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Medicaid-eligible but not enrolled? ACA a likely stimulus

Near-nudity may not be an obvious strategy to get people insured, but one county agency in California has employed this very approach to grab the attention of people eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The ad campaign shows families minimally dressed and holding up signs urging people to get health insurance. “Our message is that you wouldn’t let your family go without clothes — why let them go without health coverage?” said Lori A. Cox, director of the Alameda County Social Services Agency. County officials estimate that there are thousands of residents eligible for the state’s Medicaid program but not enrolled, including about 15,000 children. The agency also has set up a phone number to provide information about Medi-Cal eligibility, and those interested in applying may do so online. Alameda’s “Cover Your Family” strategy caught the attention of Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. At a ...

Medical students urge Congress to preserve GME

Hans T. Zuckerman, a third-year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, painted a grim picture of what may await future students like him if federal support for graduate medical education either is reduced or not expanded. “In the next couple of years, they’re projecting that there may not be enough slots for all the students graduating from medical school to get into a residency,” said Zuckerman, who was one of about 300 medical students from around the country who participated in the American Medical Association’s student advocacy day on Feb. 11. The medical students met with members of Congress during the event to urge lawmakers to preserve Medicare funding for residencies and take additional steps to boost the number of Medicare-supported residency positions. Graduate medical education funds often have been the target for cuts during congressional budget negotiations. There’s concern throughout organized medicine that talks regarding the ...

Summit focuses on alternatives to Medicare pay system

The Medicare program cannot move forward without a plan to change its payment structure to a higher-performing system, physicians and analysts said during a recent policy summit underwritten by the American Medical Association. There has been little movement to transition the program’s payment system away from fee for service and a seemingly endless cycle of pay cuts threatened by the sustainable growth rate formula. Health policy analysts and industry leaders discussed issues preventing reforms to how Medicare doctors are paid and offered insight on what action is needed to bring innovation to the system during the Jan. 29 event, hosted by National Journal. New efforts to change Medicare will not proceed until the hurdle of the Medicare SGR formula is cleared, said AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD. The AMA has drafted a framework for a transition plan that starts with eliminating the SGR. The formula is a problem that has lingered for far too long and p ...