Jul 19, 2019

Federal judge upholds Trump's expansion of non-ACA health plans

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A D.C. federal judge upheld Friday the Trump administration's expansion of insurance plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act — a key part of its health care agenda.

The big picture: The Department of Health and Human Services last year allowed consumers to keep barebones, lightly regulated "short-term" health insurance for up to three years — longer than than the Obama administration had allowed. HHS does have the legal authority to change those limits as it sees fit, Judge Richard Leon ruled today.

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The health care debate Democrats aren't having

Candidates at the Democratic debate in Detroit. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tuesday night's field of presidential candidates fought in 30-second soundbites over the merits of single payer Medicare for All versus a public option.

Yes, but: None of the candidates moved beyond sparring over insurance reforms to address the underlying reason why people are having so much trouble affording their health care, which is that health care services keep getting more expensive.

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019

Health Care Vitals: Chicago

Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me, discusses the importance of preventative care at the Axios roundtable. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

This Wednesday, Axios' Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Chicago, digging into the state of health care access and affordability in Illinois.

Local leaders, health tech innovators, and advocates discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable, high-quality care.

Creating inclusive and comprehensive health care

How to measure the impact of effective care was a significant topic of conversation, as well as the fundamentally integrated nature of health across dental care, reproductive care, mental health services, and more.

  • Clark Stanford, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, discussed how dental health acts as a useful indicator for a person's overall health: "Health disparities are revealed in dental care — dental care reflects a patient's larger quality of life."
  • Felicia Davis, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, unpacked the importance of measuring health outcomes versus outputs: "For example, if we give a girl a backpack, does her attendance improve? While saying we donated one thousand backpacks is measuring the output, we want to be measuring outcomes."
  • Paula Thornton Greear, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, expressed support for measuring outcomes over outputs, and approaching the concept of health as not subdivided into different fields: "In reproductive health...we need to work with our partners in the mental health space. We need to put our best foot forward, but we can’t do it in a silo."
How to use data in providing better care

As health providers become increasingly dependent on data, the importance of accurate and accessible information is paramount in providing effective care.

  • Bonnie Lai, Head of Technology at Lumere, advocated for a more integrated approach to health data: "We need data to understand the needs of patients, but the data is siloed and it’s hard to break out of that."
  • Jason Montrie, President of Pareto Intelligence, stressed the need to make data more accessible to patients: "How do we democratize this data? That structure needs to be furthered. Patients should be able to change [their information] so it's always updated and accurate. [And then] how do we take the whole picture of someone, and give that to [a health care provider] who can act on that information?
Health insurance and challenges of access to care

Challenges presented by the complexities of the current systems and addressing the needs of all patients featured prominently in the conversation.

  • Laura Starr, Director of Development and Communications at CommunityHealth, focused on the importance of preventative and integrated care: "We need to do what’s most cost effective and that’s prevention...and integration makes everything more effective."
  • Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me discussed the challenges of the current health care systems and addressing the needs of different populations: "There are really three different health systems: Medicaid, employer-based, and Medicare. How can we lift everyone up? Especially when there are different levers, different populations to serve. What this goes back to is to start people young and focusing on preventative care."
    • Regarding the cherry-picking of patients with different types of coverage: "The reality is that dentists don’t want to see Medicare patients."

Thank you Delta Dental for sponsoring this event.

Keep ReadingArrowJul 25, 2019

Study: 9 out of 10 Americans have health coverage

Progressive Democrats of America rally in D.C. in April. Phot: Win McNamee/Getty Images

America's much-maligned health care system is covering 9 out of 10 people, AP's Ricardo Alonso Zaldivar reports.

Why it matters: "The politicians are depicting a system in meltdown. The numbers point to a different story, not as dire and more nuanced."

Go deeperArrowJul 28, 2019