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Archive for June, 2007




HEALTH IT: Apostles Divided On Privacy, Privatization


June 28th, 2007

It was probably a burden that HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt could bear to have Pete Stark casting aspersions on Leavitt’s plan to privatize the American Health Information Community (AHIC). It’s going to be tougher, though, for Secretary Leavitt to buck a bipartisan Senate bill that would put AHIC under Congress’s wing and forestall privatization. The […]

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PUBLIC HEALTH: Are Hospital ERs Prepared To Handle Disaster?


June 27th, 2007

How prepared are U.S. hospital emergency rooms to handle a public health emergency stemming from natural disaster or pandemic? According to witnesses and Members of Congress at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last Friday—not very. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who chaired the hearing, said in his opening statement: “Last summer, […]

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COVERAGE: 1 Out Of 5 Nonelderly Adults Are Uninsured; Kids Faring Better


June 26th, 2007

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an early release of its 2006 National Health Interview Survey. Findings of note from The National Center for Health Statistics’ study: In 2006, there were 43.6 million uninsured Americans. Since 2001 the number of uninsured Americans has fluctuated between 41 million and 43.6 million. The […]

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P4P: Money Talks–But Only Sometimes


June 26th, 2007

A new study [2 weeks free access] in Health Affairs today shows that pay-for-performance (P4P) can work in a Medicaid managed care setting, but only if plans place enough dollars at stake and communicate well with providers. Suzanne Felt-Lisk and colleagues from Mathematica Policy Research evaluated a P4P demonstration of five Medicaid managed care plans […]

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TB: Massive New Plan; Heightened Attention


June 22nd, 2007

Tuberculosis is being a seen as a greater threat to world health now than at any time in the past half-century. The symbiosis of HIV/AIDS with TB in Africa, along with the emergence of multidrug resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug restistant TB (XDR-TB) have only heightened concerns in developing countries. Even in a developed country such […]

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GENOMICS: How Little We Know


June 20th, 2007

It is by no means a coincidence that an explosion of knowledge about the human genome has occurred simultaneously with huge breakthroughs in computing capability and information technology. Sequencing the genome, after all, depended on being able to digitize the representation of the nucleotides in DNA. The genome’s mechanisms of operation involve intercellular messaging that […]

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EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE: The Difficult But Critical Step Of Adding Cost


June 20th, 2007

In an interview published online at Health Affairs [2-week free access], David Eddy, founder and medical director of Archimedes Inc. in Aspen, Colorado, discusses evidence-based medicine (EBM) with Sean Tunis, founder and director of the Center for Medical Technology Policy in San Francisco. Archimedes was founded to improve the quality and efficiency of health care […]

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BLOG: Top Health and Medicine Blogs


June 19th, 2007

In less than one year since launch, Health Affairs Blog has been named one of the top 100 health blogs (#33) by Healthcare 100.com (#51). Other blogs of note on the list and on our blogroll include: 8. The Health Care Blog 16. American Journal of Bioethics Blog 30. WSJ.com: Health Blog 33. Health Affairs […]

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MEDICARE POLITICS: Heard On The Street


June 18th, 2007

While presidential candidates are expected to sound firm and decisive on the big issues, a more appropriate posture in the case of health care might be to admit that the current environment is too unsettled to predict what the best policies might be 18 months from now. The candidates might take a hint from the […]

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INSURANCE: California Coverage Becoming Less Affordable In Individual, Small-Group Markets


June 18th, 2007

Health coverage is becoming less affordable for Californians in both the small-group and individual insurance markets, but affordability problems are showing up in very different ways in the two markets, Jon Gabel of NORC and coauthors report in a paper published June 14 on the Health Affairs Web site (free access through June 27). The […]

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BLOG: Health Wonk Review


June 14th, 2007

David Williams of the Health Business Blog hosts the latest edition of the Health Wonk Review. He offers a terrific and concise round-up of recent posts on regulation, insurance and payment policies, even the TB guy.

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COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS INFORMATION: Would The U.S. Use It In A NICE Way?


June 12th, 2007

What happens when a government agency in charge of assessing the effectiveness of medical interventions crunches numbers and tells pharmaceutical companies their drugs are just too expensive? Sometimes, the government gets a better deal. Twice last week, the much-feared National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in England and Wales was a factor in […]

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COST: What Makes Insurance ‘Affordable’? Lessons For Massachusetts And Beyond


June 11th, 2007

As Massachusetts and an increasing numbers of other states seek to expand health insurance coverage, the question of how to determine whether coverage is affordable is front and center. In a Health Affairs paper [1-week free access] published last week, researchers say cost considerations must include more than premiums. Linda Blumberg of the Urban Institute […]

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BLOG: Cavalcade Of Risk At InsureBlog


June 8th, 2007

Henry Stern of InsureBlog hosts the first anniversary edition of Cavalcade Of Risk, a round-up of blog posts on risk-related topics from HSAs to physician reimbursement restrictions and beyond. Not all posts are health-related, but all tackle some angle of risk. For more research and policy analysis on health care risk/benefit trade-offs, see Health Affairs’ current issue, which […]

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INSURANCE: Coverage For Immigrants: 5 Myths And A Health Plan In Mexico


June 8th, 2007

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released a report on “Immigrants in the U.S. Health Care System: Five Myths That Misinform the American Public.” One of the hotly debated myths is the cost of medical care for such immigrants. A paper published in Health Affairs and cited in the new report found that “the foreign-born […]

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REFORM: State Reforms And The Presidential Campaign: SCHIPs Passing In The Night?


June 7th, 2007

Some of the liveliest discussions at this year’s AcademyHealth Meeting were on state reform. The Massachusetts legislation and now implementation has served as an engine for discussion for many previously jaded health systems scholars, reformers, and activists. With California now following Massachusetts’ lead in proposing universal coverage, many scholars are wondering how this scenario will […]

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Iglehart To Step Down From Editorship Of Health Affairs; Robinson To Become Editor-In-Chief


June 4th, 2007

After a distinguished 25-year tenure, Health Affairs Founding Editor John K. Iglehart will step down from the helm of the journal on September 4, 2007. Iglehart will remain affiliated with the journal in an emeritus capacity. James C. Robinson will succeed Iglehart at Health Affairs, becoming the journal’s editor-in-chief. Robinson is currently a contributing editor […]

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QUALITY: Are Doctors Asking The Right Questions?


June 1st, 2007

Orthodoxies rust easily. Even a benign truth — like the desirability of evidence-based medicine or health information technology — will decay if it is repeated too often or invested with an aura of magical infallibility. So the world needs Jerome Groopman. An M.D. and Harvard professor who writes for the New Yorker, Groopman is creating […]

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