Register-Herald: Hey West Virginia, Sen. Manchin Wants to Hear What CHIP Means to You

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By Wendy Holdren/Beckley Register-Herald

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is asking West Virginia families to share stories on how the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has made an impact in their lives and the lives of their children.

CHIP provides health insurance to almost nine million children in America, and ensures that more than 21,000 children in West Virginia have access to needed healthcare services.

To share your CHIP story with Sen. Manchin, email it to chip@manchin.senate.gov.

“As any West Virginian, I believe that we must take care of our children first and foremost,” Manchin said. “No matter where a child lives or how much their family makes, we owe it to them to make sure they receive the best health care available.”

He called Congress’ failure to reauthorize CHIP “disgraceful.” The program expired Sept. 30 this year, and unless the program is reauthorized, West Virginia is expected to freeze enrollment in the program Feb. 28, 2018.

CHIP in West Virginia is currently 100 percent funded by the federal government. Without CHIP, Manchin said tens of thousands of West Virginian children are at risk of losing health insurance coverage…

Read the full story at www.register-herald.com

Follow the author on Twitter @WendyHoldren

New York Times: Which Country Has The Best Healthcare System?

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By Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt/New York Times

To better understand one of the most heated U.S. policy debates, we created a tournament to judge which of these nations has the best health system: Canada, Britain, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia and the U.S.

“Medicare for all,” or “single-payer,” is becoming a rallying cry for Democrats.

The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it.

This is often accompanied by calls to match the health care coverage of “the rest of the world.” But this overlooks a crucial fact: The “rest of the world” is not all alike.

The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it, some relying heavily on the government (as with single-payer); some relying more on private insurers; others in between.

Experts don’t agree on which is best; a lot depends on perspective. But we thought it would be fun to stage a small tournament.

We selected eight countries, representing a range of health care systems, and established a bracket by randomly assigning seeds…

Read the full story at nytimes.com

Healthcare Dive: Study Shows Health Benefits of Early Access to Medicaid Extend for Generations

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By Meg Bryant/Healthcare Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Access to health services in utero and during early childhood improves not only the health outcomes of those children but of their offspring as well, in terms of higher average birth weight and reduced incidence of very low birth weight, a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds.
  • The researchers analyzed data in the 1994-2015 Vital Statistics Natality files to see the impact of an individual’s early Medicaid eligibility on later offspring’s health at birth. All of the infants’ mothers were born between 1979 and 1986, when changes in eligibility rules led to big uptick in prenatal Medicaid coverage.
  • They found that a 10% rise in the first generation’s in utero Medicaid eligibility raises the second generation’s average birth weight by 4.4 grams and lowers the incidence of very low birth weight by 0.1%…

Read the full story at www.healthcaredive.com

Free Adult Dental Services Now In Beckley

It’s been 5 years in the making and now Beckley Health Right has opened its brand new state of the art equipped dental clinic (2-chair Operatory, Completely Digital, Hand-Held Nomad X-ray System, Panorex, Built in Dental Lab).  With the help of Dr. Travis Wills volunteering his time as the Dental Director and one full time hygienist on staff they are able to offer Prophylaxis, Xrays, Extractions, screenings, Evaluations and the expansion services will include dentures and restorative work.  Other volunteers making this much needed service possible are Dr. Brett Eckley DDS, Dr. Andrew Dickens DDS, Dr. Dan Foley DDS, Dr. Greg Harvey DDS ,Dr. Steve Childress, and other New River Dental Society Members.

Special thanks to:

WV Public Broadcasting: Could These 5 Controversial Ideas Fix Our Health Insurance Markets?

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By Julie Rovner/Kaiser Health News

With Republican efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act stalled, tentative bipartisan initiatives are in the works to stabilize the fragile individual insurance market that serves roughly 17 million Americans…

…Policymakers generally agree on what immediate efforts to stabilize the market might include. At the top of most lists is prompt federal payment of the subsidies to insurers known as “cost reduction payments.”

Here are five proposals that are more controversial — but are starting to generate buzz in policy circles.

These are the payments that reimburse insurers for the discounts on copayments and deductibles they are required by law to give to their low-income customers.

Insurers also want the federal government to continue enforcing the requirement that most Americans either have insurance or pay a tax penalty.

The government also needs to work hard to get uninsured people to sign up for coverage during the upcoming open enrollment period, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, insurers insist.

Those federal efforts are essential, the firms say, to keeping enough healthy customers in the mix to defray the costs of beneficiaries who have high medical needs.

Those are among the most commonly proposed fixes for the insurance market. Here are five proposals that are more controversial — but are starting to generate buzz in policy circles.

1. Allow people into Medicare starting at age 55.

Getting slightly younger people into Medicare, the federal program for the disabled and Americans 65 and older, is a longtime goal of Democrats. It dates at least to President Bill Clinton’s administration and was nearly included in the Affordable Care Act in 2010…

Read the full story at wvpublic.org

HealthCare Dive: 3 Years In, Medicare Shared Savings Program Demonstrates Reduced Spending, Improved Care

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Shannon Muchmore/HealthCare Dive

The Brief:

  • An analysis of the first three years of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) shows that most participating accountable care organizations (ACO) reduced spending and improved care quality in that time, according to a report from the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG).
  • The ACOs reduced spending by a total of $3.4 billion in the three years studied for a net reduction of nearly $1 billion, but some of them contributed far more to that figure than others. About half of the reduction was generated by just 36 ACOs out of the total 428, and three in that group were responsible for a quarter of that amount.
  • A small subset of the participating ACOs had substantially reduced spending without sacrificing quality. That group reduced spending by an average of $673 per beneficiary, partly through increasing primary care services and reducing emergency department visits.

Read the full story at www.healthcaredive.com