July 23, 2014

Public Health and Private Healthcare Systems

Cover Oregon Health Exchange Looks To Solve Technical Problems And Plan For The Future.
The Portland (OR) Business Journal (7/23, Hayes, Subscription Publication) reports that Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) has told the board of his state’s health exchange, Cover Oregon to “stay focused” on enrolling Oregonians in health insurance and that “form should follow function.” Cover Oregon will defer to the Federal exchange for the upcoming enrollment period amid insurmountable technical issues, a situation the Federal government refers to as “transitional, not permanent.”
The Portland (OR) Business Journal (7/23, Subscription Publication) reports that Cover Oregon has a new director, Aaron Patnode, who will be leading the exchange and “mapping out the future of the exchange.”
Connecticut State Senator Calls For Meeting With Access CT Board About “Problems.” The Hartford (CT) Courant (7/22, Sturdevant) reports that Connecticut State Senator Leonard Fasano (R) has requested to have a meeting with the board of Connecticut’s Health Exchange to discuss “problems that have come to light in recent weeks.”

New York Insurer Fails To Submit 2015 Rate Proposal, Withdraws From Exchange.
Capital New York (7/23, Prakash) reports that American Progressive Life & Health Insurance Company of New York “failed to file a 2015 rate proposal, which would make the company the first to withdraw from the state’s exchange.” The insurance company only managed to secure “roughly one-tenth of one percent of the individual exchange market” during the first open enrollment period.
Insurer Prices For All Hospital Services Increased 0.2% Last Month.
Modern Healthcare (7/23, Herman, Subscription Publication) reports that according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “prices that private health insurers paid for all hospital services increased 0.2% in June, mostly spurred by the outpatient side.” As indicated by the Consumer Price Index, “prices for inpatient hospital services last month grew 0.1%, while prices for outpatient hospital services rose 0.5%.”
Some Health Insurers Refusing To Pay For Sofosbuvir For Hep C.
Bloomberg News (7/23, Bennett, Langreth) reports that a new medicine called Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), made by Gilead Sciences Inc. represents a cure for hepatitis C. The medicine is extremely expensive, costing $84,000, and health insurers are “refusing to pay” for it. While “it makes sense to treat as many people as possible for the virus, before severe damage has a chance to occur,” treating “every US patient with Sovaldi and companion drugs could cost $400 billion, assuming some people need to be retreated, according to estimates from hepatitis C researcher Andrea Branch at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.” Government figures indicate that amount dwarfs the $263 billion spent by the US on all prescription medications two years ago.

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