Health Wonk Review

Welcome to the latest edition of the Health Wonk Review: your health policy headquarters. Let’s jump right in.

Upton Sinclair Society

Is Dr. Steven Nissen (of recent Avandia safety data fame) “campaigning to become FDA commissioner in a way that ‘makes him look craven and small'”? Or are the pharma industry’s PR heavies just out to get him? Roy Poses from Health Care Renewal ventures deep into the Jungle to suss it out.

News you can use

Michael Cannon of Cato@Liberty negotiated 50 percent off his MRI bill and suggests you try the same.

Planet Hospital founder Rudy Rupak tells you how to get top-quality, low-cost care overseas. I interviewed him for the Health Business Blog (audio, transcript)

Enthusiasm and good health are the keys to happiness, says Phil for Humanity, while MSSPNexus Blog’s Rita Schwab reassures us that the Department of Health and Human Services has a First Hours website to rely on in case of nuclear war or anthrax attack. If Armageddon is under way and you want to stay inside, you can continue browsing the web using Jos Bakker’s criteria to identify genuine Health 2.0 sites, especially those designed for professional use.


What is “the functional equivalent of a uterus”? The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007 doesn’t define the term, but it does bar implanting “the product of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology” into one. If the law passes, violators could face long jail sentences and crippling fines for such “cloning.” Sigrid Fry-Revere of Cato@Liberty hopes this Act and others like it face the functional equivalent of death.

Tom Lynch of Workers’ Comp Insider looks back fondly on the days of “tricky Dick,” and the birth of OSHA. (They sure don’t make Republican Presidents like they used to!)

The only thing worse than Wellpoint et al.’s dastardly behavior towards its California members is some legislators’ proposed response to it, according to Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters.

Insurance and payment policies

Hurt me Hank! InsureBlog takes a dim view of my home state’s efforts to achieve near-universal coverage.

Michael Tanner from Cato@Liberty would rather the Republican Presidential candidates spend more time debating health care and less on evolution. When they do, expect plenty of talk of socialism and HillaryCare.

Robert Laszewski at Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review thinks Giuliani’s plan for individual responsibility for health insurance will work fine –as long as the government picks up roughly 75 percent of the tab.

The individual insurance market can be frightening, says Jay Norris of Colorado Health Insurance Insider.

The ever-insightful Vince Kuraitis at e-CareManagement points out that Medicare’s challenges with primary care and disease management have a lot in common. (Could Pay for Procedure be a big part of the problem?)


Heart disease death rates dropped by half between 1980 and 2000, but for some reason much of the mainstream media didn’t pick up on it, says David Boaz from Cato@Liberty.

Healthcare Economist Jason Shafrin reports on the different approaches in place around the world to pay for treatment of End Stage Renal Disease. One interesting finding: higher spending is not associated with lower mortality.

Healthcare Informatics did a really lame job compiling its list of the top 100 Healthcare Informatics companies. Cardinal Health #1? SAIC #2? Henry Schein #3? CGI #4? GE, Philips and Siemens will be a little surprised by this list. Matthew Holt from The Health Care Blog gives the editors a well earned smackdown for their slapdash efforts.

The TB guy

Remember the guy with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis who managed to evade the Border Patrol? Chaitanya Indukuri from The Market Medicine enumerates a number of lessons we should learn from this experience. Meanwhile, David Harlow from HealthBlawg points out that quarantine is generally unnecessary –most really sick people should remain at liberty– but this case may be the exception that proves the rule.

The Health Wonk Review is taking a break for the 4th of July. The next edition will be hosted by Colorado Health Insurance Insider on July 12.

June 14, 2007

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