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Americans’ Health Priorities Diverge From Washington’s Focus on Obamacare

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman finds the public’s health-care priorities have more to do with drug costs and other real-world issues people deal with using the health-care system than the ongoing partisan wrangling over the Affordable Care Act. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available…

Americans’ Health Priorities Diverge From Washington’s Focus on Obamacare

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman finds the public’s healthcare priorities have more to do with drug costs and other real world issues people deal with using the health care system than the ongoing partisan wrangling over the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: April 2015

This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds public opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be almost evenly split The poll also asks about health care priorities for the President and Congress, and the concern that comes out on top for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike is making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions are affordable to those who need them. Other than high-cost prescription drugs, Democrats, Republicans and independents have different ideas of their top priorities in health care. The poll also assesses Americans’ use of comparative price and quality information about doctors, hospitals and health plans.

A Primer on Medicare: Key Facts About the Medicare Program and the People it Covers

This primer explains key elements of the Medicare program, which now provides health coverage to 55 million people — including 46 million people age 65 and older and another 9 million younger adults with permanent disabilities. It looks at the characteristics of the Medicare population, what benefits are covered, how much people with Medicare pay for their benefits and the program’s overall costs and future financing challenges.

What Drives Spending and Utilization on Medicaid Drug Benefits in States?

With the approval of new specialty drugs, such as the Hepatitis C treatments Sovaldi and Harvoni, states are mindful that the cost the Medicaid prescription drug benefit could increase. To achieve savings, and improve management and health outcomes, it is important to understand which drugs are most frequently prescribed and which drive spending. Using state drug utilization data provided through the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, as well as an industry drug database, this issue brief examines trends in prescriptions and spending before rebates, and places findings in the context of policy discussion.

States Expanding Medicaid Under the Affordable Care Act Expect 18% Enrollment Growth in Fiscal Year 2015, With Federal Funds Picking Up Most of the Cost

States expect the number of people enrolled in Medicaid will increase an average of 13.2 percent across the country in state fiscal year 2015 (which runs through June in most states), showing the early effects of the first full year of Affordable Care Act implementation, according to the 14th annual 50-State Medicaid budget survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU).

Medicaid in an Era of Health & Delivery System Reform: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015

This report provides an in depth examination of the changes taking place in state Medicaid programs across the country. The findings in this report are drawn from the 14th annual budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and Health Management Associates (HMA), with the support of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. This report highlights policy changes implemented in state Medicaid programs in FY 2014 and those planned for implementation in FY 2015 based on information provided by the nation’s state Medicaid Directors. Key areas covered include changes in eligibility and enrollment, delivery systems, provider payments and taxes, benefits, pharmacy programs, program integrity and program administration.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2015

This issue brief provides an overview of the Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan options available in 2015 and key changes from prior years. The analysis examines Part D plan availability, premiums, benefit design features, and low income subsidy plan availability.