Public Policy Weekly Roundup: January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016 · Paul Cotton

Every Friday 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 Roundup:


In their 62nd attempt, Congress passed an ACA repeal but lack votes to override Obama’s veto.

CMS is funding $157M in tests to see how meeting social service needs can impact health care.

CMS is proposing that Medicaid cover up to 15 days of inpatient addiction treatment.

CMS proposed expanding its Recovery Audit Program to Medicare Advantage & Part D plans.

Nurse practitioners’ per-enrollee primary care Medicare costs are 29% less than physicians’.

Medicare drug spending jumped 16.9% in 2014 vs 9.5% in 2013

One in 5 insured people, and over half of uninsured people, had trouble paying medical bills last year.

Some Marketplace plans are now offering no-cost primary care visits.

Some state insurance commissioners say a cap 2% on ACA risk adjustments would stabilize markets.

Obama issued rules that allow limited mental health record sharing for gun buyer background checks.

New diabetes guidelines stress obesity management, aspirin for women 50+ & more individualized care.

Low-SES discharges to post-acute facilities have much higher readmissions than those discharged home.

Training on proper self-administration cut readmissions 47% for patients needing IV antibiotics.

A social networking app that lets nurses share patient status updates cut readmissions from 40% to 11%.

Moving homeless people into supportive housing cuts medical costs by nearly the cost of that housing.

Just ¼ of trauma patients have reading skills needed to understand hospital discharge instructions.

Over 90% of nonfatal overdose patients continue to get opioid prescriptions, half from the same doctor.

Cancer deaths rates dropped 23% from a peak in 1991 and continue to drop about 1.5% per year.

Asthma rates in children dropped to 8.3% in 2013 from a high of 9.3% in 2010.

Aetna, following UnitedHealthcare’s lead, is leaving AHIP.

Nationwide Medicaid managed care spending rose from $181B in 2014 to $238B in 2015.


California now requires hospitals to ID patients’ caregivers & inform them of discharge dates & plans.

Florida insurance commissioner Kevin McCarty will resign on 5/2.

Idaho’s governor wants a state-funded Medicaid expansion that covers only primary care.

Kentucky’s new governor now wants to “transform” rather than repeal Medicaid expansion.

Louisiana’s new governor named Rebekah Gee to head health & promised to expand Medicaid by July 1.

New York is letting pregnant women enroll in Marketplace plans outside of open enrollment.


More 500+ employers are offering plans that give workers lump sums for serious illnesses like cancer.

Private exchange use has doubled, but haven’t taken off for small employers.

Voluntary benefits becoming a mainstay in the employee benefits package.

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