Friday, January 29, 2010

Who would you like to see keynote MDRP 2010?

Is Healthcare Reform on Life Support?

CBS and the Associated Press report that President Obama's health care appeal failed to break the U.S. congressional gridlock Thursday, dimming hopes for millions of uninsured Americans.

Congressional leaders have insisted health care would get passed, even though last week's stunning loss of the Massachusetts seat long held by the late Edward Kennedy cost Democrats the 60-vote supermajority they need to deliver in the 100-member Senate. Many Democrats saw a problem with no clear solution.

After hearing President Obama's speech on Wednesday, where do you think the Nation stands on Healthcare reform? Will we see it slip away or can it still be resuscitated?

Learn more: Health Care Reform Hopes "On Life Support"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama's State of The Union Address -- What will it mean for healthcare policy?

Tonight President Obama is set to deliver a State of The Union Address that will likely discuss the economy and the status of health care reform. Fareed Zakaria told CNN that "The big problem is that there is a sense that he lost focus on the economy and focused too much on health care. He focused too much on the spending side of the economy, that's to say, the pork in the stimulus bill, the expanded coverage in health care, and not enough on being a careful steward of the public's money.

Do you think that The President has focused too much on healthcare? Will tonight's Address be a move in a new direction? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paying for Someone Else's Health Care

Richard Wise recently wrote in this post in that many voters in Massachusetts, before the Senate election took place, saw themselves as having to pay for the uninsured in their own and in other states. This comes to prove that not too many people actually understand how healthcare insurance works or truly understand much about the bills that are approved in Congress. Could this have also caused the stunning Republican's victory in Tuesday's senate race? How will Democrats rethink their health care strategy due to this? Check out this clip from YouTube in which these issues are addressed by both parties.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

California sets rules for seeing doctors faster

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California's patients covered by managed-care will see a reduced wait time when they visit a medical professional.

The state Department of Managed Health Care, which regulates California's health maintenance organization plans, released long-awaited rules Tuesday spelling out how quickly patients must be seen. As part of the rules, people covered by HMOs should get a primary-care appointment within 10 business days and an appointment with a specialist within 15 days.

California is the first state in the United States to implement these regulations.

Learn more: California sets rules for seeing doctors faster

Friday, January 15, 2010

Democrats closer to healthcare agreement

According to Reuters UK, the Democrats are getting close to a healthcare agreement. Both the House and the Senate are making negotiations to find a way to agree on a final healthcare bill before it goes to be signed by the president. There is a push to have this done before early next week when the Democrats lose the majority as former Senator Kennedy's replacement is voted in to office. Next week, they will also be facing other key issues in health care coverage including coverage of abortion and illegal immigrant. Another key issue still to be resolved is how the government run healthcare will be paid for. Read the full article here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NYC City Hospital Chief Calls for Coverage of Immigrants

Kevin Sack of The New York Times reports that Alan D. Aviles, president of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, called for congressional conferees to lift the existing five-year ban on federal health benefits for legal immigrants. Neither plans by Congress or the House do so. Aviles said that illegal immigrants should be able to buy health coverage on new government exchanges at full cost.

“With 12 million undocumented persons in the country, someone’s going to need a doctor,” Aviles said. “They’re going to show up somewhere. The cost of the care is ultimately going to fall on American taxpayers and by letting the undocumented buy into the exchange you’re going to bring those costs down for everybody.”

What do you think of Aviles stance on illegal immigrant healthcare?

Learn more: City Hospital Chief Calls for Coverage of Immigrants

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Breaking new ground at the Medicaid & Medicare Marketing & Enrollment Congress

The Medicaid & Medicare Marketing & Enrollment Congress, created directly from input from professionals in your field is much more than a conference – it is a destination where the industry gathers to share actionable ideas and solutions to create a toolkit for reaching and retaining members in the Managed Care population.

Attend the event, March 22-23, 2010 at the Hilton in Baltimore, Maryland and advance your plans’ strategies to optimize enrollment, maximize retention and ensure compliance in an era of change.

