Health News Roundup

Week of November 27, 2017


By reducing the income of poorer Americans, the Senate tax bill may worsen health outcomes
Shanoor Seervai and David Blumenthal, M.D., Commonwealth Fund, November 28
The Senate will vote this week on a Republican proposal that reduces taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, with the biggest tax cuts going to the richest Americans. The bill could have major effects on health outcomes by repealing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate and by reducing the income of the poor.

What states can learn from one another on health care
Dhruv Khullar, New York Times, November 16
We know that where you live matters: There are huge disparities in health and costs across the country. The uninsured rate in Texas is six times higher than in Massachusetts. You’re four times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital in Maryland or New Jersey than in Hawaii. Although it’s important to learn from states at the top, it’s perhaps more instructive to see what states with large improvements are doing, or have done, to get better.


Which health plan should I choose?
CT Health Foundation Blog, November 27
If you’re looking for health insurance, chances are someone has told you to “shop around.” If you’re not sure what that means, we have some tips.


Taken for a ride? Ambulances stick patients with surprise bills
Melissa Bailey, Kaiser Health News, November 27
Patients usually choose to go to the doctor, but they are vulnerable when they call 911 — or get into an ambulance. The dispatcher picks the ambulance crew, which, in turn, often picks the hospital. One patient got a $3,660 bill for a 4-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from one hospital that could not handle his case to another that could.

CT Budget

Lawmakers consider special session to reverse Medicaid cuts
Christopher Keating, Daniela Altimari and Matthew Ormseth, Hartford Courant, November 30
Faced with widespread complaints about cuts in Medicaid that would take effect Jan. 1, state lawmakers are considering coming back into special session before year’s end to fix problems in a program designed to help the elderly.