NC Medicaid Expansion to Launch on Dec. 1
Medicaid expansion is set to kick off in North Carolina on December 1, 2023, marking the end of a decade-long effort to use federal dollars to expand coverage for low-income residents. The North Carolina Department of Health estimates up to 600,000 people will be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Adults ages 19-64 earning up to 138% of the federal poverty line (about $20,000 for an individual and less than $34,000 combined for a family of three) may be eligible. North Carolina Republicans used their veto-proof majority in the state’s General Assembly to make Medicaid expansion a reality by including it in a budget bill laden with other GOP priorities, much to the chagrin of Gov. Roy Cooper (D).
Deloitte: Women Pay $15B More on Health Care Each Year
Women pay $15 billion more on out-of-pocket health care costs annually compared to men, according to a new study by Deloitte. Among the factors attributed to the so-called “pink tax” are the high cost of breast cancer imaging compared to screening for other cancers, the frequency of gynecological exams, and earlier age recommendations for annual checkups compared to men. The study’s authors examined the medical spending of 16 million American workers with employer-sponsored health plans from 2017 through 2022. To help cut costs, experts recommend addressing as much as possible during annual checkups to limit the need for follow-up visits.
GAO: 5% of Nursing Homes Owned by Private Equity
Five percent of the nation’s 14,800 nursing homes are estimated to be owned by private equity, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). However, the report’s author noted that the 5% figure could be an underestimate because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not collect data on all nursing facility owners. Another issue limiting the report’s findings is the fact that CMS does not present its data in a way that makes it easy to identify private equity firms. The report’s comes amid growing calls for health transparency, as well as concerns that private equity ownership may affect health outcomes at nursing homes. In February 2023, CMS proposed rulemaking that would nursing homes to provide more information about their ownership.
Cambridge, Dallas Tapped as ARPA-H Regional Hubs
The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) has selected Cambridge, MA and Dallas, TX as the locations for 2 of its 3 “hubs” that will focus on different activities. According to the agency, the Boston-area hub will focus on engagement with investors and entrepreneurs, while the Texas hub will focus on patient experience issues such as clinical trial diversity and improving health outcomes for all populations. ARPA-H plans to announce later this year the specific location of its third and final hub in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, which will focus on supporting stakeholders. Each of the hubs will connect with “spokes” to carry out research at existing facilities. Created in 2023, APRA-H is intended to support high-risk, high-reward medical research that can deliver breakthrough treatments and cures.
ICYMI: Suits Return to the Senate
Senators voted unanimously on Wednesday to codify a business casual dress code for the Senate floor, reversing a decision by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) last week to end enforcement of the dress code. Schumer’s decision was primarily aimed at Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who has regularly worn hooded sweatshirts and shorts around the US Capitol Complex since returning to the Senate after being hospitalized for depression earlier this year. Both Schumer and Fetterman offered their support and cooperation on the resolution to reinstate the dress code’s enforcement shortly before Wednesday’s vote.