09/23/2019

News

She keeps her teeth in a box – evidence of a system that failed her

Still, critics of the program say the coverage that was brought back in California is sorely inadequate. Today, adult Medi-Cal patients can get a root canal on a front tooth, but not a back tooth. They can get full dentures, but not partial dentures.

“It’s either you should kill it or fund it,” said Paul Downey, chairman of the California Commission on Aging. “Now it’s in a limbo where it’s not useless, but it’s close to useless.”

Slow website
Read More

Opinion: California’s ‘Free’ Health Care Won’t Come Cheap

It wouldn’t be the first time that a high price tag torpedoed a government takeover of health care. In 2014, Vermont’s attempt at single-payer ended abruptly when Gov. Peter Shumlin rejected the 11.5% payroll tax hike and 9.5% individual tax hike required to fund the program. Yet the financial costs of single-payer are practically negligible compared with the human costs.

Consider the Department of Veterans Affairs’ scandal-plagued single-payer health program. Last month, the agency’s inspector general found that more than 100 veterans died while waiting for care at a Los Angeles VA facility between October 2014 and August 2015. 

Read More

Editorial: Federal Fuel Economy Mandates Are Deadly

Regulations: A new study confirms what most people would take as a given — that smaller cars are less safe than bigger cars. So why is the federal government trying to force people into smaller, less-safe vehicles? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that of the 10 cars with the highest death rates over model years 2012-2015, eight are either small or minicars. On the other hand, of the 10 cars with the lowest death rates, four were large and five were midsize. The other was a Toyota pickup.

Read More

“Economic Analysis of the Healthy California Single-Payer Health Care Proposal (SB-562)”

There will be two sources of financing for Healthy California. The first is the same public health care revenue sources that are presently providing about 71 percent of all health care funding in the state. These include Medicare and MediCal, which together provide nearly 50 percent of all health care funding in California at present. It also includes tax subsidies for health care expenditures by individuals and households in the state, which provide about 9 percent of the state’s total health care funding. The Healthy California bill is explicit in stating that the State will work to obtain waivers in all of the present areas of public health funding, so that these present funding sources will continue to finance Healthy California. Assum ing the state is successful in obtaining these waivers, these funds will provide $225 billion in funding for the state’s single -payer program. That means that the remaining $106 billion to fund Healthy California will need to be provided by new revenue sources in the state.

Research & Studies
Read More

The price tag on universal health care is in, and it’s bigger than California’s budget

It would cost $400 billion per year to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.

California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, likely in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.

Slow website
Read More

Editorial: California’s Road To Single-Payer Ruin

It’s not as if other states haven’t tried. Vermont, possibly the only state rivaling California in terms of its far-left politics, passed a single-payer plan into law in 2011. But Gov. Peter Shumlin, the progressive politician behind the law, took one look at the $4.5 billion annual cost — which would have required an 11.5% payroll tax, along with a separate tax on individuals of as much as 9.5% — and said “”No thanks.”” He quietly shut it down in 2014.

Inspired by the Clinton health care plan, a number of other states in the 1990s took steps toward a single-payer system.

Tennessee was one of them. “”TennCare bled so much money the sales-tax-only Volunteer State repeatedly scaled back the program and even considered adopting a state income tax just to pay for its health care plan,”” wrote Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, in a piece that appeared in IBD last month.

Kentucky, too, went down that road in the 1990s. It passed a new law requiring insurers to cover everyone who applied, no matter what. At the start of KentuckyCare, the state had 45 insurers. Within just a few years, it had only three. The plan was mostly dismantled in 2000.

Read More

Funding the Medi-Cal Program

California’s uninsured rate has declined dramatically in the past few years. Much of the increase in health coverage has been the result of the state’s decision to expand Medi-Cal, its Medicaid program, under the Affordable Care Act. While the federal government has funded a large share of program growth, state costs have also risen. This cost growth, combined with major policy shifts still conceivable at the federal level, has created additional uncertainty about the future of Medi-Cal financing. As state lawmakers and other stakeholders plan for the future of the program, it is important to understand how Medi-Cal is currently financed and how it fits into California’s overall budget.

Research & Studies
Read More

Half of Americans are responsible for only 3 percent of health care costs

The top 1 percent of health-care spenders use more resources, collectively, than the bottom 75 percent, according to a new study based on national surveys. Slice the data a different way, and the bottom half of spenders all together rack up only about 3 percent of overall health care spending — a pattern that hasn’t budged for decades. This creates a fundamental inequality in the country’s health spending that is the crux of the challenge policymakers face: They need a system that works for people who are ill, but is attractive to those who are healthy and spend little on health care.

Read More

Obamacare Repeal Could Punch $15 Billion Hole in State Budget

Since 2014, Medi-Cal rolls have swelled from about 8 million Californians to about 14 million. One reason: the Affordable Care Act greatly expanded Medicaid eligibility for childless, low-income adults — more than 3 million new Medi-Cal enrollees have qualified because of that change since 2014. Along with the expanded eligibility came expanded federal funding for Medi-Cal, to the tune of more than $15 billion this fiscal year alone.

Read More

Obamacare’s end may be $20 billion hit to California

Almost $20 billion in annual federal stimulus money to California could go on the chopping block when President-elect Donald Trump tries to make good on his promise to end Obamacare. Insurance coverage for more than five million Californians, thousands of jobs and a hefty chunk of business for health plans, providers, brokers and others hang in the balance.

Read More

What Happens to Medi-Cal Under a Trump Administration?

“Twenty million Americans now have health coverage because of Obamacare. A full quarter of them are in California. And most of them are covered by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. Right now, the federal government shares the cost of Medicaid with the states, no matter how many people are enrolled. But Trump wants to cap that funding, and just give states one fixed grant.”

Read More

Obama administration confirms double-digit premium hikes for healthcare

Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Obama’s healthcare law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday. . . Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25% across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read More

State Retiree Health Plan Spending

States’ actual expenditures for OPEB totaled $18.4 billion in 2013, or 1.6 percent of state-generated revenue. . . . If states had instead set aside the amount suggested by actuaries to pay for OPEB liabilities, their total payments that year would have more than doubled to $48 billion—4 percent of state-generated revenue—and spending to fully fund OPEB obligations would have outpaced what states contributed to active state employee health premiums.

Research & Studies
Read More

State retiree health care could cost California $6.6 billion a year

However, the state would have to spend over three times as much – $6.6 billion a year – to fully cover current health care costs and whittle down its $80.3 billion unfunded liability for future health care obligations, according to a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Slow website
Read More

Medi-Cal set to expand coverage to undocumented children

Starting May 1, Felix and roughly 170,000 other undocumented children in California will have more options during such crises. They’ll gain access to not just emergency coverage but dental care, check-ups, mental health treatment and other vital services following an unprecedented Medi-Cal expansion that provides full coverage to all low-income children in the state, regardless of immigration status. . . The Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented children is exclusively state funded and is expected to cost the Department of Healthcare Services about $132 million annually.

Slow website
Read More