Healthcare News March 14, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Healthcare law gets $50 billion price cut

    The healthcare reform law got $50 billion cheaper on Tuesday — at least on paper. The Congressional Budget Office lowered its estimates of how much the law’s coverage expansion will cost, slicing $50 billion from last year’s projections. The spending projection is largely tied to a drop in the number of people expected to gain coverage under the new law. CBO said 30 million people will either be added to Medicaid or gain access to subsidized private coverage, down from 32 million in last year’s estimate.

    Healthwatch has more details on Tuesday’s projections.

    Congressional Republicans said the new figures show that the law is unaffordable, noting that the overall cost of its coverage expansion has crept up since the law passed. That’s partially because many pieces didn’t take effect right away, so they didn’t show up in every year of CBO’s 10-year projections. Republicans say the healthcare law will cost more than $2 trillion once it’s fully put into place.

  • CBO: Obama’s health law to cost less, cover fewer people than first thought

    The CBO’s revised estimate shows the number of uninsured will be reduced by 30 million instead of 32 million.

  • Think tank’s book says Romney not to blame for Obama health law

    Says Democrats altered the Massachusetts law signed by Romney, which has been called the inspiration for Obama’s national reform law.

  • CMS awards $75 million to test new mental-health benefits in Medicaid

    The federal Medicaid agency awarded $75 million in funding Tuesday for a program that looks for cheaper, more effective ways to treat mental illness.

    Eleven states and Washington, D.C., were selected to take part in the demonstration program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said. States will use the money to provide Medicaid coverage for inpatient psychiatric hospitals.

    Medicaid does not pay for mentally ill patients to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals, largely because of historical concerns that states would warehouse those patients in large facilities. Medicaid patients who are experiencing a mental-health emergency — such as suicidal or homicidal thoughts — are instead admitted to hospital emergency rooms.

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