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Archive for June, 2011




In First Appellate Decision, A Significant Victory For The Affordable Care Act


June 30th, 2011

On June 29, 2011, the Sixth Circuit federal court of appeals held that Congress has the power under the Constitution to adopt the minimum coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The decision in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama is very significant for several reasons.  First, it is the first ruling by a federal […]

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Back From The Brink, But Still Waiting For PTSD Benefits


June 29th, 2011

On Monday, the federal government and the nation marked Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day. In a statement noting the occasion, Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “We have a responsibility to help Americans who have lived through trauma, especially our nation’s service men and women who may be dealing with PTSD.  We […]

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A Patient Advocate Perspective On ACOs


June 29th, 2011

The pace at which articles have been written about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) has been nothing short of frenetic. It appears every possible healthcare stakeholder has shared ideas regarding how the Shared Savings Program in general, and ACOs in particular should be structured. The breath of perspectives has likewise been astounding.  Organizations with only a […]

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Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ Is Losing Its Footing


June 28th, 2011

    First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign, launched on February 9, 2010, initially closely fit what obesity research data calls for, with its focus on children and its attention to exercise and better eating (rather than dieting), including its very title, “Let’s Move.”  At the launch, the first lady announced four major areas of focus: providing […]

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    New Cardiac Surgery Programs: Improving Access Or Duplicating Services?


    June 27th, 2011

    With cardiac services contributing 25 to 40 percent of a hospital’s net revenues, do new cardiac surgery programs improve access or exacerbate the duplication of services? To answer this question, the authors of a new Health Affairs Web First article published June 23 examined Medicare claims data to identify where new cardiac surgery programs were […]

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    Health Affairs Briefing: New Directions In Systems Innovation


    June 27th, 2011

    On July 7, 2011, Health Affairs will unveil its July 2011 issue, “New Directions In Systems Innovations.” The issue explores ongoing innovations in health care organization, delivery and financing across a broad front – from Vermont’s recent passage of single payer legislation, to new responsibilities for hospital boards of trustees as a consequence of the […]

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    The Latest Health Wonk Review


    June 27th, 2011

    The latest Health Wonk Review is available at Boston Health News. Tinker Ready presents a great collection of some of the most interesting health policy blogging of the last couple of weeks, including Joe White’s Health Affairs Blog post on the merits — and demerits — of the now ubiquitous phrase “bending the cost curve.”

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    Establishing Sensible Cost-Sharing For Medicare Cancer Patients


    June 24th, 2011

    A new study by Avalere Health, presented at the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, analyzed the pharmacy claims of 10,508 commercially-insured and Medicare patients who required oral therapy for cancer. The purpose of the study was to assess the effects of cost-sharing on the abandonment of these medications. The analysis showed […]

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    Foundation Blogs Round-up: Health Reform, Global Health, HIV/AIDS, End-of-Life Care, & more


    June 23rd, 2011

    I have put together a listing here of some foundation-related blog posts that you may want to check out. Now that summer has arrived, perhaps things are slowing down in your workplace, and you now have time for some professional reading! Links to a wide variety of posts follow. Incidentally, if you work for a […]

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    Obesity Epidemic May Make Mortality Gains Short-Lived


    June 23rd, 2011

    For those who assume that the next generation of Americans will live longer than their parents, a new “three-dimensional” method of forecasting vital health statistics shows how this may not prove to be the case. Most Americans enjoy better health today than in the past, with significant declines in death rates from the top three […]

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    An ACO Is Born In Camden, But Can It Flourish In Medicaid?


    June 23rd, 2011

    Across the country, policy experts are heralding accountable care organizations (ACOs) as the way to rethink the delivery of higher quality and more efficient care. Yet Medicaid, which cares for many of the nation’s sickest and highest-cost patients, has been largely absent from the ACO conversation. Now that the June 6 deadline for comments to […]

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    Implementing Health Reform: The Appeals Process Amended Rule


    June 23rd, 2011

    Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of posts by Timothy Jost on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Earlier posts have analyzed some important guidances, as well as provisions governing state waiver requests, student health plans, premium review (proposed rule and final rule), medical loss ratios, insurance exchanges, coverage for pre-existing conditions, appeals […]

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    A ‘Physician Fallow’ Program To Improve Quality, Safety, And Costs


    June 22nd, 2011

    In a recent New York Times op-ed, Rita Redberg MD, a cardiologist and Chief Editor of Archives of Internal Medicine, described the American health system’s penchant for delivering high volumes of “procedures and devices [to] patients who get no benefit and incur risks from them.” The culprit, of course, is fee-for-service reimbursement, used by Medicare, Medicaid and commercial […]

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    Setting The Record Straight On Drug Shortages


    June 21st, 2011

    John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) says in a June 8 Health Affairs Blog entry that the Public Health Service 340B drug discount program is part of a “web of [federal] regulations that are preventing life saving drugs from reaching the patients who need them.” More specifically, he says that the […]

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    Briefing: Patient Perspectives On California’s Safety Net


    June 20th, 2011

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will change the health care landscape for all safety net providers and those they serve.  Blue Shield of California Foundation and Health Affairs are pleased to present results from a new poll by Langer Research Associates identifying the perspectives that low-income Californians have on their healthcare – […]

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    The Mixed (De)Merits Of ‘Bending The Cost Curve’


    June 17th, 2011

    Political scientists emphasize the importance of “framing” in policy debates.  The health care cost control debate in the United States has been reframed by the promotion of a metaphor, “bending the curve.”  This metaphor has merits but they are decidedly mixed. The sudden popularity of the idea of “bending the cost curve” is significant because […]

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    U.S. Approves Cancer Drugs Faster Than Europe


    June 16th, 2011

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is often criticized as inefficient compared to its European counterpart, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), particularly in the field of oncology. However, a new study published online today by Health Affairs suggests otherwise: For new oncology drugs between 2003 and 2010, the median time for FDA approval was […]

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    Health Policy Brief: Medicare Advantage


    June 16th, 2011

    A new Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation describes the provision in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that will gradually reduce federal payments to the Medicare Advantage program. Roughly one in four of the nation’s 47 million Medicare beneficiaries currently participate in Medicare Advantage. These are private health […]

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    Arizona Health Survey: More than Just Numbers, Foundation Finds


    June 15th, 2011

    Read how community-based organizations can use results of a foundation-funded health survey. On June 2, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives (SLHI) presented information about and findings from the 2010 Arizona Health Survey to an audience of more than 100 community-based organizations in our state. Our aim was to share with these community leaders how that data […]

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    The Latest Health Wonk Review


    June 15th, 2011

    Here’s a belated shout-out to the most recent edition of the Health Wonk Review. Matthew Holt and John Irvine of The Health Care Blog do a good job of presenting an interesting collection of health policy blogging.

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