In many communities around the country, hospitals are one of -- if not the -- largest employers. Consequently, there are undoubtedly economic issues that would befall an area if its hospital were to close. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about the health care consequences, and by extension, the health consequences that might arise in a community when a hospital closes its doors. The logic is fairly straightforward: If a ...

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We all know them. We see them on TV. We read about them in the paper. And, with the explosion of social media, you hear about it from people you know. If you have a Facebook account with a sizable enough network of friends, you’ve probably seen at least one negative comment about vaccines. On one end of the spectrum, there are the seemingly innocent people who claim that they ...

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While there are plenty of valid reasons to be skeptical about the Affordable Care Act, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s hard to argue that imposing an individual mandate to purchase insurance won’t result in more people obtaining coverage. According to the results of a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that’s precisely what’s happened. Based on results of the National ...

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As of September 2, CVS -- the ubiquitous pharmacy/convenience store -- has stopped selling tobacco products, including both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. This is a bold move from the retailer, which is also planning to rebrand itself as “CVS Health” to emphasize its place in the health care delivery chain. I personally applaud the decision, because there are simply no benefits to tobacco use in any form. And it’s also ...

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Luxury goods are items that people purchase in disproportionately greater amounts as their income increases. That’s how economists think of them anyway. But for the average American, a luxury good means something else. We tend to think of luxury goods being things like designer clothing, luxury cars, and high-end restaurants. Our minds fill with images of Gucci, Burberry, and Luis Vuitton, or Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Ferrari. One thing is clear to ...

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Most people, regardless of their political leaning, can agree that the market for health care in the United States isn’t really working well. Take one step further, though, and disagreement rapidly ensues. On the left, the common understanding is that a market failure has occurred, and that the proper thing to do is have government intervene to correct that failure -- usually by expanding public insurance programs, subsidizing private insurance, and ...

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A primary criticism of the Affordable Care Act is that it creates incentives for employers to hire fewer full-time employees. One of the House’s attempts to repeal the ACA even referenced it as the “job-killing healthcare law.” It’s true that there are some provisions in the ACA that employers may exploit in order to minimize the cost of doing business. At the same time, it’s also true that the ACA protects ...

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The Affordable Care Act was enacted all the way back in 2010. But, even before then, critics were asserting that this new law would more or less destroy the American economy, insert Uncle Sam squarely between patients and providers, and initiate the end of freedom as it ushered in socialized medicine. That was nearly 4 years -- and 40 repeal attempts -- ago, and yet, the sky remains intact above ...

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In recent months, news reports focused on the number of new enrollees as a key test of the law. Although the troubled performance of the Healthcare.gov website during October and November delayed enrollment for hundreds of thousands of potential subscribers, Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats hailed a surge in enrollment at the end of the year as proof that the law would fulfill its promise of providing affordable coverage to ...

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The president, by his own admission, did “fumble the ball” on the rollout of the major elements of health reform implementation. Not only is Healthcare.gov not functioning as it should, but people in the individual market are having their health insurance coverage cancelled–despite repeated assurances that if they liked their current coverage, they could keep it. While that is absolutely a problem, it needs to be put into perspective. For ...

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For employers, the Affordable Care Act takes two distinct approaches. First, for small employers (those with 50 or fewer full-time employees), the ACA does not penalize, but rather incentives the purchase of insurance with subsidies available through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Second, for large employers (those with 51 or more full-time employees), the ACA does very little. Recognizing that the overwhelming majority of these large employers already offer ...

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In coming years the US could see growing shortages in the availability of primary care physicians (PCPs). With the number of individuals seeking care increasing and the current medical system continuing to incentivize physicians to specialize, the number of available PCPs will decline proportional to the population. To fill that gap, Ezra Klein and others have asserted that expanded scope of practice will allow nurse practitioners (NPs) to serve as ...

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Beautiful Nepal Photos (10) In the US, many health care woes are blamed on the federal or state government. Whether there is too little oversight and lack of transparency or too much interference and regulation, it seems that policy and politics often end up getting blamed for health care system troubles. But what happens when one lives in a country with no functioning ...

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Unplanned readmissions to the hospital have been the focus of much attention in recent years for obvious reasons. First, they are relatively easy to measure using administrative claims data. Second, like all inpatient hospitalizations, they cost a lot of money–and are therefore a target for reducing spending. Third, they are a proxy for quality of care, as at least some portion of them are likely avoidable if the hospital does ...

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For all intents and purposes, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the president’s signature piece of legislation, will provide more health care coverage to poor and underserved populations. Persistently disadvantaged communities have much further to go than those with insurance, and new means of accessing and paying for care will benefit them disproportionately. Nevertheless, with more than 20 percent of the nation’s black population uninsured, more than 30 percent of Hispanics ...

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shutterstock_30561922 Recently, an article by Kate Baicker and colleagues came out in the New England Journal of Medicine. Almost immediately, the article received widespread attention in the media where headlines claimed that giving people Medicaid coverage doesn’t improve their health. This is not exactly what the article said, but most journalists aren’t scientists, so we should cut them a bit of ...

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I recently wrote about some of the unintended, but positive, consequences that could result from employers dropping employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI). Following that post, many weighed in about various other consequences of such behavior from employers and what that means for health care coverage for millions of families in the US. One issue in particular caught my attention; not only because of the touching stories associated with the ...

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We all know about Medicare, the federal government health insurance program for Americans who are over the age of 65 and/or disabled. We know that as we have begun to live longer, the Medicare population has ballooned and the costs of the program are, by most estimates, “unsustainable.” We also know that Medicare, despite being a government program, is beloved by America’s seniors. If it was an unpopular program, Congress would ...

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From 1974 to 1982, a group of researchers conducted the RAND Health Insurance Experiment. In lay terms, what they did was assign people to different levels of insurance coverage, with a particular focus on the amount of co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles that people had to pay, and then they observed their use of the health care system. As you might expect, those who had to pay more out of their ...

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cleared two major hurdles in 2012: the Supreme Court ruling on constitutionality and the reelection of President Barack Obama. However, in 2013 there is a very good chance that Courts will see much more of the health care reform law due to objections regarding the contraception mandate. Despite the bills legal successes in the past, there are (at publication) more than
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