Former Children’s Health CMO, Texas Ebola ‘Czar’ Gets a Job with the HHS

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ new assistant secretary for health is a formerly Dallas-based pediatrician who did a stint as chief medical officer at Children’s Health. He also served as head of Texas’ task force on infectious Disease Preparedness and Response during the Ebola scare. The Senate confirmed Dr. Brett Giroir to the spot last week in a move that largely went unnoticed, despite Democrats previously voicing disapproval for the Trump nominee. Giroir earned his MD through UT Southwestern and later served there as a professor; a representative said he was last affiliated with the school around… Full Story

The State’s CPRIT Program Comes with Risk, But One of Its Top Dogs is Optimistic

Since the state of Texas put $3 billion behind the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) a decade ago, much of the news coming out has been less than flattering. After lawmakers questioned potential conflicts of interest at the program, state auditors discovered issues with regard to the way a small portion of the grants associated with the $3 billion fund were handed out. Not a good look, to be sure, but the taxpayers who’d originally backed the institute might have found it easier to move past the problems had the news been balanced by, say, the development of… Full Story

Yep, Dallas’ Medicare Acceptance Rate Really Is Low Compared to Other Markets

Thanks to the alert D CEO Healthcare readers at Dallas-based Merritt Hawkins, we have some additional context to our post yesterday looking at the number of physicians who’ve opted out of Medicare here in Dallas. Slicing into CMS data, we saw that Texas docs have submitted 169 opt-out affidavits, bested in the state of Texas only by Houston. Merritt Hawkins helps us put those two cities within a national context. Among the 15 major markets they surveyed last year, Houston and Dallas are dead last and second-to-dead last, respectively. As you’ll see in the chart, Dallas’ Medicare acceptance rate sits… Full Story

Let’s See How Many Dallas Doctors Have Opted Out of Medicare

After 7,400 physicians submitted paperwork to opt-out of medicare in 2016, the number cut in half last year, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The entirely reasonable explanation cited in this Modern Healthcare piece attributes the decrease to the end of a stipulation that required providers to renew their opt-outs every two years. The renewal requirement went away—you guessed it—two years ago, hence the drop now. But whether the trend is more about paperwork than anything else, the news did get me thinking about how many doctors in Dallas choose to opt-out of Medicare. So,… Full Story

Report: Obamacare Sign-Ups in Texas Dipped More Than the National Average Last Year

After President Donald Trump used an executive order to peel back pieces of Obamacare in October, some of the ensuing discussion circulated around what the actions could mean for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplace. We got a look at a report compiling the year-end totals on Wednesday, and overall, it appears that the changes didn’t impact the 2017 enrollment period in the drastic way that many opponents of Trump’s order feared. Here in Texas, though, we saw some of the most significant drops of any state. Sign-ups through the federal exchange fell 8.2 percent here last year, down… Full Story

Measuring the AHCA’s Impact on Medicaid Policy

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on the American Health Care Act, the proposed legislation that aims to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. With regard to Medicaid, the AHCA would end federal funding for future expansion packages to states effective in 2020, and transition Medicaid’s program to a per-capita funding model. The Congressional Budget Office released estimates on March 13 stating the AHCA would leave 14 million people without coverage in 2018, with 5 million of those being Medicaid recipients. By 2026, the CBO reported, nearly 24 million people would lose coverage—14 million… Full Story

House Republicans Make Revisions, Aiming to Strengthen the AHCA

House Republicans have revised the American Health Care Act, which is proposed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Essentially, the changes made will delegate more Medicaid responsibility to the states, easing some tax requirements, improving (over the original bill) coverage and access for older Americans, and eliminating any tax dollars or credits to be used for abortions. An adjusted CBO score also is expected to be released reflecting these changes. Three House Committees–Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Budget–collaboratively amended the AHCA to “ensure more Americans have access to quality, and affordable health care,” according to the… Full Story

AHCA Could Remove Essential Health Benefits, Increase Financial Costs for Consumers

As the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act progresses, Americans are waiting to see whether the American Health Care Act proposal by House Republican will replace the current law requiring insurers to protect consumers with a minimum package of health benefits included in the ACA. In a recent press conference discussing the AHCA, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the administration and Congress will take “additional steps to change the health law.” But so far, replacement proposals have not included this feature. According to a Commonwealth Fund study, the steps Price referred to may include removing the… Full Story

House Budget Committee Advances AHCA, May Impact Low-Income Texans

The House Budget Committee voted 19-17 to advance the American Health Care Act, the Affordable Care Act replacement proposal, on to the House Rules Committee Thursday. The close vote was the result of three GOP defections from the Republican plan. Representatives Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and Dave Brat, R-Va., all opposed the AHCA because the proposal allegedly did not adequately repeal the ACA. Along with Palmer, Sanford, and Brat, the top-ranking Democrat on the budget committee—John Yarmuth of Kentucky—also opposed the bill, saying that if the AHCA were enacted, it would cause millions of Americans to lose their… Full Story