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Update on the Federal Accountable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board

12/20/11 – Take a look here for the latest from Health Affairs on the federal Independent Payment Advisory Board.

HHS Issues Guidelines for States Regarding “Essential Benefits”

12/16/11 – The Department of Health and Human Services issued much anticipated guidance today that will give states flexibility in determining what “essential benefits” insurers must provide in policies offered on the new health exchanges.

Report Documents Changes in Health Insurance Coverage

12/15/11 – I came across an interesting report from the Kaiser Family Foundation today. The report examines changes in health insurance coverage over the last decade, with a focus on how the turmoil in the economy has affected the number of uninsured…One exception to the trend of uninsured adults is in the 19-25 year old age bracket.

Determining the “Essential Health Benefits Package”

12/15/11 – Politico is running an interesting article on how the Department of Health and Human Services will define the “essential health benefits package” under President Obama’s new health care law. You can read it here.

Seniors May Lose Access to Care, Doctors Warn

12/15/11 – The Onondaga County Medical Society held a press conference yesterday urging Congress to stop Medicare cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012. They argue that if the cuts go through, many Medicare patients will be turned away. Read more from the Syracuse Post-Standard here.

Medicaid Redesign Team’s Final Recommendations

12/14/11 – The final meeting of the full Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) was held today in Albany. The general purpose of today’s meeting was to accept the reports from the remaining work groups and outline the process for the transmittal of the final MRT recommendations to Governor Cuomo.

Extraordinary Legislative Session Results and Implications

12/9/11 – On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo called the Legislature back to Albany for an Extraordinary Session to approve legislation that would overhaul the state’s tax code and create new economic development initiatives. The package that was approved in both houses of the legislature was negotiated largely behind closed doors.

Medicare Part D Brought Savings in 2011

12/6/11 – This morning USA Today ran an interesting piece on savings achieved in the Medicare program over the past year…data show that 2.65 million people with Medicare have saved more than $1.5 billion on their prescriptions – averaging about $569 per person.

Health Insurance Exchange Funding

12/2/11 – The Affordable Care Act requires states to establish one-stop marketplaces where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan. Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued nearly $200 million in grant funding to help a number of states set up health insurance exchanges.

Updated: World AIDS Day

12/1/11 – Today is World AIDS Day and marks the 30th year since the beginning of the epidemic that has killed 30 million people worldwide. Over the past 30 years more than three dozen drugs have been developed and approved to treat HIV/AIDS.