I went to the doctor recently and got a new prescription. The doctor was kind enough to give me some free samples, and a voucher that I could redeem to fill the prescription once at no cost. In the future, it will cost me $50 if I decide to refill it. If I didn't have pharmaceutical benefits through my insurance coverage, the medication would set me back about $500 for a ...

Read more...

Is the move towards accountable care organizations (ACOs) and capitated (aka, global) payments likely to reduce health care costs and insurance premiums, or will it do the opposite? Being an economist, my answer will be, "On the one hand ... On the other hand ..." On the one hand, ACOs offer the potential for a better integration of care across the spectrum of primary care, hospitalization, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and hospice. If ...

Read more...

by Jeoffry B. Gordon, MD, MPH Preventive medicine services will soon require no co-pays. This is just another example of how complex and fouled up any health reform that depends on commercial insurance can be. In addition it demonstrates how pious morality infused into the democratic politics of health reform impairs the greater good. So after all current insurance policies renew, according to Affordable Care Act, preventive services must ...

Read more...

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll, conducted in August, shows public support for health care reform falling. After two monthly polls in which reform was viewed increasingly favorably, the new poll shows a sharp decline in public backing for the new law. Kaiser polls in the first couple of months after enactment of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) showed more confusion than clear support or opposition, but by June favorable ...

Read more...

If conservatives manage to kill health care reform legislation, what will happen next? I really don’t want to go there. First, I’m convinced that conservatives won’t be able to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Democrats will hold onto the Senate, and President Obama still has a veto. If necessary, he will use it to protect the bill. Meanwhile, the majority of the public either favors the legislation or want to “wait ...

Read more...

by Lucas Restrepo, MD Recently, the fire department of a small town in Tennessee called South Fulton ignored the call of a man who needed help quelling a fire near his house. The firefighters declined lending a hand because the caller neglected to pay a $75 bill, the prerequisite for deserving assistance. The caller tried to put down the fire with a garden hose, but after two ...

Read more...

At a recent staff meeting, a colleague mentioned her client was at an "awkward age". I thought she was referring to a teenager, but she quickly clarified herself. She was referring to the age before someone is old enough for Medicare at sixty five, an awkward time indeed.  Many people between the ages of fifty to sixty four find that relatively minor health problems make health insurance unaffordable. For those with ...

Read more...

Recently, reports about deceptive marketing and other questionable practices used by the growing for-profit higher education industry in the US appeared in the news.  For example, per Bloomberg:

Recruiters at U.S. for-profit colleges lied to entice students and encouraged them to commit fraud to qualify for aid, a report by the Government Accountability Office found. Recruiters at all 15 colleges studied by the GAO, Congress’s investigational arm, misled potential students ...

Read more...

In early October, the New York Times published two articles that addressed a pervasive problem from slightly different perspectives. Boiled down to its essence, the problem is the unintended consequences of some provisions of the new healthcare reform legislation. In his well crafted article, entitled "Health Care's Uneven Road to a New Era," David Leonhardt explored the impact caused by the introduction of new regulations into a "status quo" system. So-called "mini-med" ...

Read more...

Magic bullets come and go in the world of health policy, but the accountable care organization (ACO) is likely to be a durable reform. Except for group practices like Geisinger, Harvard Vanguard, Kaiser Permanente, systems like the VA, and local communities in which independent practitioners have established cooperative collaborations, health care has been grotesquely uncoordinated in the U.S. ACOs speak to that structural lesion. Title III of the Patient Protection and ...

Read more...

Most Popular