Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Health Wonk Review: More than Birth Control Pills

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Feb• 16•12

Health care-related news topped the headlines this week. Mandates for insurers to include birth control pill in their plan benefits and news related to the Susan G. Koman foundation were featured on the front pages of most national newspapers.

While the birth control and Susan G. Koman stories are certainly important ones, there is a lot more brewing in the health policy world.  The American Health Lines (AHL) Alerts Blog lists four other important health care story-lines.

  • House Democrats’ concern with HHS’ deference to states on the essential health benefits rules;
  • A federal appeals court ruling that U.S. residents enrolled in Social Security are legally entitled to Medicare;
  • The conference committee attempting to come to an agreement on a yearlong patch for the sustainable growth rate formula — known as a “doc fix” — which sets Medicare physician reimbursement rates; and
  • States and the National Federation of Independent Business filing briefs with the Supreme Court in the multistate lawsuit against the federal health reform law.

Those are just a few of the stories you can read about in this week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review.

Birth Control




Health Reform


Republican Presidential Candidates

  • Is Rick Santorum a serious candidate for the Presidency? The Health Business Blog thinks that based on his health care platform, the answer is a resounding no.
  • Avik Roy posts on Forbes about the history of Republicans and the individual mandate.  Romney said in a debate in Las Vegas last October, “we got the idea of an individual mandate…from [Newt Gingrich], and [Newt] got it from the Heritage Foundation.”  Even Richard Nixon proposed an employer mandate in 1974.


The Grab Bag

  • Health Care Renewal gives a recipe for an effective stealth marketing of poor performing medical treatments:  i) suppress contrary research, ii) use ghostwriters to write ‘expert’ reports, iii) gain support of key opinion leaders, iv) intimidate those who threaten to expose these problems.
  • Healthcare Talent Transformation gives physicians a 13-step plan for EMR implementation.
  • HealthBlawg discusses the first HIPPA enforcement action against a business’s associate that has improperly released protected health information.  What was the problem?  The associate left an unencrypted laptop loaded with PHI in a rental car which was later stolen.
  • Workers’ Comp Insider posts a cautionary tale about when chiropractors go bad. Workers Comp fraud is not just for claimants.


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  1. hgstern says:

    As usual, a TERRIFIC job, Jason!

    Thanks for hosting, and for including our post (and esp for using *that* one).

  2. InsureBlog says:

    Health Wonk Review: Beyond Contraception edition…

    Our favorite healthcare economist, Jason Shafrin, has a very topical round-up of the fall-out from the recent Komen/PP/HHS kerfluffle….

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  6. Andrew says:

    As if pharma’s need a reason to increase pricing. I hope they get a cap put on them for how much they can charge for each class of brith control.

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