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Archive for November, 2011




Implementing Reform: Funding And Flexibility For States On Exchanges


November 30th, 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, we draw ever closer to January 1, 2014, the day when the most significant changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act will come into effect.  Indeed, we are only weeks away from the halfway point between March, 2010, when the ACA was signed into law and October, 2013, the […]

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PEPFAR’s Declining Investment In HIV/AIDS Treatment


November 29th, 2011

Since its inception in 2003, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved millions of lives through providing anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS.  PEPFAR has been essential in moving overall coverage levels in African countries from near zero to a few countries reaching 80 percent coverage (e.g. Botswana) and several […]

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Innovations Engage Private Providers In Low- And Middle-Income Countries


November 28th, 2011

In a rural town in western Uganda, Nagasha struggled to find the money to pay for her baby’s delivery at a faith-based hospital. She was forced to sell part of her harvest and her husband had to work overtime to come up with the 20,000 Ugandan Shillings. However, when preparing for the birth of her […]

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Super Committee Post-Mortem: Health Care Policy Is Central To Partisan Budget Divide


November 23rd, 2011

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction wasn’t dubbed the “super committee” for nothing. In theory at least, it had immense and unprecedented power.  If the select committee had been able to produce a consensus plan on deficit reduction, that legislation would have been guaranteed an up or down vote in the House and Senate […]

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Defensive Medicine


November 22nd, 2011

Editor’s note: Below, we offer “Defensive Medicine,” the first health policy poetry to appear on Health Affairs Blog. The author is Adam Possner, a general internist and an assistant professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, whose poetry has been featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association and […]

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Media Partnership: AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference


November 21st, 2011

Attend AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference (NHPC) to hear directly from state policymakers, analysts, and practitioners about how they are facing those challenges and seizing new opportunities in a post-ACA environment. The 2012 meeting agenda features a special focus on states: Challenges of ACA Implementation at the State Level Representatives from some of the agencies […]

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The Super Committee: Less Important Than Meets The Eye


November 19th, 2011

The effort to cut federal budget deficits resembles nothing so much as the old movie serials in which each week the hero ran a gantlet of perils the last of which threatened imminent death or dismemberment.  Seven days later, the intrepid adventurer would somehow escape unscathed, only to repeat the cycle. The courageous crusader of […]

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Narrative Matters: What’s Lacking When Care Has Assembly-Line Efficiency


November 18th, 2011

Productivity at a breast care center is laudable, but not if interactions with scared or vulnerable patients lose the individualized human touch, writes Colleen Fogarty in the November Health Affairs Narrative Matters essay. Fogarty, a physician who practices at a federally qualified health center, describes her mammogram and follow-up care at a respected, high-volume breast […]

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After CLASS: A Proposed Long-Term Care Insurance System


November 17th, 2011

Editor’s note: A newly updated Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides more information on the CLASS Act and where we stand now regarding the need to provide affordable coverage for long-term services and supports. The announcement by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Community […]

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The Three Most-Read GrantWatch Blog Posts during October 2011


November 16th, 2011

Check these out in case you missed them when they first came out on GrantWatch Blog. 1. “Rural Health: Report from the Kentucky Health Policy Forum,” by Susan Zepeda and Amy Watts (September 23). Once again, this post by two staffers at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, in Louisville, made the most-read list. This […]

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MedPAC’s SGR Solution: Bad Medicine For A Chronic Problem


November 16th, 2011

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is the closest thing Congress has to adult supervision on important health policy questions. The Commission commands bipartisan respect both for its record of sound policy advice and for its leadership. With its October recommendations, MedPac attempted to solve the sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment formula budget crisis […]

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Pay Attention To Health Insurance Non-Benefit Costs!


November 16th, 2011

The McKinsey Global Institute reported in 2007 and 2008 that the United States spends twice as much for health care as for food. According to Census and Department of Agriculture data that pattern continues. Yet millions remain outside the protection of health insurance and many nominally within its bounds are seriously underinsured. Millions of individuals […]

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A Better Way To Approach Medicare’s Impossible Task


November 15th, 2011

As Congress faces mounting pressure to rein in Medicare spending, two sides seem to be squaring off. The don’t-touch-a-thing-other-than-squeezing-provider-fees position seems to appeal to mainly Democrats, while eat-your-spinach reforms, including more cost sharing and higher premiums, seem to appeal mainly to Republicans. Neither position is very appealing to voters, however, nor should they be. Is […]

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Physician Advice Through RUC On Valuing Services Helps Medicare, Primary Care


November 15th, 2011

Editor’s Note: There are ongoing legal and policy debates regarding the role of the Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) in advising the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on relative Medicare payment rates for different types of physician services. Below, Peter Carmel, the president of the American Medical Association, defends the role of the […]

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The Latest Health Wonk Review


November 14th, 2011

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is available at InsureBlog. There, Hank Stern highlights a smorgasbord of great health policy posts, including Mark Hall’s Health Affairs Blog post on the importance of the individual mandate to the workability of health reform.

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High Court To Review ACA’s Minimum Coverage Requirement, Medicaid Expansion


November 14th, 2011

Today, November 14, 2011, the Supreme Court decided to review a decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the minimum coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional.  The case will probably be argued before the Court in March and decided in the early summer. Procedurally, the Court “granted certiorari.”  […]

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The ACA Threatens Access To Care For Medicaid Patients


November 14th, 2011

It was recently reported that a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found, contrary to expectations, that demands on safety-net providers in Massachusetts have actually increased as a result of moving to a full coverage model.  While the study concludes that patients choose to use safety-net providers because of affordability and convenience, the underlying […]

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Grantmakers In Health Briefing on the Safety Net: Highlights from Presenters Ku and Siegel


November 10th, 2011

Grantmakers In Health’s Fall Forum, held in Washington, DC, included a well-attended one-day issue dialogue on the health care safety net. Following are a few highlights from speakers’ remarks and the subsequent Q & A session. To start off the day, well-known analysts Leighton Ku of the George Washington University (GWU) and Bruce Siegel of […]

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Health Affairs Blog Most-Read List For October


November 10th, 2011

October’s list of most-read Health Affairs Blog posts is led by Maribeth Shannon’s piece on the challenges of getting consumers involved in directing their health care. Several posts on the Medicare Shared Savings Program (ACOs) final rule also make the list, as do posts on the legal fight over health reform; the process of determining […]

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New Health Affairs Issue Includes Article on Oral Health Care of Children


November 9th, 2011

More and more foundations, it seems, are interested in oral health these days. The topic generated some buzz at a Grantmakers In Health meeting earlier this month, I noticed. The November issue of Health Affairs, just released this week, has a peer-reviewed GrantWatch paper on oral health care for children. Its abstract is free to […]

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