Health Wonk Review: Happy 10th anniversary edition

10 years old and still hitting the mark
10 years old and still hitting the mark

The Health Business Blog turns 10 years old this weekend, so I thought I’d celebrate by hosting the Health Wonk Review. And some fine submissions have come in.

Is that the best you could do? I’m no lawyer, but King v. Burwell, which could overturn ObamaCare subsidies in states that lack their own exchanges, is ridiculous on its face. Of course Congress didn’t intend to deprive people of subsidies based on whether their exchange was state or federal. Managed Care Matters does a nice job of laying out just how lame the plaintiffs are. If they were harmed by ObamaCare it’s hard to see how, and they are ignorant of the law to boot.

Insurance Co-Ops were a late-in-the-day add to the Affordable Care Act, a sop to those who wanted but did not get a so-called public option. It’s awfully hard to start up an insurance company as some of the Co-Ops are demonstrating. InsureBlog says we told you so.

Pricey, pricey, pricey. High cost regions tend to stay that way for a long time, even when controlling for factors such as health status and price variation. Healthcare Economist says that means there are real differences in practice patterns.

Sell to the masses and dine with the classes. A Catholic Health Care CEO sues for defamation after a union advertises his $2.2 million compensation package. Health Care Renewal struggles to understand how an organization that focuses on serving the poor could be comfortable with how the CEO is behaving.

Risk and uncertainty will replace measurement and outcomes as the basis for future healthcare reform. So says the Population Health Blog as it examines the links between the Information Age, health IT, biology, statistics and quantum mechanics.

Speaking of the future, Workers’ Comp Insider suggests a seismic shift in the century-old workers comp system but notes that workers comp has not exactly been a trailblazer.

It’s nice to find an optimistic wonk, but we’ve got one right here at Health System Ed, which marvels about the ONC’s national meeting and its progress on interoperability. But don’t worry, the post includes a dose of skepticism as well.

Some people will do anything to avoid taxes, gain frequent flyer miles and now, avoid ObamaCare. But Colorado Health Insurance Insider shows us why the “easy” ways to game ObamaCare may just turn out to be complex and costly after all.

It says something when a blogger apologizes for a submission that is especially wonky, but if you can make it through Health Affairs Blog’s three-part series on the CMS final 2016 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters rule and final 2016 Letter to Issuers in the federal exchange you can’t help but learn something.

Like most providers, The Hospital Leader is dismissive of patient experience scores, confident that patients only respond to big TVs, tasty food and swanky lobbies. And yet a well designed study shows that this quite common opinion is unjustified.

What’s the highest margin activity in the hospital? Becker’s Hospital CFO blog by Copley Raff has the answer: fundraising.  Ka-ching!

Last and likely least, here’s one from my own Health Business Blog. The Pfizer acquisition of Hospira –explained by most observers as Pfizer’s way to get into generics– is really about Pfizer getting back into the “me-too” drug business that was the foundation of its glory days.

Thanks for reading!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

February 26, 2015

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