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Daily Rounds: Fighting Health Fraud; Treating Illegal Aliens; Free Post-Tragedy Care; College Or Insulin?

U.S. insurers to share data to fight health care fraud (AP in Boston Globe) "Stepping up their efforts against health care fraud, the Obama administration and major insurers announced Thursday they will share raw data and investigative know-how on a scale not previously seen to try to shut off billions of dollars in questionable payments. At a White House event with insurance executives, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the public-private partnership will allow government programs and the insurance industry to take the high ground against scam artists constantly poking the system for weaknesses."

Hospitals are worried about cut in fund for the uninsured (The New York Times) - "President Obama’s health care law is putting new strains on some of the nation’s most hard-pressed hospitals, by cutting aid they use to pay for emergency care for illegal immigrants, which they have long been required to provide. The federal government has been spending $20 billion annually to reimburse these hospitals — most in poor urban and rural areas — for treating more than their share of the uninsured, including illegal immigrants. The health care law will eventually cut that money in half, based on the premise that fewer people will lack insurance after the law takes effect. But the estimated 11 million people now living illegally in the United States are not covered by the health care law."

Colorado shooting victims to get free health care. Why not everyone?(Time) - "Three of the five hospitals treating the 58 surviving victims of the Colorado movie-theater massacre will waive some or all of the medical fees involved in their care, the AP reported yesterday. The other two hospitals, which are considered “safety net” hospitals because they frequently treat the uninsured for free or at low cost, did not reveal their plans to help the victims. It’s not clear how many of the shooting victims are uninsured, but the issue raises a larger question: why should only survivors of highly public tragedies receive affordable medicine?"Local student forced to choose between college and health care (CBS Boston) - CHELMSFORD  – A Chelmsford college student is learning a tough lesson in the politics of health care. Since she was diagnosed with diabetes at age 9, Katie Slowe has used an insulin pump to regulate her blood sugar. It is a lifesaving but expensive device. “It’s almost $1,000 a month to keep her alive,” her mother, Kathie explained. As a single mother of three, Kathie has been grateful she and her family qualified for MassHealth and all those expenses were covered. That all changed when Katie returned home after her freshman year at UMass Amherst and scheduled several doctor’s appointments...The problem is Katie turned 19 and that is when MassHealth pulls the plug on full-time college students."

This program aired on July 27, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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