Affordable Care Act

Obamacare: Health Industry News Recap: 7/27-7/31 – What we learned this week

Published on July 31, 2015


  • More previously uninsured Californians got coverage under Obamacare

According to a recent survey from Kaiser Family Foundation, 68% of Californians who did not have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014 are now covered.
Before the health law, nearly 6 million adults in Californians were uninsured.
Thirty-four percent of the newly insured are covered under Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. Fourteen percent say they are insured through their employer and 12 percent purchased insurance through Covered California.
However, nearly a third of those surveyed this year are still uninsured. Many of them fall into two categories. One group, are undocumented immigrants and as of today are ineligible for coverage.
“Another chunk of those people who are remaining uninsured have been uninsured for a long period of time and therefore may be harder to reach, a harder group to bring into the fold,” said Bianca DiJulio, associate director with the foundation’s Public Opinion and Survey Research Program
Read more: (NPR)

  • California health insurance exchange keeps rate hikes low

According to state officials, premiums in California will rise an average 4 percent for consumers. This increase is slightly less than last year’s increase of 4.2 percent.
Consumers who live in different parts of the state will see different rates.
While some consumers can see their costs going up as much as 13 percent, like the Sana Cruz area, many can see their premiums go down. Many experts are emphasizing the importance to reshop.
Covered California executive director Peter Lee indicated that higher costs for providers were driving the increase stating, “Health care is also local. Where you live frames what your options are. If you live in Los Angeles and you shop around, you could see your premiums go down 11 percent.”
Read more: (NPR) (New York Times)

  • Medicare turns 50 and their patients are getting healthier

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law and changed the lives of Americans forever. The legislation initially provided federal health insurance for the elderly (Medicare) and for the poor (Medicaid).
Medicare provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older regardless of income and health status. The program helps pay for a variety of medical services, including hospital stays, physician visits, and prescription drugs.
Before the enactment of Medicare, nearly half of the elderly had no health insurance and many seniors were living in poverty. Today, Medicare covers nearly 55 million people and 11,000 new seniors become eligible for Medicare every day.
According to a recent study, older Americans on Medicare are spending less time in the hospital, they’re living longer, and the cost of a typical hospital stay has actually gone down in the last 15 years.
This is a tremendous relief as Medicare continues to grow rapidly and drive up the overall cost of the program.
Unfortunately, many are still concerned about Medicare’s future regardless of the positive news.
Joseph Antos, an economist in health policy at the American Enterprise Institute is concerned about the financial health of Medicare if, for example, an effective drug for Alzheimer’s disease is developed.
“I would argue that if anybody came up with an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s today, that treatment would be hailed as a major breakthrough and we wouldn’t be looking at the cost,” Antos says.
Read more: (NPR) (CNBC)

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