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Archive for February, 2007

REFORM: President Bush, Secretary Leavitt To Governors: May Need To Remove Some Children From SCHIP

February 27th, 2007

The governors are in town at the National Governors Association annual meeting. Yesterday President Bush met with the governors to push his proposal to change the tax code to encourage more private health care coverage [see related post from the eminent Tax Policy Center economists on what’s wrong with the president’s tax proposal and how […]

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MEDICAID: 4 Steps Toward Real Reform

February 26th, 2007

Today a bipartisan group of governors at the National Governors Association meeting here in Washington sent a letter to Congress asking for immediate action on SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) which is already running at a deficit in some states. The governors ask for $765 million in supplemental funding. Also of concern to states is the president’s […]

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REFORM: 5 Steps To Improve The President’s Plan

February 23rd, 2007

Len Burman, Jason Furman, Greg Leiserson, and Bob Williams of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center contribute the following post to the Health Affairs Blog. In his State of the Union Address, President Bush proposed a radical restructuring of tax incentives for health insurance. Instead of the current unlimited tax exclusion for employer contributions to workers’ […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review Looks at Health Reform and More

February 22nd, 2007

The one-year anniversary edition of the Health Wonk Review, a biweekly round-up of interesting health policy blog posts, is up at Workers’ Comp Insider today. Host Julie Ferguson leads off with blogs on the Edwards’ health plan, the letter on reform to President Bush from 10 Senators, new dialogue on mental health parity, and the […]

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COSTS: Health Spending to Double by 2016; Government Share to Reach 50 Percent

February 21st, 2007

Is the United States on its way to a de facto single-payer system? Over the next decade, U.S. health care spending is expected to double from today’s level, reaching $4.1 trillion, with the U.S. government share projected to reach 50 percent. Federal forecasters report in an article published online today in Health Affairs [2-week free […]

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BIOTECH: The Myth of Value-Based Pricing – So Far

February 20th, 2007

At last policymakers and readers are being set straight that the prices of drugs are not related to the immense costs of research and development but to “what the market will bear,” as James Robinson put it in his Health Affairs Blog post last fall. Never mind that pharmaceutical executives told Congress and everyone else […]

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TECHNOLOGY: A Conversation With E. James Potchen and Bill Clarke on Imaging Innovation

February 15th, 2007

Medical imaging promises transformative benefits for the practice of medicine. However, the technologies involved are already costly and getting more so, making it crucial to ensure that techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) are used cost-effectively.  I interviewed E. James Potchen, the University Distinguished Professor […]

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REFORM: The Edwards Health Plan and the Return of Community Rating

February 14th, 2007

Community rating, once the hallmark of health insurance in the United States, has been in accelerated decline since the 1980s. For the past few years, a fundamentally opposite notion of insurance, that of individual health savings accounts has been all the rage. The concept of consumer-driven health care–making consumers more aware of the actual costs […]

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REFORM: Proposals And Possibilities From Congress To States

February 13th, 2007

A “new season” of health reform was endorsed by Senators, state leaders, and Hill staff on both sides of the aisle at the National Health Policy Conference here in DC. [Update: Webcasts are now available.] This morning Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, predicted “the season of incremental change is coming […]

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POLITICS: NYC Mayor Bloomberg Calls for Health System Overhaul

February 12th, 2007

New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spoke passionately today calling for “an overhaul of the health care system” to “solve the problem of the 16s”—that is, 16 percent of U.S gross domestic product spent on health care and 16 percent of Americans without insurance coverage. Mayor Bloomberg, sounding very presidential at the lunchtime keynote […]

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POLICY: Conference In DC Next Week

February 9th, 2007

A heads up that next Monday and Tuesday is the National Health Policy Conference here in DC. The Feb. 12-13 conference is cosponsored by AcademyHealth and Health Affairs at the Capital Hilton, and onsite registration is available. Reform is big on the agenda, with insights into the Administration’s health proposal from Julie Goon, special assistant to the […]

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COVERAGE: Strange Bedfellows, Toxic Interactions And The Future Of SCHIP

February 8th, 2007

Yesterday, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Ezekiel Emanuel and Victor Fuchs called for dismantling rather than repairing the current patchwork U.S. health care system. They characterized the various reform plans being put out by presumptive and actual presidential candidates as Band-Aids for a perverse system characterized by “toxic interactions between public and […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review On Reform Plans And More

February 8th, 2007

The newest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up on HealthBlawg by David Harlow. The health care lawyer notes that the recent unveiling of President Bush’s health reform plan triggered a broader debate on reform on the health policy blogs these past two weeks. Harlow offers an interesting round-up of the debate.

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HEALTH REFORM And The Political Agenda

February 5th, 2007

In an op-ed column in yesterday’s Washington Post, David Broder wrote of the swelling momentum on health reform. In reading the tea leaves on the new political attention to increasing health care coverage, he cited the pre-election analysis of Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman and Harvard professor Robert Blendon posted on the Health Affairs […]

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PAYMENT: Congress Likely To Block Bush Cuts — Can Bush Block Medicare Advantage Cuts?

February 2nd, 2007

President Bush’s fiscal year 2008 budget will propose cutting Medicare and Medicaid by $70 billion over five years, Robert Pear reports in the New York Times. The administration is expected to propose freezing Medicare payments to home health agencies and reducing payment updates for hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers. The Bush budget also assumes […]

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BLOG: Top 10 Posts for January

February 1st, 2007

Health reform, hospital/physician tensions, and what policy wonks are saying in the blogosphere are the items attracting the most readership this past month on the Health Affairs Blog. Also of note, Elliot Wicks’ post on why a provider tax could work to raise revenues for state reform has hit a nerve in the physician community. […]

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