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Archive for May, 2012




The Curtain Rises On The Fourth Act: States’ Evolving Responses To The Affordable Care Act


May 31st, 2012
by Alan Weil

Editor’s note: For more on the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling on states, see Sonya Schwartz’s Health Affairs Blog post. As we anticipate release of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, we can look back at how states have responded thus far to the ACA in order […]

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Media Partnership: State Healthcare IT Connect Summit


May 30th, 2012
by Chris Fleming

Whatever the Affordable Care Act’s fate in the Supreme Court, Medicaid will continue to be of great importance to states and will continue to consume large portions of their budgets. Modernizing state Medicaid programs will be a key focus of the third annual State Healthcare IT Connect Summit, June 19-21 in Dulles Virginia. The conference […]

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Prescription Drug Shortages: Reconsidering The Role Of Medicare Payment Policies


May 29th, 2012

Concern over prescription drug shortages has recently reached a fever pitch.  The cause for concern includes the rise in the sheer number of shortages — from fewer than 80 shortages in 2005 to more than 250 in 2011 — and the types of drugs affected.  Injectable drugs such as chemotherapy, which are often vital to […]

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The Latest Health Wonk Review


May 25th, 2012
by Chris Fleming

This week’s Health Wonk Review is available at the Disease Management Care Blog, where Jaan Sidorov offers great write-ups of a very interesting collection of posts. Jaan is kind enough to include a Health Affairs Blog piece about a shared savings program started in 2007 by Blue Shield of California, CalPERS, Hill Physicians Medical Group […]

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Americans’ Thoughts on the Role of the United States in Global Health: Foundation Survey


May 24th, 2012
by Lee-Lee Prina

This week, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released results of a survey that aimed to find out what Americans think about the country’s role in global health. The February 2012 telephone poll asked a variety of questions, including whether US spending on global health is at an appropriate level. Other questions went beyond health […]

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Health Affairs Briefing: The Care Span For The Elderly And Disabled


May 24th, 2012
by Chris Fleming

On Tuesday, June 5, Health Affairs will hold a briefing to discuss its June 2012 issue, “Focus On The Care Span For The Elderly And Disabled.” The volume explores a wide range of topics — from avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions, to coordination of care for dual eligibles, to reforming Medicare payment for skilled nursing […]

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Most Individual Polices Would Not Meet Affordable Care Act Standards


May 24th, 2012
by Chris Fleming

More than 11 million Americans below the age of 65 are now covered by private individual health insurance plans. A new study, released yesterday by Health Affairs as a Web First, measures the actuarial value (the percentage of medical bills an insurance company pays) for a sample of 2010 health plans offering group and individual […]

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Health Care Economics 101 And The Supreme Court


May 23rd, 2012
 
by Jill Horwitz and Helen Levy

Editor’s note: Kathryn Gilbert, a J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School, is a coauthor of this post, in addition to Jill Horwitz and Helen Levy (photos and linked bios above). The case that will decide the fate of the most important piece of health care legislation in the past fifty years has, […]

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The Joplin, Missouri, Tornado: Director’s Cut; How a Foundation Has Been Helping


May 22nd, 2012
by Lee-Lee Prina

The tragedy that occurred in Joplin in May 2011 is back in the news as its anniversary rolls around. This week, President Obama delivered the commencement address to the 2012 graduating class of Joplin High School. The twister arrived just after the 2011 graduation ceremony, completely destroying the school. The new school is supposed to […]

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Six Strategic Variables In Predicting The Impact Of Accountable Care


May 22nd, 2012
 
by Mark Hiller and Bryan Smith

As Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) assess the financial implications of accountable care, six key variables deserve special attention. These variables are unique because they will shape both the accuracy of future financial projections and begin to set the broader strategy for the ACO. Variable 1: The Halo Effect. As IDNs shift utilization patterns of their […]

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Implementing Health Reform: The Premium Tax Credit Final Rule


May 20th, 2012
by Timothy Jost

At the heart of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care reforms are the premium tax credits, which will extend health insurance coverage to 18 million lower and middle-income Americans.  The idea of using tax credits to purchase private health insurance for the uninsured is one of a number of the historically conservative policy positions […]

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How The ACA Would Have Cut 2001-08 Out-Of-Pocket Spending Under Individual Coverage


May 18th, 2012
by Chris Fleming

Currently, individual health insurance typically has less generous benefits than employment-related insurance. However, under the Affordable Care Act, individual insurance will probably become more generous and more like employment-related insurance. For a Health Affairs May 16 Web First study, Steven Hill of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality compared out-of-pocket spending on health care […]

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Medicare Physician Payment: A Hollow Victory For The RUC


May 18th, 2012
by Brian Klepper

On May 9th, William Nickerson, Senior Judge in the Southern Maryland Federal District Court, issued a 15 page ruling against the six Augusta, GA primary care physician plaintiffs who challenged HHS’ and CMS’ longstanding relationship with the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC). The opinion did not weigh the substance of the […]

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Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias: What Are Foundations Doing to Increase Knowledge and Prevent Suffering?


May 18th, 2012
by Lee-Lee Prina

This week, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a national plan to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act, legislation that was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress (yes, you read that correctly!) in 2010 required HHS to come up with a plan, said […]

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Implementing Health Reform: State-Based, Partnership, And Federally Facilitated Exchanges


May 16th, 2012
by Timothy Jost

On May 16, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services moved three steps closer to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, which will happen on January 1, 2014.  First, HHS announced the award of 5 new level 1 exchange establishment grants (Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, and Tennessee) and one […]

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Remembering Larry Lewin: A Legacy Of Accomplishment And Mentorship


May 16th, 2012
by Robert Rubin

On April 29, 2012, four days after his 74th birthday, Larry Lewin (pictured below) died from complications of an underlying cancer. The funeral was May 1 and his wife, Marion asked me to speak briefly about his professional life. What follows is adapted from those remarks. It will be obvious that anyone who knew Larry […]

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Electronic Prescribing: Where We Stand And Lessons For Policymakers


May 16th, 2012
 
by Seth Joseph and Ken Majkowski

Editor’s note: For more on the adoption of electronic health systems, see these recent Health Affairs articles by Decker and coauthors, DesRoches and coauthors, and Hsiao and coauthors, which were discussed at an April 25 event. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009, healthcare professionals, researchers, analysts and policy makers have been […]

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The Latest Health Wonk Review


May 15th, 2012
by Chris Fleming

A belated tip of the hat to Hank Stern’s  Health Wonk Review at Insure Blog. Hank offers a nice collection of posts, including Diane Meier’s Health Affairs Blog post on Amy Berman’s Narrative Matters essay and overcoming barriers to palliative care. Happy reading!  

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Foundation Funding to Eliminate Food Deserts and to Improve Oral Health


May 15th, 2012
by Lee-Lee Prina

The May GrantWatch column in Health Affairs focuses on efforts of foundations around the United States to address the problems of ‘food deserts’—low-income communities where there are limited locations for residents to buy reasonably priced fresh fruits and vegetables. The topic of food deserts can be controversial in some quarters: Did you see the recent […]

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Early Lessons From A Shared Risk, Integrated Care Organization Serving A Commercial Population


May 15th, 2012
 
by Glenn Melnick and Lois Green

Background:  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ designation of 32 accountable care organizations (ACOs) across the U.S. to enroll Medicare fee-for-service patients beginning in 2012 makes ACOs an important feature of the national healthcare landscape–at least for publicly insured patients.However in 2007, Blue Shield of California, along with provider and employer partner organizations, began […]

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