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Archive for October, 2009




The House Health Reform Bill: Delivery System Reforms And Other Provisions


October 31st, 2009

Editor’s Note: Tim Jost wrote 3 posts analyzing the House health reform bill HR 3962. The first looks at financing reforms, the second post delves into the public option, health insurance exchanges, and more. A new 4th post analyzes what changed in the bill the House approved Saturday night. In this final post, I will explore […]

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The Public Option And Insurance Exchange In The House Bill


October 30th, 2009

Editor’s Note: A new 4th post analyzes what changed in the bill the House approved on Saturday night. In my first post, I described the major features and basic approach of HR 3962, as well as the provisions of the bill that would go into effect more or less immediately.  This post will look more […]

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A Compromise Proposal On Financing Health Reform


October 30th, 2009

Both the new House health reform bill and the Senate Finance Committee bill, despite their best efforts, have to impose some taxes on some taxpayers; they cannot get all of a trillion dollars of subsidies for insurance out of Medicare.  But they differ on what and whom to tax: the House proposes to tax well-off […]

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HR 3962: The Affordable Health Care for Americans Act


October 30th, 2009

HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act, hit the House floor with a thud Thursday morning at 1990 pages, almost double the size of the bill we last saw before the Energy and Commerce hearings at the end of July.  The bill incorporates, of course, amendments from the House jurisdictional committees, but also […]

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The AHIP Report: Beneath Questionable Numbers Is A Serious Concern


October 29th, 2009

On October 12 America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) released a commissioned report by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), “Potential Impact of Health Reform on the Cost of Private Health Insurance Coverage.”   The study reported that health care reform as envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee would raise the cost of private health insurance by 23 percent […]

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A Narrative On Narrative Matters


October 28th, 2009

Narrative Matters recently brought together 80 writers, journalists, and academics to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of Narrative Matters.  There was much to celebrate: over 150 Narratives published in Health Affairs that covered a spectrum of human stories set in the increasingly institutionalized health care system.  We came to celebrate the power of stories and storytelling in the […]

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Do Hospitals Treating The Poor Face A Digital Divide?


October 27th, 2009

A new study published yesterday in Health Affairs finds that hospitals that disproportionately care for low-income patients are falling behind in adopting electronic health records (EHRs). This is the first paper to use national data comparing EHR adoption between acute care providers primarily caring for the poor and those serving more general populations. Ashish Jha of […]

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Senate Bill Will Include Public Option With State Opt-Out Provision


October 26th, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answered some important questions at his Capitol Hill news conference today: The health reform bill he will send to the Senate floor will include a public health insurance plan with a state opt-out provision, and as a result the much-courted Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) — the lone Republican to vote in committee for […]

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New Policy Brief Explores Insurance Market Reforms


October 22nd, 2009

Congress is debating provisions of health reform bills that would considerably revamp segments of the private health insurance market. Focused on health insurance for individuals and small businesses, the changes would end the commonplace practice in these parts of the insurance market of using health status to set premiums or deny coverage. A new Health […]

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Flat-Lining Quality And The Implications For Health Reform


October 22nd, 2009

As Congress prepares for an historic floor debate over health care reform, those of us who have worked in the trenches to measure and improve the quality of care are watching with a mix of anticipation and concern. Reform has the potential to significantly improve the transparency and, ultimately, the quality of our system of […]

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An Interview With AHA President Rich Umbdenstock


October 21st, 2009

Editor’s note: Health Affairs Founding Editor John Iglehart recently interviewed American Hospital Association CEO Rich Umbdenstock. The wide-ranging conversation, transcribed below, touched on the ongoing health reform debate, the evolving role of hospitals in community health, the effect of the economy on hospital finances, the evolution of integrated medicine, patient safety, workforce concerns, and other […]

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Are Higher-Value Care Models Replicable?


October 20th, 2009

Editor’s Note: In addition to Arnold Milstein and Pranav Kothari (pictures and bios above), coauthors of this post include Rushika Fernandopulle MD, MPP, of Harvard Medical School and Renaissance Health in Boston, and Theresa Helle of the Boeing Company in Seattle. For more on health care delivery system innovations and reforms, see the Sept-Oct 2009 issue of Health Affairs, […]

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Examining The Links Between Chronic Illness And Uninsurance


October 20th, 2009

Two papers, released today by Health Affairs, provide a “reality check” about some of those living with chronic conditions who lack health insurance. • Uninsured Adults With Chronic Conditions Or Disabilities: Gaps In Public Insurance Programs By Steven D. Pizer, Austin B. Frakt, and Lisa I. Iezzoni Who are the uninsured? Where do they live? […]

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Hiding In Plain Sight: Using Medicare To Solve The ‘Public Option’ Conundrum


October 20th, 2009

As Senate and House Committee versions of health reform move toward unified legislation and floor votes, the most complex political challenge is how to resolve the “public option” controversy.  While one would have thought weightier issues such as the shape of Medicare reform, the taxation required to support coverage subsidies, or the presence or absence […]

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Baucus: The Public Option Is “Alive”


October 19th, 2009

The public option is “alive,” Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said in a media conference call sponsored by Families USA. The Senate Finance health reform bill is the only one that does not include a publicly run health insurance plan among the options that would be offered to consumers purchasing coverage in a new health insurance exchange. Baucus […]

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Health Affairs Briefing: Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases


October 19th, 2009

The November/December 2009 edition of Health Affairs focuses on key global health challenges, including tackling so-called “neglected diseases” such as trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide.  Key lawmakers, leading health policy experts, including former NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D.; and industry officials have been invited to discuss the appropriate strategies and policies for […]

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Blogging And Puns At The Health Wonk Review


October 15th, 2009

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up. This edition is hosted by Henry Stern at InsureBlog, and as always it contains the best in health policy blogging. As an added bonus, Henry provides a couple of puns concerning the flu that elicit groans, which for puns is the equivalent of rousing applause.

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Misplaced Faith: The Real Causes of Ill Health


October 15th, 2009

Editor’s Note: The post below by Merrill Goozner first appeared on The Values and Health Reform Connection, a site run by the Hastings Center and supported by Health Affairs as a media sponsor. Goozner’s post can also be found on his blog GoozNews on Health. The Values and Health Reform Connection grew out of the Hastings Center Publication “Connecting […]

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Lakdawalla Wins Award From Research!America


October 15th, 2009

On Tuesday October 13, Darius Lakdawalla was awarded Research!America’s 2009 Garfield Economic Impact Award for his paper “U.S. Pharmaceutical Policy In A Global Marketplace,” published in Health Affairs, December 16, 2008.  Lakdawalla is director of research, Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, and associate professor, School of Policy, Planning and Development, at the University of […]

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The Senate Finance Bill And Insurance Exchanges


October 14th, 2009

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 in favor of legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system. Much attention was focused on the “yes” vote supplied by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the one Republican who joined all 13 Committee Democrats in support of the bill.  Garnering less attention was the yes vote cast by Ron Wyden (D-OR). […]

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