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Affordable Care Act

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In some states, reimbursements are so low that doctors say they lose money when they see Medicaid patients. And that can make it harder for patients to see their doctor — a recent study found that higher rates improve access to care.

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If you write about children’s health or health policy more generally, there’s one topic you won't be able to escape this year: the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The program’s funding will expire in September 2015 unless Congress renews it. Advocates say the program fills a vital need.

Picture of Kellie  Schmitt

A key goal of health reform has been to get insured individuals to seek out primary care rather than the ER. In the Bay Area, safety net systems are trying new approaches to funnel more patients into primary care, including putting nurses in firehouses.

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The ACA expanded insurance coverage, but many children throughout the country are still not receiving important health care benefits. The extent of the coverage exclusions varies widely depending upon which state a child calls home.

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As the pool of uninsured shrinks, public hospital systems must increasingly compete for newly insured patients. “We're forcing public hospitals to compete in one of the most competitive industries that has ever existed in the economy,” said one county health director.

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With millions of their patients newly insured because of health care reform, community health centers, once viewed as providers of last resort, are remaking themselves as providers of choice.

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Is Obamacare really at risk now that Republicans have taken the Senate? The core of the law will likely survive, thanks to the presidential veto power. Still, sections of it could be pruned away by the legislature. Here are a few possibilities the media has highlighted.

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In recent years, there's been growing concern that a lack of doctors will keep newly insured patients from accessing care. Now, a new tool can predict the supply of physicians and help journalists ask and answer new questions from the data. Fresh story ideas abound.

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Prop. 45 would grant California’s insurance commissioner the ability to approve or reject health insurance rate increases. While voter support soared over the summer, approval has fallen since then, as the insurance industry invests heavily in defeating the measure.

Picture of Kellie  Schmitt

The ACA is projected to save hospitals billions in uncompensated care, with the biggest savings in states that expanded Medicaid. But the good news for some hospitals is tempered by ongoing cuts in federal funding that could threaten the sustainability of safety-net systems.

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