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

Iowa News

State agrees to help Medicaid companies shoulder huge losses
State leaders have agreed to help private Medicaid management companies shoulder huge losses they’ve suffered in covering more than 500,000 poor or disabled Iowans, documents released Friday show. The three national companies have complained about “catastrophic” losses on the Iowa project, which started last April. They have pleaded for the government to help them make up for about $450 million in red ink. Department of Human Services leaders signed contract amendments in February, under which the government agreed to shoulder losses beyond a certain point, the newly disclosed memos show. (Des Moines Register)

Mercy, Medicaid dispute could reduce health care options for low-income North Iowans
A payment dispute involving one of Iowa’s largest hospital networks could severely limit local options for low-income and disabled North Iowans who receive services from a public health care program. AmeriHealth Caritas is attempting to renegotiate its Medicaid contract with Mercy Health Network, which includes 13 facilities and about 200 clinics across Iowa. AmeriHealth Caritas sent a letter to its clients warning if the company is unable to negotiate a new contract with Mercy Health Network by July 1, the Mercy Health Network system would no longer be included in AmeriHealth Caritas’ provider network, according to media reports. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

National News

How the GOP’s health care law went down
It was a nail-biter of a day with a photo finish. The Republican Party’s seven-year effort to repeal the 2010 health care law ended with a thud Friday when the GOP decided not to even subject its do-or-die alternative to a vote. The announcement, in the last minutes before an afternoon vote was expected, came after two days of frenzied lobbying and negotiations as increasing numbers of GOP House members defected. At the end, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan rushed to the White House to tell Trump he did not have enough votes to pass the bill. Trump conceded, and the bill was pulled. (Roll Call)

House leaders ‘came up short’ in effort to kill Obamacare
Despite days of intense negotiations and last-minute concessions to win over wavering GOP conservatives and moderates, House Republican leaders Friday failed to secure enough support to pass their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from consideration after he rushed to the White House to tell President Donald Trump that there weren’t the 216 votes necessary for passage. “We came really close today, but we came up short,” he told reporters at a hastily called news conference. (Kaiser Health News)

Georgia hospitals relieved to see GOP health care bill withdrawn in Congress
The state’s hospital industry is breathing easier after US House leaders pulled their health care proposal before a scheduled vote Friday. After the vote was canceled Friday, the Georgia Hospital Association, which opposed the GOP bill, said in a statement that it “continues to urge Georgia’s congressional delegation to reject measures that would jeopardize access to care for hundreds of thousands of Georgians, increase our uninsured population, weaken the state’s Medicaid program and reduce hospitals’ ability to meet the needs of their patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’’ (Georgia Health News)

AHCA defeat spells relief for Massachusetts, groups say
Doctors, nurses and accountants in hospitals across the Massachusetts celebrated the demise of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Friday. The Massachusetts Hospital Association agreed with Friday’s ruling, “but we remain greatly concerned with the continuing efforts to dismantle the ACA,” said CEO Lynn Nicholas. Groups that fought the AHCA say they know this may only be a temporary reprieve, but relief spread on Beacon Hill among Democrats and Republicans Friday. Governor Charlie Baker warned just a few days earlier that the AHCA would cost Massachusetts $1 billion in 2020 and nearly $2 billion by 2022. (WBR)

More states to expand Medicaid now that Obamacare remains law
More states will pursue expansion of Medicaid health benefits for poor Americans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after Republicans failed to repeal and replace the law. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would’ve rolled back ACA’s Medicaid expansion and put restrictions on states that tried to expand such coverage. But Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan Friday pulled the AHCA legislation Friday, making, “Obamacare the law of the land,” as he said. At least two states– Kansas and North Carolina–are already working toward becoming the 32nd and 33rd states to expand Medicaid under the ACA. (Forbes)

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