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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Bluffs health care officials watching evolution of GOP bill’s proposals
Local health care officials are watching development of the Republican health care plan carefully. The American Health Care Act was introduced Monday and has passed in two committees of the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is expected to reach the House floor by the end of the month. “The biggest concern I have right now with the proposed legislation is the impact on Medicaid expansion and the federal government funding their share of the Medicaid program in the future,” said Steve Baumert, president and CEO at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital. “You’re going to impact children, the aged and the disabled,” he said. (Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)

Hy-Vee Mainstreet, St. Luke’s team up to create prescription delivery program
Most medications have easy-to-follow directions, but others, which are more complex, can trip up patients who are fatigued and stressed from a hospital stay. To prevent medication errors – a major contributor to hospital readmissions – UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s and Hy-Vee Mainstreet have teamed up to deliver discharge medications to patients at the bedside at no additional cost, called the Meds to Bed program. “We’re offering them a service that makes it easier to get their medication before they’re being discharged,” said Alejandro DeAnda, Hy-Vee Mainstreet pharmacy manager. (Sioux City Journal)

National News

CBO: 24 million more without health insurance under GOP plan
The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 24 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026 than under current law, according to an analysis Monday from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO report found that 14 million more people would be without health insurance by 2018. Following a two-year spike, the plan would also lower average premiums after 2020 relative to President Barack Obama’s health care law. But premiums would be expected to go down for younger people, while being raised for older Americans. (NBC News)

Virginia hospital group concerned about AHCA replacement
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) has expressed concern about the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in letters it sent to Virginia’s representatives in Congress. In the letters, VHHA’s president and CEO Sean Connaughton applauded the fact that the proposed replacement does not change Medicaid to a block-granting system, but expressed concerns about the proposed per capita cap, which would lock Virginia in at what it paid per Medicaid enrollee in 2016. “This inequity, with far-reaching ramifications for Virginia’s health systems and their patients, must be addressed before any final legislation is adopted,” he states. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Medicaid expansion helped New Jersey save millions in charity care
New Jersey has saved hundreds of millions of dollars on hospital support since the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) took full effect in 2014. “Governor Christie made the right decision for our state to expand Medicaid to more individuals, and it has had a real impact,” according to Betsy Ryan, president of the New Jersey Hospital Association. “It’s a simple, but alarming, formula: Fewer patients with insurance + less money to pay for charity care = a fiscal crisis for New Jersey’s health care community,” Ryan wrote, regarding the increase in uninsured patients that would occur if ACA is repealed. (New Jersey Spotlight)

GOP ‘health’ bill cruelly aims at mentally ill
In their rush to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), congressional Republicans are engaging in a sleight-of-hand at the expense of people who are among the least able to fend for themselves, the severely mentally ill. In December, Republicans were patting themselves on the back for approving what they called major mental health care legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, a measure to increase funding for mental health care and ensure more treatment for severely mentally ill people. But the American Health Care Act would eliminate much of the Medicaid coverage guaranteed under ACA for mental health care and addiction services. (Sacramento Bee)

Health policy expert is confirmed as Medicare and Medicaid administrator
The Senate yesterday confirmed Seema Verma, a health policy expert from Indiana, to lead efforts by the Trump administration to transform Medicaid and upend the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of 55 to 43, the Senate approved the nomination of Verma to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Verma was an architect of Indiana’s Medicaid program, widely seen as a model by conservatives, and she worked closely with Vice President Mike Pence when he was the state’s governor. (New York Times)

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