- Alaska's independent Gov. Bill Walker last week announced he would use his executive power to extend Medicaid eligibility to as many as 40,000 low-income residents. That put his state on track to become the 30th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Walker unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Alaska Legislature to expand the program, first through the state budget process and then with a free-standing bill. “This is the final option for me, I've tried everything else,” Walker said during a news conference. State officials estimate Alaska would draw $1.1 billion in additional federal funds over the next six years under the ACA by expanding eligibility to impoverished Alaskans.
Alaska's governor expands Medicaid through executive power, and other briefs
- Four-hospital UCLA Health last week said cybercriminals hit part of its network containing the records of an estimated 4.5 million people. Officials said “they could not rule out the possibility” that the attackers had accessed individuals' personal or medical information.” The UCLA Health statement said it first discovered suspicious activity last October, but didn't learn until May 5 that attackers had accessed parts of the network containing “personal information such as names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers, Medicare or health plan ID numbers and some medical information.” The FBI and private computer forensic experts are investigating the breach, the statement said.
- People who purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces had one-third fewer choices in healthcare providers than those covered by employer plans, according to an analysis released last week. Consulting research firm Avalere Health found that plans offered through the ACA's exchanges offered an average of 34% fewer in-network providers, compared to the choices provided by the average employer-based or individual non-exchange commercial plan. The study found exchange networks offered 32% fewer primary-care and behavioral-health providers, 42% fewer oncology and cardiology physicians, and nearly a quarter fewer choices of hospitals.
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