Welcome to the February 7, 2008 edition of the Health Wonk Review. We have some serious wonkery on tap today, so lap it up.
On the policy front:
Bush’s jab at “junk medical lawsuits” in the State of the Union is itself junk, says New York Personal Injury Law Blog. Bush doesn’t cite any evidence because there isn’t any.
Individual mandates get a thumbs down from GoozNews, who notes that Clinton is for them and Obama against. Colorado Health Insurance Insider isn’t backing Clinton, but likes her plans for mandate enforcement.
Though he’s not saying so anymore, Huckabee thinks fixing the system “is as simple as getting smokers to put their butts down and fat people to pick theirs up,” according to the Health Affairs blog. In the keep on tokin’ category, Paul would abolish HMOs, sprinkle some tax breaks around for cancer patients and the terminally ill, and relax restrictions on marijuana, says LiveSmarter. Not sure how these would-be-leaders of the free world feel about alternative medicine –which doesn’t cost too much, at least– but Evolved says homeopathy’s three main tenets: Like Cures Like, Minimal Dose, and The Single Remedy are bunkum.
HealthCare Vox expects technology, marketing and social media firms to exert more influence on health care reform than politicians.
Neil Versel’s Healthcare IT Blog notes that even though the US government isn’t putting much money into achieving health IT interoperability at home, that hasn’t stopped it from funding such initiatives in Rwanda.
Insurance for individuals:
Just because there’s no mandate doesn’t mean foregoing health insurance is a good idea. Money Blue Book suggests that even basic coverage can fend off bankruptcy.
What does $7000 look like to you? To Brass and Ivory it’s four months’ of daily self-injectable meds that she has to pay for herself, even though she has insurance. And by the way the drug might not even retard the progression of her MS.
Consumers Health Insurance Blog suggests reformers provide credit for prior coverage and better options when moving from group to individual insurance.
Insurance company CEO’s may not be brilliant, but you at least have to admire their propagandists. Health Care Renewal makes the case.
Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers!
If there’s any entity that can do something about health care costs in this country, it’s probably Wal-Mart. Health Populi explores Wal-Mart’s potential to reshape the PBM industry. Drug Channels thinks there are major implications for retail pharmacy, too.
If Wal-Mart’s too impersonal for your tastes, maybe Carol, an online retail health care marketplace, will be a little more comfy. The Health Care Blog’s Matthew Holt interviews the CEO.
Let go your long-held beliefs:
Incentives often have perverse effects, especially in health care, says TrustedAdvisor. Speaking of incentives, Disease Management Care blog asserts that Vytorin’s commercial success is partly due to payers focusing on short-term HEDIS rates rather than important population-based measures, e.g., heart attack reduction.
The Nourisher lets on that modern bread making techniques are killing us and Health Business Blog points out the dangers of CT scans for kids and what to do about it. But, always looking on the bright side, Workers’ Comp Insider reassures us that one can fall from floor 47 and live to tell the tale.
—February 7, 2008