Week in Review: This One's for the Wonks

This One's for the Wonks
Thursday, February 21st
Dear Members and Friends:
What a week it's been in Washington! Like many of you we're tracking all that's happening on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, especially as pressure mounts on Congress to avoid more than $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that could kick in next Friday. As you'll see below, the automatic cuts and a new Simpson-Bowles plan have significant implications for health-related programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

We also saw major decisions from states about their decision to establish state or federally-run health insurance marketplaces, plus a final rule regarding "essential health benefits" that health plans must provide including mental health, prevention and wellness, chronic disease management, and more.

So take it all in, and please mark your calendar for next Thursday, February 28th at 11AM ET. During our Monthly National Briefing we'll be joined by Health Affairs authors 
Judith Hibbard, DrPH and Christine Bechtel to discuss their articles about patient and family engagement.

We look forward to catching up next week!


Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH
Chief Executive Officer 
Sequestration's Health Care Impact
In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary Sebelius provided a summary of the sequester's health care impact. Sebelius explained that billions of dollars would be lost by providers and hospitals if the proposed 2% Medicare reductions went into effect (Medicaid will not be affected). Other health-related programs face 5% or more in cuts, including several mental health, AIDS, and Indian Health programs.

Simpson-Bowles 2.0: On Tuesday, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles revealed an update to their December 2010 deficit reduction plan, and identified $600 billion in spending reductions for Medicare and Medicaid. The White House has previously expressed support for no more than $400 billion in cuts to the programs.


Health Affairs Authors Featured on Monthly Briefing
We look forward to next week's National Monthly Briefing , which will feature two authors from the recent issue of Health Affairs "A New Era of Patient Engagement:"

Judith H. Hibbard, DrPH, Senior Researcher at the University of Oregon will discuss research from What the Evidence Shows About Patient Activation; and 

Christine Bechtel, VP of the National Partnership for Women & Families will discuss A Framework for Patient And Family Engagement.

Date: Thursday, 2/28, 11AM - Noon ET
No registration required.
Dial in: (712) 432-0900 
Access Code: 868853#
Upcoming Learning Events
State/Federal Insurance Marketplaces Update
Insurance Marketplaces

States or the feds: Who will do a better job covering uninsured Americans under Obama's law? Washington Post, 2/15.

Kaiser Health News reports that the feds will be operating new health insurance marketplaces in half of states, including Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Final Rule: Essential Health Benefits

Final rule issued on required coverage under health law Kaiser Health News, 2/20. The Obama Administration released a final rule on essential health benefits to be offered by health insurance marketplaces, including prevention, wellness and chronic disease management.

New federal rule requires insurers to offer mental health coverage New York Times, 2/20. Essential health benefits will enable 32 million Americans to gain  mental health coverage, including behavioral disorders, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse.
Medical Home Happenings
News from Around the Country
Clinics Bring Together Doctors And Psychiatrists To Cure Physical, Mental Health Ailments The Washington Post, 2/18. Features Family Services, Inc.'s integrated model for providing team-based primary care and mental health services.

Opinion: Medical homes would improve care, save costs Times of Trenton, 2/16. An editorial piece from Jim Albano of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield about the cost and quality improvements associated with their medical home program.

HCSC Exclusive: Intensive medical home cuts high-risk patient costs Fierce Healthcare Payer, 2/15. Includes an interview with Health Care Service Corporation's (HCSC) Chief Medical Officer about their medical home program with Boeing.

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