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Archive for April, 2007




COVERAGE: Rocky Going For Reforms In Maine, Tennessee


April 30th, 2007

As the health care reform debate proceeds, one battleground is what to make of the results in states like Maine and Tennessee, where pioneering efforts to expand coverage have encountered difficulties. Today’s New York Times has a thorough front-page article on Maine Governor John Baldacci’s (D) efforts to revamp the Dirigo health plan, which was […]

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GRANTWATCH: Childhood Obesity On The Agenda


April 26th, 2007

The latest edition of Health Affairs’ GrantWatch [free access], highlights the new announcement by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that “it will commit at least $500 million over the next five years” to work on the problem of childhood obesity. Its “goal is to reverse” the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States by […]

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PHYSICIANS: Malpractice Premium Spike In Pennsylvania Did Not Decrease Physician Supply


April 25th, 2007

When surveyed, many physicians say that they will restrict their scope of practice or stop practicing medicine altogether in response to rising malpractice insurance premiums. However, when push comes to shove, physicians’ responses to the latest liability “crisis” have been much more modest. That’s the conclusion of a new look at Pennsylvania’s experience (free access […]

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QUALITY: Payment Debates At The World Health Care Congress


April 24th, 2007

The Washington Convention Center was abuzz as nearly 2,000 health industry and policy wonks gathered for the 4th annual World Health Care Congress. The standard policy topics of cost, quality, and coverage were up for debate, along with competition, effectiveness, transparency, and, of course, reform. For comprehensive blogging on the event, check out the official […]

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SCHIP Reauthorization: Federalism As Jujitsu


April 24th, 2007

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is blessed with many allies, but it faces a strategic challenge with the necessity of shifting constantly back and forth between playing offense and defense. State budgets are tight, and the Bush administration has proposed a 5-year, $4.8 billion increase for SCHIP that is less than half the […]

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TECH: 19th Century Economics And 21st Century Medicare — Paying For Modern Diagnosis


April 19th, 2007

The annual debate on how to spend Medicare dollars is here again. We have many modern analytical tools to look at health care spending, but it may be worth going back to some basic insights of microeconomics. About 140 years ago, a group of economists showed that rational decision making meant looking at marginal cost […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review Up at Healthcare Economist


April 19th, 2007

Jason Shafrin of the Healthcare Economist blog hosts today’s Health Wonk Review. This round-up of the best of health policy blogging features Uwe Reinhardt’s post on HSAs, a look at how Massachusetts’ universal coverage plan is working, evaluation of fee-for-service vs. capitation payment, and more. Take a look!

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PHARMA: PDUFA Reauthorization: Has Success Spoiled User Fees?


April 18th, 2007

It’s not the hottest ticket in town. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) funds 42 percent of the budget of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, a large, complex, and indispensable scientific bureaucracy that requires fundamental stability. Since 1992, PDUFA has cut drug approval times in half. Congress […]

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PHYSICIANS: Self-Referral Banned, But Surprisingly Common


April 17th, 2007

A study [free access for two weeks] published today on the Health Affairs Web site provides the first empirical evidence concerning how often physicians are stretching federal and state laws — and perhaps breaking them — by referring patients to imaging providers with whom they have a financial relationship. “Laws enacted during the early 1990s […]

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PAYMENT: Wilensky on Medicare SGR, Part 2


April 16th, 2007

Today economist Gail Wilensky responds to comments about the Medicare sustainable growth rate on her earlier Health Affairs Blog post. Here’s an excerpt: “As a market-oriented economist, I have a lot of sympathy with trying to rely on markets, but that’s hard to do in a Medicare system that in some areas dominates the market. […]

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QUALITY: P4P and Quality Incentives Can Hurt Poor, Minority Patients


April 13th, 2007

Pay-for-performance (P4P) and public quality-reporting programs offer the potential to increase the quality of health care overall, but they threaten to actually decrease quality for minority and low-income patients in the process. In an article published April 10 on the Health Affairs Web site [free access through April 23], Larry Casalino of the University of […]

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INSURANCE: A Closer Look At HSAs


April 12th, 2007

Do high-deductible health insurance policies, coupled with tax preferred Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) championed by the Bush Administration and a number of health policy analysts, actually reduce rather than increase cost sharing for many groups? Dahlia K. Remler and Sherry A. Glied made this case in a Health Affairs paper which was quickly picked up […]

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REFORM: The Polarities Aren’t All Political


April 11th, 2007

Old hands in Washington are getting a here-we-go-again feeling about health care these days. Candidates and polls are pushing reform toward the top of the nation’s agenda. Many states are on the march. Realism occasionally rears its head in the right places: Controlling cost growth seems to be recognized increasingly as a priority of the […]

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INSURANCE: Bleeding Edge Benefits And Who’s Going To Pay?


April 10th, 2007

The sentiment “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has a strong foothold in the United States, as does the thought that it takes a whole lot to prove that something’s “broke.” Nonetheless, Americans are increasingly declaring that health insurance in this country is very badly broken. The reality, many say, is that insurance coverage […]

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REFORM: Hamilton Project Enters The Health Policy Debate


April 10th, 2007

The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution was founded to advance opportunity and prosperity through broad-based growth, economic security, and effective government. Perhaps no issue is more important in all of these regards than health care. Today we are releasing three specific proposals to promote affordability and effectiveness in health care. This summer we’ll release […]

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PUBLIC HEALTH: Listening To The Lions: Can CDC Live Up To Its Legacy?


April 5th, 2007

Don’t read this blog. Instead, close your door, unplug your phone, and click on this link, which will transport you to a lecture hall in downtown Washington, where five former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met recently to discuss the agency’s legacy and its future. You can read here that […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review And Health Reform 2.0


April 5th, 2007

Health Affairs Blog is pleased to host the post-April Fool’s edition of the Health Wonk Review, the biweekly round-up of the best of health policy blogging. Just to show that policy wonks can have a sense of humor, Dmitriy Kruglyak at Trusted.MD blog posts a spoof endorsing a new, improved “Health 2.0.” Universal Coverage. A new, improved […]

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HEALTH IT: Vision For E-Prescribing Outstrips Reality


April 4th, 2007

While physicians who have embraced e-prescribing wouldn’t go back to paper prescriptions, they report major barriers to using advanced e-prescribing features that many advocates believe offer the greatest potential to improve the safety and quality of health care, according to a study (free access through April 16) by Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) […]

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HEALTH IT: How Can We Expedite Knowledge Transfer And Still Manage Expectations For Electronic Health Records?


April 3rd, 2007

Two recent events in this winter’s panoply of D.C. health policy conferences stand out, largely because they invite us to think about a host of problems that beset our health care system in a new way; but also because they raise two nettlesome issues. One event was convened by Health Affairs to highlight a core […]

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BLOG: Top 10 Health Affairs Blog Posts for March


April 2nd, 2007

This past month on the Health Affairs Blog, Harvard Business School guru Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg weighed in on the debate surrounding their book and prescription for health reform, Redefining Health Care. Other most-read blog posts looked at Medicare payment, cost containment, biotech, children’s health insurance, and more. We welcome your continued comments. To […]

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