" The Voice Of Interventional Pain Management "
January 8, 2014
Docs Should Know About the ACA
WASHINGTON -- It's a given
that several million people will have gained coverage under the Affordable Care
Act -- roughly 3.9 million in Medicaid and more than 2.1
million in private insurance, according to the Obama administration.
Those numbers are sure to grow as open enrollment continues through the end of
But there are other
ACA-related issues America's physicians need to concern themselves with besides
the increased number of people with health insurance.
reached out to a handful of experts to see what they think doctors should know
and be aware of as the law's coverage expansion starts.
Uninsured on Medicaid Doesn't Cut ER Visits
Some supporters of
President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul say that putting uninsured
Americans on Medicaid will reduce costly emergency-room visits by giving them
more access to care in other settings.
But a new study found the
reverse: A group of 10,000 low-income Oregon residents who recently obtained
Medicaid coverage visited ERs 40% more often than those without
The new Medicaid recipients
used ERs more often for all kinds of health issues, including problems that
could have been treated in doctors' offices during business hours, according to
the study published Thursday in the journal Science. Earlier studies had found
the same patients used more of other medical services as well.
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Practice: Key Healthcare Dates for 2014
The coming year will usher in some monumental changes in the world of
healthcare, and we have the dates to prove it.
Whether they are dealing
with ICD-10, further rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or the
"meaningful use" program for electronic health records, clinicians should note
these key dates in 2014. Pay especially close attention to late March and early
Costs to manage
pain will go up under Obamacare
The federal government took
a dangerous step backwards late last month that will not only cost taxpayers
more, it will eventually lead to the broader use of narcotics and other pain medications.
Under proposed rules
related to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise
known as Obamacare, the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued proposed
guidelines earlier this summer. Those proposed guidelines offered some cuts in
payments for interventional pain management practices.
Fair enough. The cuts were
tough, they were bad policy, but they were bearable.
Up, but % of GDP Falls
The percentage of the overall economy devoted to health spending fell slightly
in 2012 -- from 17.3% in 2011 to 17.2% -- even as healthcare continued its trend
of slow growth, government economists said Monday.
It was the first time the percentage of gross domestic spending on healthcare has
fallen since 1997, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) Office of the Actuary said Monday in its annual health spending
Overall, national health
spending increased by 3.7% in 2012 -- roughly the same as the 3.8% to 3.6%
spending growth experienced annually between 2009 and 2011, according to the CMS
report published Monday in Health Affairs. All 4 years have been
the slowest rates ever recorded in the 53-year history of CMS' National Health
Expenditure Accounts report.
giving insurers less say in painkiller prescription process
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg
(D-Teaneck) says that when it comes to pain medication, doctors, not insurers,
should have the final say on what brands and dosages should be prescribed to
That's why Weinberg's a
primary sponsor on a bill advanced Monday by the Senate Budget and
Appropriations Committee that would limit the abilities of insurers to require
patients to treat pain through step therapy or fail-first protocols.
want my doctor to be in charge of my medical care," Weinberg said.
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