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Archive for January, 2010




Top 20 Health Affairs Journal Articles for 2009


January 29th, 2010

We are pleased to announce the “most-read” Health Affairs journal articles published in 2009. The number 1 article published in 2009 was on “Annual Medical Spending Attributable To Obesity” by Eric Finkelstein and colleagues.  All articles below are open to all readers for the next 2 weeks—through February 12, 2010. Top-viewed articles published in 2009 […]

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Rethinking Health Reform: The Need For A More Incremental Approach


January 29th, 2010

Editor’s Note: In the aftermath of President Obama’s State of the Union address, what is the state of health reform? Where do we go from here? In the post below, Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute addresses these questions. In other posts, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution and Timothy Jost of Washington and […]

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Workplace Wellness Programs: The Real Issues


January 28th, 2010

Editor’s Note: The post below responds to an earlier post by Jaan Sidorov, “Why Wellness Incentives Belong In The Workplace.” No one should doubt the importance of wellness and prevention in addressing the growing burden of chronic disease, especially in the workplace setting.  That is why the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and […]

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Groups Press To Continue Fight For Comprehensive Reform


January 27th, 2010

On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union address, a coalition of groups held a press conference to encourage the White House and Congress to continue the quest for comprehensive health reform. The election of Republican Scott Brown to the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly occupied by Edward Kennedy gave Republicans the 41 Senate […]

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Ten Small-Scale Reforms For Pre-existing (Chronic) Conditions


January 27th, 2010

Most proposals for dealing with the problems of pre-existing conditions would completely divorce health insurance premiums from expected health care costs. Yet a policy of trying to force health plans to take enrollees they do not want risks jeopardizing the quality of care they receive. Instead of suppressing the price system, I propose ten ways […]

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Health Reform After Massachusetts


January 26th, 2010

In health care policy circles the acronym “PMPM” usually stands for “per member per month” – a measurement used to describe payments in a capitated system, or prescriptions used by members of a drug plan.  However, after the victory of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, it can also stand for health reform “post-Massachusetts post […]

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Investing In Health Care In Afghanistan: Sound Morals, Sound Foreign Policy


January 25th, 2010

In the reaction to President Obama’s decision about Afghanistan – and in the months leading up to it – the administration, pundits and journalists have focused on troop levels and deadlines for withdrawal. Yet wars such as these are not won or lost on the battlefield alone. They are won or lost in the hearts […]

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Can Value-Based Insurance Be Cost-Effective?


January 22nd, 2010

A Web First article published January 21 by Health Affairs reports new evidence that value-based insurance design (VBID) programs, in which patients pay little or no copayment fees for high value health care services, can break even, or even save money.  The results, reported by Harvard’s Michael Chernew and coauthors, came from analysis of data […]

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Representative Camp: Where Does Health Reform Stand Now?


January 21st, 2010

Speaking at a Health Affairs media breakfast this morning, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) did not offer much hope for the prospect of moving toward universal coverage, either now or in the foreseeable future. Camp, the senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, offered a little heartburn for the insurance industry as well: He endorsed requiring insurers to […]

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The Latest Health Wonk Review Is Up


January 21st, 2010

Over at the Disease Management Care Blog, Jaan Sidorov hosts an Avatar-themed edition of the Health Wonk Review. Check it out for the best in recent health policy blogging.

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An Inconvenient Truth: The Health Care Cost Curve Is Already Bent


January 20th, 2010

No single government report more reliably generates editorials on the nation’s healthcare “crisis” than the annual CMS actuary’s report on US health spending. I’ve long suspected that a lot of these editorials, like obituaries, are written in advance, so that the editorialist can simply fill in the new numbers.  A two-decade long accumulation of these editorials […]

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Why Wellness Incentives Belong In The Workplace


January 19th, 2010

Editor’s Note: For a response to Jaan Sidorov’s post below, see Workplace Wellness Programs: The Real Issues, by Alan Balch. The health care reform debate has stirred up strong sentiments on both sides of an important issue that, on its face, doesn’t seem all that complicated: Should employers that offer wellness and prevention programs offer employees monetary rewards for […]

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Requiring Employers To Contribute To Health Coverage For Workers


January 16th, 2010

Almost three out of five Americans under age 65 have employment-based health insurance – but with costs rising, this coverage is under serious pressure. Congress is now finalizing plans to require more employers to contribute to coverage for their workers. The latest Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) […]

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Don’t Handicap The Reform: Protecting Integrated Care Systems


January 15th, 2010

Congress is preparing to finalize a health care bill for both chambers to consider.  The purpose of healthcare reform is to increase the number of insured, improve the level of health care and reduce health care spending.  Although there are many disputes in the health care debate, two issues seem clear.  First, integrated health care […]

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Wellness Programs And Diabetes Costs


January 14th, 2010

Two Web-First articles published today by Health Affairs analyze factors driving medical spending and the potential of certain strategies to curtail spending growth.  One study evaluates the evidence on workplace wellness programs and finds that the medical savings outweigh the costs for employers.  The second breaks new ground by developing a Cost of Diabetes Model and reporting that the national […]

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New Policy Brief Examines Individual Mandate


January 14th, 2010

As negotiations continue to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the health reform legislation, one thing is clear: most Americans would be required to obtain health insurance and penalties would be imposed on those who failed to do so.  This provision is known as “individual responsibility” or an “individual mandate.”  An […]

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It’s Time: The Era Of Patient Accountability


January 14th, 2010

Editor’s Note: In the post below, Healthwise CEO Don Kemper discusses empowering patients through information therapy. Kemper will participate in a panel on this topic at the 2010 National Health Policy Conference, which will take place February 8 and 9 in Washington DC. The conference, cosponsored by AcademyHealth and Health Affairs, will include discussion of hot topics […]

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Abortion Coverage And Health Reform: Bringing Evidence To Bear


January 13th, 2010

Editor’s Note: In addition to Kathryn Phillips and Daniel Grossman (pictures and bios above), coauthors of this article include Tracy Weitz, the Director of the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, both at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); and James […]

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The Mammography Guidelines And Evidence-Based Medicine


January 12th, 2010

As someone who has spent the last several years promoting the development of a comparativeness effectiveness center that would encourage the production of more objective information about what works medically, for whom, and under what circumstances, it is hard not to feel discouraged by the reaction to the breast cancer screening guidelines recently announced by […]

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Health Affairs Blog: Top 10 in 2009


January 11th, 2010

We offer readers the annual “top 10″ list of most-read posts from Health Affairs Blog. Health reform topped the list in 2009. If you missed any of these posts, here’s your chance to catch up on your reading. Propaganda And Prejudice Distort The Health Reform Debate by Merton Bernstein Nurse Shortage Eases Under Recession by […]

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