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Archive for May, 2007




BLOG: Top 10 Health Affairs Blog Posts For May


May 31st, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Hospital bills for the uninsured, new legislation on nurse working hours, and continued debate on health savings accounts were among the most-read topics on the Health Affairs Blog this past month. We welcome your continued comments. To receive immediately updated headlines from the Health Affairs Blog, you can grab our blog RSS feed for your […]

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CONSUMERS: Who Makes The Risk-Benefit Tradeoff Decision, And Why?


May 31st, 2007
by Chris Fleming

Why are consumers encouraged — indeed virtually required — to make choices among Medicare Part D plans, but discouraged from making choices about airbags, and prohibited from choosing to accept higher wages in return for accepting certain health risks in the workplace? Why are physicians and patients allowed to take on the risks associated with […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review On Candidates, Consumers, And More


May 31st, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Consumer-directed plans “pre-lash,” presidential candidates’ health reform plans, and more are discussed on the latest edition of the Health Wonk Review. This round of the biweekly health policy blog overview is hosted by Richard Eskow of The Sentinel Effect.

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CONFERENCES: Health Affairs At Global Health Council; AcademyHealth


May 30th, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Health Affairs is on the road this week and next. We’re currently exhibiting at the Global Health Council’s International Conference on Global Health in Washington, D.C., at the Omni Shoreham hotel until Friday, June 1. Health Affairs’ Deputy Editor for Global Health, Phil Musgrove will be at the booth in the exhibit hall to answer […]

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PHARMA: Do Newer Drugs Really Pay For Themselves?


May 30th, 2007
by Chris Fleming

Widely cited research suggesting that newer drugs “pay for themselves” is unreliable and should not guide policymakers until more valid research is undertaken, say Yuting Zhang and Stephen Soumerai of Harvard Medical School in a paper in the current issue of Health Affairs.

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INTERVIEW: Gov. Phil Bredesen On Failure Of TennCare; Future Of IT


May 23rd, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, interviewed Tennessee’s governor Phil Bredesen on health care, health information technology, and the challenges of changing a massive system with many moving parts. In the full interview, published yesterday in Health Affairs online, the governor talks about his involvement in the State Alliance […]

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PHARMA: Debating Risks And Benefits: The Case Of Tysabri


May 22nd, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

The readers and authors of the new Health Affairs paper “What’s More Dangerous, Your Aspirin Or Your Car? Thinking Rationally About Drug Risks (And Benefits),” by Joshua Cohen and Peter Neumann [1-week free access], have entered into a lively discussion on assessing the risks versus benefits of the drug Tysabri for patients with multiple sclerosis […]

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NONMEDICAL DETERMINANTS: It Ain’t Fair–More Results From The Whitehall Studies


May 17th, 2007
by Rob Cunningham

Whether it is ascertainable as fact or merely an impression, recent findings from the legendary Whitehall studies in the U.K. strongly suggest an interest in the quality of human relationships in society relative to health that is all but unimaginable in the United States. The New World is trying to get a grip on racial, […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review on Hospital Pricing and More


May 17th, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

This week’s Health Wonk Review is now up featuring highlights from the health policy blogosphere. Bob Laszewski of the Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review blog hosts a lively edition and shows how the same data (from Jerry Anderson’s new Health Affairs paper on hospital pricing trends for the uninsured) can be viewed very differently. Bob also […]

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MEDICARE: Are Private Fee-For-Service Plans Worth It?


May 16th, 2007
by Chris Fleming

The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) has succeeded in providing seniors with more “choice” among Medicare Advantage (MA) private health insurance plans. However, particularly in rural areas, much of the increased choice stems from a proliferation of private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans, which mimic traditional Medicare’s fee-for-service structure but receive reimbursements that exceed spending in the traditional […]

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CONSUMERS: The Blogosphere Debates Convenience Clinics


May 15th, 2007
by Jonathan Gardner

The spread of convenience clinics—or “McClinics”—has been debated across the health care blogosphere in recent weeks, stemming in part from Wal-Mart’s announcement that it plans to open hundreds in coming years. Yesterday, the subject was the question of the day on the Wall Street Journal’s health blog (sparked by a Journal op-ed by Grace-Marie Turner, president […]

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PUBLIC HEALTH: The Snus From Sweden: Good News Or Bad News?


May 10th, 2007
by Jonathan Gardner

Should doctors encourage patients to use a product that increases their chances of developing pancreatic cancer? Should public health agencies? This is a question that could confront the medical establishment if the Swedish moist smokeless tobacco known as “snus” becomes popular in the United States (and if the tobacco companies push the European Union to […]

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PHARMA: McClellan Predicts Resurgence Of Rx Drug Access Concerns


May 9th, 2007
by Chris Fleming

By an overwhelming 93-1 margin, the Senate today passed the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act, sponsored by Senate HELP Committee chair Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and HELP ranking member Michael Enzi (R-WY). In addition to authorizing substantial new resources for the FDA through user fees and appropriations, “the bill establishes a system of active surveillance […]

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HOSPITALS: “Soak the Poor:” Uninsured Hit With Higher Hospital Bills


May 9th, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Uninsured patients are billed on average 2.5 times more than insured patients and 3 times more than Medicare patients for hospital care, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. Professor Gerard F. Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health writes: “Fifty years ago the poor and uninsured were often charged […]

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NURSING: Legislation On Working Hours; New Nurse Shortage Study


May 8th, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Last Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Stark, D-CA, introduced the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act of 2007 (H.R. 2122). The bill would limit “the number of mandatory overtime hours a nurse may be required to work.” According to CQ HealthBeat, Stark said, “We limit the time that truck drivers and […]

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PHARMA: What’s Riskier–Your Aspirin Or Your Car?


May 8th, 2007
by Chris Fleming

Amid growing debate about appropriate regulation of drug safety by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a new study released today in the journal Health Affairs [subscription required] compares mortality risks posed by drugs to risks related to work, transportation, and recreation. The mortality risks posed by Vioxx to treat arthritis and Tysabri to treat multiple sclerosis […]

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TECH: Thoughts On Product Safety And More From A Medical Device Chairman


May 7th, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

In an interview published online at Health Affairs, John Brown, current chairman and past chief executive officer (CEO) of the Stryker Corporation, reviews the development of his device firm and the medical device industry over the past thirty years. He also shares with interviewer Rob Burns (professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) his […]

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DRUG SAFETY: Is Government Striking the Right Balance Between Access and Risk?


May 3rd, 2007
by Chris Fleming

In the wake of mounting drug safety problems, Congress is considering legislation that would strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory authority to assure the safety of medications. Policymakers and the public are debating how to strike the right balance between drug safety oversight, the benefits of bringing new medications to market and ways to […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review at InsureBlog


May 3rd, 2007
by Jane Hiebert-White

Today’s Health Wonk Review is hosted by Henry Stern of InsureBlog. Hank treats readers to the “Kentucky Derby” of health policy blogging, complete with visuals and sound effects (click on the headline).

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INSURANCE: Remler And Glied Respond To Reinhardt On HSAs


May 2nd, 2007
 
by Dahlia Remler and Sherry Glied

In our Health Affairs article, we examined the impact on cost-sharing of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) coupled with high deductible (HD) health plans. We showed that people facing high marginal tax rates who chose HD plans typical of those offered would face reduced cost-sharing and would likely to increase, rather than decrease, their health care […]

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