Hospitals turn to churches to reach immigrant populations, reports Michelle Andrews (KHN): “Language barriers and the fear of running into trouble because they lack proper documentation are among the many reasons that some immigrants avoid the health care system. Now hospitals seeking to connect with these hard-to-reach populations are turning to a trusted institution: the church.” Austin’s comment: Rex Santerre and I wrote about the role of government in exerting competitive pressure in the dimension of access. Clearly charitable institutions can serve that role too. (H/t Igor Volsky.)
In health insurance, what counts as ‘essential’? asks Sarah Kliff. “Under the health reform law, every insurance plan will be required to cover a set of “essential health benefits.” The Affordable Care Act defines 10 broad categories that must be included, such as “professional services of physicians and other health professionals” and “hospitalizations.” What fits within those categories is up to the Obama administration.” Aaron’s comment: This is a big deal, as making health insurance cover more things will make it cost more. Threading the needle between affordable and comprehensive. Those ambiguous words are important!