medicaid expansion that is a major part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Read more about what those costs would be, and the challenges the state would face in expanding its Medicaid program, in this PA Independent article.
Ten of the 21 busiest maternity units in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2011 were in safety-net hospitals. And three of those top five are members of the Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP): Pennsylvania Hospital (#2), the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (#3), and the Albert Einstein Medical Center (#5). Other SNAP members in the top 21 are Hahnemann University Hospital (#11) and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (#12). SNAP views offering maternity services as one of the core functions of safety-net hospitals. Most safety-net hospitals offer this service. To learn more about which hospitals are delivering babies in what numbers in southeastern Pennsylvania, read this Philadelphia Business Journal article.
Margins were up for Pennsylvania rehabilitation hospitals and down for free-standing psychiatric hospitals in 2011. This news comes from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), which has just released its latest report, Financial Analysis 2011 – Volume Three, which details the financial performance of rehabilitation, free-standing psychiatric, long-term care acute, and specialty hospitals in Pennsylvania in 2011. Among other interesting findings, Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance program accounted for 54.9 percent of patient revenue at the state’s 19 psychiatric hospitals. Find the report, a news release announcing its publication, and the data from the report available as an Excel file here, on the council’s web site.
With President Obama re-elected and Congress unlikely to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania officials now face a major decision: will they expand the state’s Medicaid programs as the law originally intended? The original health care reform law made that expansion mandatory, but earlier this year, the Supreme Court left the expansion decision to individual states. While some governors have already declared their intention to expand their Medicaid programs and others have announced that they will not, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has not yet announced a decision. Why would the state choose to expand its Medicaid program, considering that it will end up costing taxpayers more money? On the other hand, why would it choose to leave billions of federal … Read More
Pennsylvania must inform the federal government by November 16 whether it intends to create a state health insurance exchange as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act. If the state decides not to create its own exchange, the federal government will create an exchange for it. While some observers believe the state has intentionally not invested a great deal of time and effort in developing the exchange – or spent any of the $33 million the federal government gave it for this purpose – state officials insist that they are moving ahead with the work but have been hampered by a lack of direction from the federal government. In August, state insurance commissioner Michael Consedine wrote to U.S. Health and Human … Read More
While President Obama’s re-election probably spells the end of talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act, many questions remain about how – and how completely – the health care reform law passed in 2010 will be implemented. In the days following the election, observers are asking these and other questions. In the article “Federal Deficit Talks Could Impact Obama’s Moves on Health Law,” Kaiser Health News speculates about the future of some of the more controversial and expensive aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board; the extensive insurance subsidies for which many Americans will be eligible; the future of the medical device tax; and the law’s provisions that limit the degree to which … Read More
Pennsylvania’s switch to HealthChoices to serve nearly the entire state Medicaid population is running into short-term obstacles in parts of the state. Some recipients, for example, failed to choose a participating managed care plan, were assigned to plans, and now are confused about where to go and how to obtain care. In other instances, physicians are still negotiating with those plans or waiting to be credentialed for participation. Some Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, because of where they are located and their especially large numbers of Medicaid patients, may experience these problems more than the average hospital. Read more about the challenges Medicaid recipients are encountering during this transition in this Erie-Times News article.