Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Medicaid/Medicare' Category

The problem of cutting Medicaid rates

A new paper by Sharma et al. (2017) finds that Medicaid patients living in states with lower Medicaid reimbursement have more challenges accessing primary care services. We found that states with higher Medicaid fees had higher probabilities of appointment offers and shorter wait times for Medicaid patients, and lower probabilities of appointment offers and longer […]

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The cost of cancer care: Examining four common cancers

An interesting study by Chen et al. (2017) examines the cost of cancer care among Medicare patients.  Using SEER-Medicare data of people diagnosed with cancer between 2007 and 2011, they found: Over the year of diagnosis, mean per-patient annual Medicare spending varied substantially by cancer type: $35,849 for breast cancer, $26,295 for prostate cancer, $55,597 […]

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The market works!

In 2011, CMS created a demonstration to have competitive bidding for durable medical equipment (DME).   Prior to the implementation of this program, CMS used an administrative fee schedule, similar to how physicians are currently reimbursed.  How did this market-based solution fare?  A paper by Newman, Barrette, and McGraves-Lloyd (2017) answers this question. We compared […]

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Should we put an end to Medicare Advantage?

Austin Frakt of the Incidental Economist argues convincingly–and I agree with him–that the answer is no. Medicare Advantage plans have been found to be of higher quality than traditional Medicare. They also reduce wasteful use of health care by managing care, something the traditional program doesn’t do at all. Finally, they fill in gaps in coverage and […]

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Can Medicaid beneficiaries access primary care providers?

In general the answer is yes, but often with some difficulty.  AJMC recaps the findings from a the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Quick Stats section from July 21, 2017. 88.9% of primary care physicians said they are accepting new patients, based on 2015 data from the National Electronic Health Records Survey. However, […]

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How many people don’t have any health insurance options

Much of the news has claimed that the Affordable Care Act is a failure because individuals in many counties have few or even no health insurance options.  However, how many counties truly will have zero Obamacare exchange insurance options in 2018 ? The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that there are only 17 counties covering 9,595 […]

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Appropriate Use Criteria, or how I learned to love CMS telling doctors what to do

As part of Section 218(b) of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, CMS instituted the appropriate use criteria (AUC) for the use of advanced diagnostic imaging.  In order to be reimbursed for these diagnostic imaging services, physicians must consult with and document that they used AUC software before recommending advanced diagnostic imaging.  Failing to document use […]

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Why Medicaid patient access to physicians is limited.

In short, the reason is that Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers is too low.  Saurabh Jha, however, explains the point a bit more artistically in his Health Care Blog piece. Medicaid pays a cardiologist, with years of training, $25-40 for a consultation to manage a complex patient with multiple comorbidities, on polypharmacy, where the cardiologist […]

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Medicare’s value-based purchasing fail?

Value-based payment is the latest hot topic.  One question remains, however, does it work?  Does paying for quality improve quality.  A study by Zuckerman et al. (2016) finds that the hospital readmissions reduction program (HRRP) did appear to reduce re-hospitalization rates among the targeted conditions. What about the hospital value-based purchasing program (HVBP).  Beginning in […]

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Will Better Care deliver better care?

The Senate’s new health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, proposes a number of changes to the Affordable Care Act.  The Kaiser Family Foundation has a detailed breakdown of the bill and compares it with the Affordable Care Act that President Obama passed and the American Health Care Act that was proposed […]

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