Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Policy' Category

State of the Union 2016: A Health Care Review

As I have done every year, below are excerpts from the State of the Union address that focus on health care (full transcript here). President Obama did not offer any specific policies except potentially additional funding for cancer research. The President did mention the success of the ACA in maintaining insurance for people transitioning to jobs […]

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Every Boston resident owes $3,000 for…

underfunded liabilities for city worker health care costs.  Brookings reports: Like most American cities, Boston has promised to pay most of the health care premiums for its employees after they retire — which can be as early as age 45 or 50. Boston also subsidizes the Medicare premiums of its retired employees after age 65. […]

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Is reducing disparity enough?

A recent paper in by Martin et al. (2015) finds that Medicaid Managed Care programs in Kentucky reduced monthly professional visits. Further, the decrease in the number of professional visits was larger for whites than for non-whites. The authors conclude: We find evidence that MMC [Medicaid Managed Care] has the possibility to reduce racial/ethnic disparities […]

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Over half of federal spending on entitlements

Here’s a graphic from the NIHCM foundation summarizing where federal revenues come in an where they are spent.  As you can see about one quarter of the budget is spent on  Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and ACA Subsidies and another quarter is spent on Social Security.  This is not news if you have been reading the Healthcare Economist diligently […]

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The 340B Program: An Overview

What is the 340B program?  A May 2015 MedPAC report has a nice summary: The 340B Drug Pricing Program allows certain hospitals and other health care providers (“covered entities”) to obtain discounted prices on “covered outpatient drugs” (prescription drugs and biologics other than vaccines) from drug manufacturers. Manufacturers must offer 340B discounts to covered entities […]

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Funding Physician Medical Education

Each year, more than $15 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent to support physicians in residency training. About one-third of this amount comes from Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The remaining nearly $10 billion flows through the Medicare program, primarily to academic medical centers via a complex […]

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The Mississippi Appendectomy

Access to care is a key issue for the poor. But for many poor, African-Americans, access to care is not the only impediment to regular visits to their doctor.  History can play a big role as well. For African-Americans, even going to a doctor can be a fraught historical act in Mississippi. There are the practical […]

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Innovation vs. Equity in Health Care Philanthropy

In the Denver Post, Dottie Lamm makes discusses Larry Ellison’s hope to live forever and his donation towards anti-aging research.  Ellison has donated $450 million to anti-aging research. Ms. Lamm worries that this research will only benefit the rich. If such measures are available only to billionaires, or millionaires, or even to “one-percenters,” I see […]

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What is MIPS?

Yesterday I posted about MIPS, the new Medicare physician reimbursement program set to begin in 2019.  The Health Affairs blog provides a nice summary of some of the changes. First and probably most importantly, the formulaic approach to setting base payment rates is gone, replaced with automatic increases for all doctors from 2015 through 2019. For […]

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Quality-Adjusted Cost Of Care

One of my paper (along with co-authors Darius Lakdawalla, Claudio Lucarelli, Sean Nicholson, Zeba M. Khan and Tomas J. Philipson) was published at Health Affairs.  The title of the study is: Quality-Adjusted Cost Of Care: A Meaningful Way To Measure Growth In Innovation Cost Versus The Value Of Health Gains.  The abstract is below. Technology drives both […]

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