This unique two-day forum is the ideal place to find practical strategies to manage the convergence government and adapt to reform under limited budgets. Attend this event to learn what works through 15+ case studies, facilitated problem-solver sessions and facilitated networking breaks:

• Drive creative partnerships with advocacy groups to expand outreach dollars under limited budgets
• Receive key updates on reform and its impact on marketing to increase plan compliance
• Improve member retention and quality outcomes for better regulatory and financial outcomes
• Integrate marketing across different media channels to grow age-in and current enrollee market share

Want to learn more? Visit the Medicaid & Medicare Marketing & Enrollment Congress website and gain access to:

Industry Resources - bookmark this site today to keep up with the latest headlines in the Medicaid and health plan world
Access to past presentations - take a look at a sample of what was covered at the 2009 event last March
2010 program brochure- finalized and ready for download

This conference is the one annual stop for making your marketing and outreach campaigns effective and cost efficient. Make plans now to attend - I look forward to seeing you in Baltimore!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A look at the healthcare proposals

Fox 43 of Harrisburg, PA, recently broke down the main differences between the two bills being proposed by the House and Senate when it comes to healthcare reform.

Watch the video below:

Are there any key concepts that the House and the Senate are forgetting? What key changes could make for a better national healthcare plan?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Obama Urges Quick Action on Health Overhaul

The New York Times reports that President Obama has urged lawmakers to expedite the nation's healthcare overhaul. In his weekly Saturday address, Mr. Obama highlighted elements of the plan that would take effect soon after enactment of the bill.

He said people with pre-existing illnesses would be able to buy affordable insurance, children with pre-existing conditions would no longer be denied coverage and small-business owners who could not afford to cover employees would receive tax credits to buy insurance.

But this and other health care reform policies cannot happen unless the healthcare bill is signed into place by The President.

Learn more: Obama Urges Quick Action on Health Overhaul

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Healthcare reform's effect on innovation

Gary Shapiro recently wrote in The Hill about the current debate on the healthcare system, and what effects healthcare reform will have on the US's innovation system. With our current healthcare system, we currently see the most innovation in health through out the world. The US has the most innovative breakthroughs, procedures, and drug treatments are developed, tested and offered here in the United States before anywhere else. The article does point out that these achievements are clouded by the unhealthy lifestyle that many Americans keep. This system was built with innovation in mind, encouraging the best and brightest minds to continue advancements in the healthcare system.

Shaprio suggests several things that can keep our healthcare system innovative while controlling the costs:
-Congress should recognize that innovation comes from specialists
-Health-care policy reform must include malpractice reform
-We should recognize that great cost (and energy) savings will soon come from emerging technologies which allow people to test themselves at home to help doctors monitor their status
-We should do everything we can to encourage the sort of disruptive innovation in the medical field that that has characterized the technology industry

Read the article here. How do you think healthcare reform will affect the innovation and top care of patients in the industry?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jonathan Blum, Director of the Center for Medicare Management Joins The Medicare Congress!

The Medicare Congress Team is pleased to announce our latest addition to the speaking faculty:

Keynote Presenter Jonathan Blum, Director of the Center for Medicare Management (CMM), and Acting Director, Center for Drug and Health Plan Choice (CPC) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Don’t miss his Keynote Address at 8:45 AM on Thursday, January 21, on the CMS Regulatory Outlook for Part D and Medicare Advantage Programs in 2010 and Beyond.

Now, with final negotiations beginning on the Senate and House versions of the Healthcare Reform Bill, changes to Medicare as we know it are inevitable. Don’t be left behind by your competitors - Join us at the year’s most respected Medicare event to arm yourself with the tools needed to prove the merit of MA, increase profitability, and deliver value in an increasingly member-centric Medicare system.

Over 40 of the nation's leading Health Plan CEOs and Medicare Directors are already attending, including Aetna, American College of Physicians, BlueCross BlueShield, Essence Healthcare, Gorman Health Group, Healthcare Partners, Henry Ford Health System, Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare, Universal American, and WellPoint. Click here to view the full list.

The 7th Annual Medicare Congress is designed with your entire team in mind, so find out about group discounts and register by this Friday, January 8th, to maximize your savings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rate of Growth in Healthcare Spending at its Lowest

This article in Modern Healthcare discusses how healthcare spending in the US is experiencing the slowest rate of growth in nearly 50 years. Spending growth has only grown 4.4% in 2008 to $2.3 trillion, which is almost a historic low.

It is clear that the economic recession has affected healthcare spending as well as making it difficult for people to afford private insurance. Private insurance benefits also grew at it slowest rate since 1967. What are your thoughts on this decrease in numbers?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Insurance companies bracing for change in healthcare reimbursement

At Modern Healthcare, they look at how new legislation implementing universal healthcare will affect how insurance companies are going to be affected when the new plan roles out, which many believe could be as soon as 2011. In addition to the abundance of regulations that are sure to follow, insurance companies will have to change the way they evaluate hospitals. They could begin paying for care based on performance and begin listening to independent patient advisory boards. They could also change they way they reimburse hospitals when it comes to re admissions for certain ailments. Read the full article here.