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What We’re Reading - January 29, 2015

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
January 29, 2015
A rundown of some of the articles and stories that caught our eye this month:

Dilemma Over Deductibles: Costs Crippling Middle Class
Physician Praveen Arla is witnessing a reversal of health care fortunes: The poor are getting care and others with high-deductible plans are putting it off.
USA Today

Bernie Sanders Got Republicans To Make His Argument For Universal Health Care
“.. to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has long supported the creation of a universal health care system, battling over that particular point began to seem absurd, and he opened his remarks by noting that in every other developed country, such a debate would make no sense at all.

‘The argument of whether you provide health insurance to people who work 30 hours a week or whether they work 40 hours a week -- whoa,’ Sanders said. ‘In every major country on Earth, health care is a right of all people.’"
The Huffington Post, January, 23, 2015

To Extend or Not to Extend the Primary Care ‘‘Fee Bump’’ in Medicaid?
"While fee increases have not been shown to dramatically increase physician participation in Medicaid, efforts to reduce payment delays, administrative burdens, or the risks of beneficiaries churning off Medicaid may affect PCP participation in Medicaid as much or more. It may also be possible to achieve improvements in access through a more selective application of reimbursement-based incentives, directing those incentives to types of care providers more likely to respond to them. Moreover, efforts focusing on other determinants of patient access to care (e.g., provider network restrictions, transportation, language barriers) have significant potential to improve Medicaid beneficiaries? access to care."
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

The Uninsured: A Primer - Key Facts About Health Insurance and the Uninsured in America
“The gaps in our health insurance system affect people of all ages, races and ethnicities, and income levels; however, those with the lowest incomes face the greatest risk of being uninsured. Being uninsured affects people’s access to needed medical care and their financial security. The access barriers facing uninsured people mean they are less likely to receive preventive care, are more likely to be hospitalized for conditions that could have been prevented, and are more likely to die in the hospital than those with insurance. The financial impact also can be severe. Uninsured families struggle financially to meet basic needs, and medical bills can quickly lead to medical debt.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation, January 12, 2015

The Economic Benefits of Paid Parental Leave
If President Obama has his way, paid leave for new parents and people caring for ailing relatives will become national policy. Last month, he gave federal employees the right to take six weeks of paid leave when they become parents. And in his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama framed paid leave as a crucial economic matter.
The Upshot via The New York Times, January 30, 2015

Obamacare 2.0: the White House's Radical New Plan to Change how Doctors Get Paid
The idea is to move away from the broken and expensive "fee-for-service" system, which pays doctors a flat amount for every surgery and physical they perform — even if they do nothing to actually help a patient. If this works, the White House hopes it will do two things. The first is improve the quality of health care in the United States, by paying doctors the most when they provide the best care possible.
Vox, January 26, 2015