MASSDEVICE ON CALL — White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the Affordable Care Act this week, asserting that a setback for the employer-based insurance mandates will not delay the over-arching reform time line.
State-based insurance exchanges are still set to kick off on October 1, despite the Obama administration’s softening of some deadlines regarding patient data gathering requirements.
"We have made clear all along when it comes to working with states that we are flexible with the way that they implement the Affordable Care Act," he said in a White House press briefing.
The biggest setback to the Affordable Care Act – a delay in the employer insurance exchange mandates – drew criticism from Republican who claimed that it may spell the end of healthcare reform. Carney maintained that relaxed deadlines for certain provisions will not hinder overall reform.
The cost of birth without insurance? Who knows
The New York Times‘ Gina Kolata detailed the challenges facing families attempting to shed some light on how much it costs to deliver a baby, lighting about her daughter’s experiences as an uninsured expectant mother. In her Op-Ed, Kolata criticized the confusing maze of insurance policies for pregnant women, who are often excluded from purchasing insurance for birth because pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition.
Use of EMR triples in 3 years
The use of electronic medical records by hospitals in the U.S. has tripled since 2010, after the government started doling out cash incentives for moving away from paper.
A study in the journal Health Affairs showed that in 2012 44% of hospitals were using some kind of basic electronic system and 38% of doctors offices adopted electronic record keeping.
Obama challenges his staff to use more web-based technology in 2nd term
President Obama and his CTO, former Silicon Valley entrepreneur Todd Park, made the rounds at media networks this week, challenging the 2nd term administration to embrace new technology in healthcare reform. Obama wants his cabinet and staff to use the internet to streamline insurance exchanges, allow patients to shop for plans, help track records and create new waste-cutting tools.
CMS proposes new rules to reign in outpatient care
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed reimbursement changes that will encourage more in-patient care. The new rule would bump senior health insurance prices for out-patient departments up 1.8%. Out-patient services are 20% of an average hospital’s Medicare payments.