Fewer Colorado small employers covered by health insurance
The number of Colorado small employers with 1 to 50 employees covered by health insurance fell to 55,607 small groups on Dec. 31, 2002 from 65,590 a year earlier and a high of 71,128 at the end of 1998, the Division of Insurance announced. There are 25 carriers operating legally in the state’s small group health insurance market. The number of “business groups of one in Colorado’s small group market” fell to 16,576 groups at the end of 2002 from 24,637 a year earlier and a five-year high of 28,805 at the end of 2000.
10 million poor Americans are uninsured
The number of “uninsured Americans” is inflated by at least 9 million legal and illegal immigrants who are included in the 41 million uninsured Americans number typically quoted by politicians and the press, Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute writes in his Rocky Mountain News column. He further points out that the number of uninsured poor people is about 10 million out of the 32 million uninsured Americans. And a quarter of the uninsured 10 million poor people aren’t Americans, which means there are 7.5 million uninsured poor Americans.
Bush administration wants to stick hospitals with more unpaid Medicare bills
The Bush administration wants to make it difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to appeal non-payment decisions by Medicare, which would leave hospitals and other providers with even more uncompensated care cases. The New York Times reports the number of appeals is rising rapidly.
FDA wants hospital patients to wear bar codes to reduce medical errors
The FDA wants hospital patients to wear bar codes on their wrist bands that will help eliminate 7000 deaths caused by medication errors, The Washington Times reports.
Colorado employers pay for care of uninsured
Colorado’s small businesses and other privately insured employers are paying $144 million in the directly cost-shifted costs of caring for the uninsured, and up to $807 million in taxes to provide care for the uninsured, the Denver Post reports.
Colorado auto no fault reform bill dies for now.
Trial lawyers, chiropractors, massage therapists and auto insurers seem to be getting their ways in the Colorado General Assembly, which today killed the last standing auto no-fault insurance bill before the House HB03-1321. The state will either go back to the ruinous tort law system that existed before the current no-fault system was enacted, or a late bill will offer a better solution in late April or early May.
House passes medical malpractice awards cap bill
The U.S. House passed a medical malpractice reform bill, but its prospects in the Senate look bleak.
Uninsured week bites hospitals
The Wall Street Journal’s report on the plight of a Mr. White who owes Yale-New Haven Hospital thousands of dollars 20 years after his wife was treated for cancer makes the hospital look like the bad guy instead of the state and its Medicaid program. Hospitals, of course, are big proponents of Cover the Uninsured Week (see below), because they want out of this trap, in which society has put them.
3-d mammograms improve diagnostic procedure
Medpundit blogs on 3-d mamography, small pox vaccinations, teaching medical students to do pelvic exams and other good clinical stories.
Ads on malpractice awards caps compete for Congressional attention
Hospitals and trial lawyers launch ads in medical malpractice legislation battle.
House passes HR 663 to track medical errors
U.S. House passes HR 663 to track medical errors, but liberals say it won’t accomplish much.
AMA’s physician-lawyer leader fights for malpractice award caps
New AMA leader is MD and lawyer and will lead fight for malpractice caps.
Congress makes a good decision
Congress has refused to allow the Dept. of Health and Human Services to centralize its government affairs and public affairs offices, the Washington Post reports.
We talked about health care reform and health care policy, etc.
Long-time managed care consultant and former HCFA policy wonk Peter Fox, my partner Susan Alt, and I made presentations Monday at a forum in Breckenridge, CO, as reported here. Obviously, I didn’t make a big impression. As I’ve said before, being quoted by a reporter is an experience every reporter should have.
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Exploiting the uninsured for publicity
It’s this kind of grandstanding and exploiting the uninsured for personal political gain that gets me. There is no way that voters will go for another costly entitlement such as the “Medikids” legislation intoduced by Jay Rockefeller and Pete Stark, two health care lefties who seldom get anything done but make a lot of noise.