US states are being given more freedom and flexibility in the implementation of health reform as stipulated in the Affordable Care Act, which aims to make sure all US citizens have access to affordable, quality health insurance, according to a bulletin released by the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services). In order to achieve cover for everybody, the law aims to ensure that health insurance plans on offer have a comprehensive package of services and items, which the HHS refers to as "essential health benefits". In today's HHS bulletin, there is a proposal that explains to stakeholders how it plans to define essential health benefits. In a communiquÃ, the HHS wrote: "HHS is releasing this intended approach to give consumers, states, employers and issuers timely information as they work toward establishing Exchanges and making decisions for 2014.
The first federally funded report to compare children with special health care needs to children without reveals 14 percent to 19 percent of children in the United States have a special health care need and their insurance is inadequate to cover the greater scope of care they require for optimal health. The report, Children with Special Health Care Needs in Context: A Portrait of States and the Nation 2007, provides an enhanced view of children by illustrating their health, health care, home and family environments, and school and neighborhood environments compared with their peers without special health care needs. It is based on findings from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
First-Of-Its-Kind Study Finds Public Health Insurance Coverage For Infants Is More Comprehensive And Costs Less Than Private Plans
In the fierce national debate over a new federal law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, it's widely assumed that private health insurance can do a better job than the public insurance funded by the U.S. government. But a first-of-its-kind analysis of newly available government data found just the opposite when it comes to infants covered by insurance. Among the insured, infants in low-income families are better off under the nation's government-funded public health insurance than infants covered by private insurance, says economist and study author Manan Roy, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The finding emerged from an analysis that was weighted for the fact that less healthy infants are drawn into public health insurance from birth by its low cost. The finding is surprising, says Roy, because the popular belief is that private health insurance always provides better coverage.
Dr. Donald M. Berwick, head of Medicare and Medicaid until last Thursday, stated that up to 30% of spending on health is wasted with absolutely no benefit to beneficiaries (patients). He added that his agency's cumbersome and archaic regulations are partly to blame. He claims too many resources and too much time is dedicated to things that do not help patients one bit; something doctors are fully aware of too. In an interview last Thursday, Dr. Berwick said: "Much is done that does not help patients at all, and many physicians know it." During the interview, Berwick talked about the previous 17 months, while he was at the helm as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, his failures, successes and frustrations, and dealing with criticisms from Republican lawmakers.
There is a growing disparity between healthy and sick Americans born after 1980, caused by various factors, including a widening income gap, obesity which tends to hit certain income and ethnic groups more, access to health care services, and some other factors, researchers from Ohio State University wrote in American Sociological Review. The authors added that the difference in the health of people gets wider as they approach and reach middle age, before closing during old age. This being the case, the researchers predict that over the next couple of decades, as younger generations get older and replace existing ones, differences will widen. Lead Hui Zheng, said: "As young people today reach middle age and preceding cohorts with a smaller health gap die off, we expect health disparities in the whole population to grow even larger.