Public Policy Weekly Clips: May 25, 2016

May 25, 2016 · Paul Cotton

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.


A bipartisan House bill would risk adjust hospital readmission penalties via socioeconomic stratification.

CDC says the uninsured rate dropped to record low of 9.1% following ACA implementation.

Marketplace plans lost $2.7B in 2014 but results varied widely & plans also in Medicaid did better.

Nearly six out of ten enrollees are satisfied with their ACA Marketplace plan costs.

Highmark is suing the feds for $233M in Marketplace risk corridor payments that Congress blocked.

Cigna wants to cut opioid use among its customers by 25% in the next 3 years.

Final wellness program rules peg incentives to employers’ cheapest plan & bar them for family coverage.

Mental disorders top the list of conditions with the highest spending in the US at $201B.

BCBSA says specialty drug spending per patient increased by 26% from 2013-14.

Common surgeries at rural Critical Access Hospitals have less costs & complication s vs. other hospitals.

Keeping systolic pressure @ 120mm lowers seniors’ heart disease risk by 1/3d & mortality rates by 1/4.

Tai Chi is as good as standard physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis & also improves depression/QOL.

FDA is requiring nutrition labels to list added sugar grams & recommended daily maximum percentages.


ACA plans want average premium hikes of 17.3% in New York, 17.7% in Florida & 13.5% in Washington.

New Jersey’s average ACA premiums being paid actually dropped 2% this year.

Oklahoma’s Medicaid expansion opposition is rapidly softening due to a $1.3B budget hole.

Texas Medicaid expansion has support of 60% of the state’s residents


Just 7% of medium-sized firms plan to stop offering coverage within 5 years, down from 21% in 2013.

A telehealth firm with 100M consumer offers an online marketplace to choose from a menu of doctors.

KFF says nearly 25% of covered workers were enrolled in high-deductible plans in 2015 vs. 13% in 2010.

Employers facing a high-cost specialty drug “tidal wave” need to balance cost control & drug access.

Employers’ medical spending for children grew 5.1% every year from 2010-14 hitting a high of $2,660.

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