Public Policy Weekly Clips: February 16, 2016

February 16, 2016 · Paul Cotton

Every Tuesday NCQA gives a rundown of the best national, state and private sector health care articles from the week. Here are our picks for today’s Public Policy Weekly Clips:



Private insurance enrollment rose by over 16M since 2014, contradicting CBO’s projected 8M loss.

Preventive care community health center visits rose 41% from 2014-13 in Medicaid expansion states.

Over 95% of top hospitals are in Marketplace plans, but half cut the number of plan from 2015-16.

HHS is considering use of “march-in rights” to cut prices for drugs developed with federal research.

USPSTF added ages 12-18 to its recommended range for depression screening, rating it as a “B.”

Fully electronic health records are associated with lower in-hospital adverse event rates.

Behavioral interventions like requiring justification in EHRs cut inappropriate antibiotic prescribing rates.

Dementia rates dropped by 44% since the 1970s among those 60 & above with high school degrees.

A NEJM op-ed discusses challenges in getting to standardized patient outcomes measures.

HHS will extend Medicaid coverage to pregnant women and children affected by Flint (MI) water crisis.


Alabama Medicaid got approval to move from FFS to managed care-like “regional care organizations.”

Arkansas’ new DHS director is Cindy Gillespie, a former advisor to Gov. Mitt Romney,

Kentucky’s new Medicaid head is Stephen Miller, formerly with the Kansas Hospital Association.

Kentucky’s former governor is working to stop the new governor’s efforts to dismantle ACA reforms.

Minnesota issued an RFP for Medicaid managed care plans to cover special needs of disabled adults.

Minnesota’s “health care homes” saved the state over $1b over 5 years.

Nebraska awarded Medicaid managed care contracts to UnitedHealthcare, Centene & Aetna.

New Hampshire named Jeffrey Meyers to head HHS.

Virginia wants a wavier for delivery system reform and aged, blind & disabled Medicaid managed care.


Typical employer plans now ask individuals to pay over $1K out of pocket before coverage kicks in.

Deductibles surged 67% since 2010 for employer plans.

HSAs are being touted as helpful for retirement savings, in addition to covering high-deductible bills.

National Association of Manufacturers says health costs are the 2nd-largest business challenge.

Industry experts estimate that by 2018, 80% of employers will offer telehealth to employees

Consumer-directed health plans require employers to educate workers about how to shop for care.

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