‘Health Care’ articles

Experts: Years of work-comp turmoil ahead

Obamacare seen hurting injured workers' healthcare access, incentivizing provider fraud

The latest rescue of Obamacare by the U.S. Supreme Court ensures that employers, over the next several years, can expect extra turmoil in state workers’ comp programs.

That’s because genuine fixes to the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) — which is already dramatically impacting U.S. industrial-insurance programs — almost certainly will have to await a new president taking office.

Even then, that president and that Congress will first need to come to terms on multiple, complex policy questions.

Ironically, the strain the ACA is imposing on state workers’ compensation programs is occurring, experts say, in all three of the areas of health care that the ACA was supposed to improve — access, cost and quality.

In the short term at least, access is being reduced, costs raised and quality lowered.

The pressures on workers’ comp in those areas seem likely to speed the rise of alternatives to industrial insurance’s traditional form.

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Medicaid patients to be the
surprise victims of margin tax

Nursing-home owner explains how passage
of tax would hurt Nevada’s neediest residents

LAS VEGAS — If the margin tax passes, it will claim a group of unlikely victims: Medicaid patients.

That’s according to the owner of a large, Southern Nevada nursing home who says, if voters approve the new tax November 4, he will be forced to stop accepting new Medicaid patients, leaving them with fewer health care options, extending their treatment wait times and worsening their outcomes.

And he expects other health care providers to do the same.

“In order to protect my employees and keep my business open, I’m going to have to cut the number of unprofitable Medicaid patients I accept,” said the nursing-home owner, who asked not to be identified so as to not send his employees and patients into a panic.

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The 'moles' still infest Nevada Obamacare

Long after Nevadans were promised a 'consumer-friendly experience,' it’s still not there

LAS VEGAS — In mid-October, two weeks after the launch of Nevada’s Obamacare website — NevadaHealthLink.com — its director was comparing all the problems surfacing to the Whac-a-Mole arcade game.

 “We punch one thing down, and another thing pops up,” Jon Hager, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Jennifer Robison.

That’s about as negative a statement as has been heard from Hager, a constant cheerleader for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 2009 decision to sign Nevada up for a state-based Obamacare health insurance exchange.

Months later, numerous indicators suggest that the “moles” have proliferated, and many of them — bigger than ever — are harming Nevadans.

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Reid video compilation: 'If you like the coverage you have, you can keep it'

Once-supportive, Hispanics
turning backs on Obama, ACA

Pep rallies from HHH secretary, improvements in website, failing to produce sign-ups

MIAMI – They were among President Obama’s best supporters, but support for the president and his signature health insurance scheme is quickly dying among Hispanics.

A recent Gallup poll showed Obama’s approval rating among Hispanic down 23 percent, to 52 percent in November from 75 percent in December 2012.

“Hispanics’ approval ratings of Obama have shown the most variation of any group’s ratings throughout his presidency,” the pollsters said when they released their report Dec. 5. “That means their views of him are less firmly anchored than those of other groups, which may help explain why their opinions of the president soured more than any other group’s in recent months.”

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Truth-shading Reid awarded ‘Pinocchios’

Forces Obamacare on Nevadans, but allows top staff to avoid troubled exchanges

LAS VEGAS — “All I did was follow the law,” protested Sen. Harry Reid.

He was being pressed by Reno-area reporters last week about a story CNN had just broken.

“Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare’s architects and staunchest supporters” — wrote CNN investigative correspondent Chris Frates — “is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law’s new exchanges.”

At first Reid told Reno media that CNN had gotten the story wrong. “No, that is simply not true,” he said. “Some of the people on my leadership team have done the same thing, following my lead. CNN is wrong.”

However, the CNN story didn’t refer to people on Reid’s “leadership team.”

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Test Run No. 2: HealthCare.gov's
still-invisible health plans

After two failed attempts at getting HealthCare.gov to review health plan options, the site now appears to be working properly. On Dec. 2, I reported on the troubles I had accessing the new-and-improved HealthCare.gov. The Obama administration said Dec. 3 more than 1 million people accessed the site the previous day and that it was stable for users.

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'Please Wait': New-and-Improved
HealthCare.gov has same old problems

After a glowing news conference Dec. 1 citing "night and day" progress on HealthCare.gov, I decided to log in the next morning and take the Web site for a test drive, as I'm sure many others are doing. Early reports had been promising. What I found was hardly encouraging 2014 long delays loading pages, an endless circle of tasks (some already completed) and ultimately an error message.

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Harry Reid's inadvertent
gift to Obamacare foes

Senior senator's touting of the program doesn't sync with reality

LAS VEGAS — Throughout the media firestorm over the Affordable Care Act’s botched October rollout, nearly all attention has been on implementation failures of the Obama White House and the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

What’s received little mention, however, is the central role of Nevada's Harry Reid, majority leader of the U.S. Senate, in the crafting of the federal law at the root of all the national turmoil.

That legislation is now seen by opponents of Obamacare as the gift that keeps on giving — presenting them, many believe, with an increasingly good chance of the law’s ultimate repeal, whether in essence or in fact.

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Likelihood that Obamacare data hub
won’t be breached ‘approaches zero,’
says risk-management expert

Nevadans’ personal information must risk ‘back end’ of Obamacare system of systems

LAS VEGAS — If you sign up for Obamacare through Nevada’s state-based health insurance exchange, is — or is not — your private financial information at risk?

To hear Jon Hager tell it, there’s no risk at all.

Hager is executive director of the state exchange — officially, the “Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.” Last Friday, on the KSNV television program Ralston Reports, he was asked by host Jon Ralston about data security.

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