Obamacare and voting rights clash over health exchanges

voter registration

Some say, for instance, that offering registration through exchanges would be a boon for Democrats in reaching minorities or poor and working-class voters. Others have said letting the exchanges register voters is a backdoor attempt to “resurrect” ACORN, the much-maligned and now-defunct community group that represented low- and moderate-income families. Conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh has said tying voting and the health law shows “the purpose of Obamacare.” “It’s about building a permanent, undefeatable, always-funded Democrat majority,” he said. Opponents of the Motor Voter Act expressed similar concerns when that measure was passed, although those fears were not borne out by registration trends in years since.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/08/16/stateline-voting-insurance-exchanges/2664483/

Audit: Mental health contract raised local costs

DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert defended the management deal in a statement, saying the changes have expanded access to care, growing from 800 health care providers that serve patients to 1,700 providers. She said the audit was a limited analysis of four providers that didn’t look at the full implications of the contract. “The partnership has allowed us to expand access to care for more individuals and provide better quality services through managed care,” Kliebert said. She added, “This was the program’s first year and, as with any new program, we’ve learned what works and how to improve it.” The contract with Magellan began in March 2012 and runs through February 2014. The state paid Magellan $156 million for the first year of work, according to the audit.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Audit-Mental-health-privatization-increased-costs-4744102.php

Audit: Mental health privatization increased costs

The audit says the outsourcing has caused problems with claims payments, which have increased costs for the human services districts and have made it more difficult for them to get reimbursed for their services. It also says the same districts lost money under a requirement that they use Magellan’s electronic health records system. Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Hospitals didn’t make sure Magellan processed claims on time and failed to penalize the private company when it didn’t meet planning and technical benchmarks, the audit says. “No sanctions have been imposed on Magellan for not meeting all required contract provisions,” the review says.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LA_HEALTH_PRIVATIZATION_LAOL-?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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