KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Research Round-Up: Highlights From Recent Releases

American Health Care Association (AHCA): State-by-State Medicare Cuts to Nursing Homes -- "A new [AHCA] analysis of the pending House health reform bill [HR 3200], combined with the impact of a recently-enacted Medicare regulation cutting Medicare-funded nursing home care by $12 billion over ten years, finds seniors in fifteen states requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts in excess of $1 billion over that same time period," according to an AHCA description of the study. "The assessment was based on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of both HR 3200 and the recent CMS funding rule, along with Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) utilization data." A breakdown of each of the 15 states facing ten-year billion dollar cuts to Medicare-funded nursing homes is available online (8/20).    

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Post-Claims Underwriting and Rescission Practices: Findings from Texas in the Individual Health Insurance Market -- This issue brief examines post-claims underwriting and rescission regulation in the state of Texas. Though the case study revealed "Texas state law does not clearly and consistently reflect the federal HIPAA standard, which could create loopholes in consumer protections," the authors write, "the Texas case offers important lessons for national health reform on five key topics: federal and state regulatory standards; consumer education and outreach; complaint tracking and response; market conduct reviews; and role of federal regulators," according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation description of the brief (Haycock, Ledford and Harbage, 8/24).

Commonwealth Fund: Paying the Price: How Health Insurance Premiums Are Eating Up Middle-Class Incomes--State Health Insurance Premium Trends and the Potential of National Reform – "This analysis of federal data finds that if premiums for employer-sponsored insurance grow in each state at the projected national rate of increase, then the average premium for family coverage would rise from $12,298 (the 2008 average) to $23,842 by 2020-a 94 percent increase." The report also shows the savings created by slowing the health care cost increases by 1 to 1.5 percent per year. "By 2020, slowing the annual rate of growth by 1 percent would yield more than $2,500 in reduced premiums for family coverage, and slowing growth by 1.5 percent would yield more than $3,700 in premium savings compared to projected trends" (Schoen, Nicholson and Rustgi, 8/20).

Journal of Clinical Oncology: Hospitals that treat greater numbers of minority patients have worse survival rates on average for patients with breast and colon cancer, independent of race, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The study used five year survival data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results–Medicare-linked database, a federal collection of cancer incidence, survival, and prevalence. The researchers analyzed data from 25,571 breast cancer patients, 9.7 percent of whom were black, and 22,168 colon cancer patients, 11.8 percent of whom were black. The patients were treated in 436 hospitals," according to a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center description of the study (Breslin, Morris, Gu, Wong, Finlayson, Banerjee and Birkmeyer, 8/20).

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