Amarillo Vaccine Program a Success

Oct 6, 2015

Last year Amarillo created a program to protect residents from disease. And now that program is growing, reports Amarillo.com. The effort to immunize moderate- to low-income adults has given a few hundred more immunizations this year over last year. The city expects the number to increase by another few hundred vaccinations next year. Last week the Amarillo City Council voted to pay over half a million dollars for the vaccines it will take for the adult program.

feinburgconsulting.com / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The health law’s upcoming enrollment period may be its toughest yet, with federal officials promising a vigorous outreach campaign to enroll millions of eligible yet hard-to-reach Americans who have yet to sign up for health insurance.

Kansas Health Institute
Pixabay / Creative Commons

The federal health reform law known as the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from considering pre-existing health conditions when setting premiums for consumers. But they are able to consider age, location and tobacco use.

And that means some Kansans who smoke are charged higher insurance rates, which may discourage low-income smokers from getting health coverage, according to a new issue brief from the Kansas Health Institute.

Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

Enrollment in Oklahoma’s state-supported health insurance program continues to dwindle, reports Public Radio Tulsa. The program, known as “Insure Oklahoma,” has been shrinking steadily for five years.

US Uninsured Rate Reaches Record Lows

Aug 11, 2015
jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

The rate of uninsured citizens in the US continues to reach record lows, reports the Center for Rural Affairs. A recent Gallup report shows the rate falling 12 percent in the second quarter of 2015.Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, the rate of uninsured Americans has fallen by over 36%. Before the implementation of the ACA, the US uninsured rate was a persistent and growing problem. The problem was made worse by the Great Recession of 2008.

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From the Kansas Health Institute

Once again, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show.

Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY

USA TODAY reports that, not only are more Americans becoming eligible for Medicare, they are increasingly sicker than their predecessors. Diagnoses of kidney disease, depression and high cholesterol have seen double-digit increases since 2008. In addition, over half of all Medicare beneficiaries have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Two-thirds of today’s Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions, and 15% have at least six long-term ailments.


From Kaiser Health News:

Even in Kentucky, which championed the 2010 health care law by expanding Medicaid and running its own insurance marketplace, about half of poor people say they have heard little about the Affordable Care Act, according to a Harvard University study published Monday in Health Affairs.


Federal officials estimate that more than 1.3 million Kansans now have private health insurance that includes preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson has more. 

  This story comes from Kansas Public Radio.

Feds Warn, Use It or Lose It

Apr 27, 2015
Kansas Health Institute

An ultimatum has been laid down by the federal government that Kansas and Tennessee officials need to expand Medicaid or risk losing hospital funds.

These states could be jeopardizing special funding to pay hospitals by not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

A special enrollment period for health insurance through the federal marketplace started Sunday. But, not everyone's eligible.

KHI News Service

News that Gov. Sam Brownback has softened his position on Medicaid expansion wasn’t exactly racing through the Statehouse on Thursday.

But it certainly had some legislators buzzing.

In remarks Wednesday to conservative lawmakers in Missouri, Brownback said if the Kansas Legislature presented him with a budget-neutral expansion bill, he would likely sign it, according to a report in the Missouri Times.

According to a recent survey, Kansas is the only state with an increased number of uninsured.


Obamacare enrollment grew by nearly 70 percent in both Kansas and Missouri during the most recent sign-up period, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The number of Kansans enrolled in health insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act marketplace increased to 96,226 from 57,013. Missouri enrollment jumped to 253,969 from 152,335.


Premiums in the federal health insurance Marketplace are slightly higher, on average, compared to last year, but not in Kansas.  KPR's Bryan Thompson reports Kansas is bucking the trend.

The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period is underway.  KUT reported one of the barriers stopping people from getting coverage can be summed up in three words: health insurance literacy.  Here are the cliff notes for health insurance terms:

A HMO requires you to pick a primary physician.  That person will become your health home, and any services you want have to be approved by that physician.


Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and others are participating in election-year scare tactics with warnings that a multi-state health care compact the governor signed into law this year could affect Kansas seniors’ Medicare benefits reported Bryan Thompson for Kansas Public Radio.


A new report from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services says Kansans on Medicare will save more than $10 million this year on prescription drugs, thanks to one of the lesser-known provisions of the Affordable Care Act reported Bryan Thompson for Kansas Public Radio


Republican U.S. Senator Pat Roberts recently signed a pledge sponsored by the conservative women’s organization, Independent Women’s Voice.  The pledge is to repeal, defund and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare blogged Peter Hancock for the Lawrence Journal-World.

Huelskamp: A tactical change on Obamacare

Nov 11, 2013

The same man who was pushing to shut down the government just a few weeks ago to defund the Affordable Care Act, now says another government shutdown to stop funding for ACA isn’t likely to happen in January according to a recent Politico story

Michael Schumacher / AGN Media

The Amarillo Area Foundation recently hosted a symposium hoping to provide answers many have about the Affordable Care Act which many have dubbed Obamacare. Health care providers, administrators, business owners, and other citizens came to find out more according to the Amarillo Globe News.

Obamacare could be a tough sell in rural America

Sep 20, 2013
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” takes a big step forward Oct. 1 when new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment. Rural families are more likely to qualify for subsidized coverage, but reaching them to sign up will be part of the challenge.

So, will farm country take advantage of new health insurance subsidies? That’s the question in Nebraska.

Almost 200,000 Nebraskans don’t have health insurance. Nearly half of them are spread across the state’s rural areas.