Health Wonk Review: Presidents' Day edition


With Presidents’ Day on Monday, school vacations in Massachusetts and New York, not to mention the throngs soaking it up at HIMSS, it’s relatively quiet in the healthcare wonkosphere this week. Nonetheless, I have managed to collect a few solid entries for your reading pleasure.

Workers’ Comp Insider has a “bone to pick” with former President Obama for not doing enough to fight for ObamaCare and educate the public about its merits. But the last few lines are telling as the post focuses on the cluelessness of the ‘dogs that caught the bus’ (i.e., Republicans). And the PS says it all.

Managed Care Matters notes that mayors lose their jobs when they do a poor job cleaning up after a snowstorm. That’s what may happen to the GOP at a national level with healthcare, except that healthcare is a lot more complex than snow removal. We shouldn’t expect much real progress on healthcare legislation anytime soon.

InsureBlog has been cheering for ObamaCare’s demise since before there was an ObamaCare, and its Running out the clock post continues on that theme. The new news: Repeal may not be needed if current trends continue, including Trump’s executive order that removes enforcement mechanisms for the individual mandate.

Health Affairs blog explains the Trump Administration’s Market Stabilization Proposed Rule, which is designed to keep the individual insurance markets viable for health plans while the GOP ponders what to do longer term. Colorado Health Insurance Insider explains the implications of the rule overall and for Colorado specifically. warns that ObamaCare supporters won’t go quietly into the night. The Families USA conference reminds us that ACA repeal isn’t inevitable and that grassroots communications strategies to preserve gains in coverage and access can be effective.

In my Health Business Blog post on the Cadillac Tax, I speculate that Congress may leave the unpopular levy in place rather than expending energy on the politically difficult initiative to replace it with a GOP version that does essentially the same thing with a different name.

As I understand it, it’s really easy to extract oil in Saudi Arabia because rich deposits are right near the surface. When it comes to locating conflicts of interest, Health Care Renewal now finds itself living in the equivalent of Saudi, where Trump Administration officials from the President on down are barely trying to conceal their conflicts. Today’s tale is: Making health care conflicts of interest great again. A consultant to Medicaid and simultaneously to Medicaid vendors for CMS?

The ever insightful Drug Channels analyzes data from Express Scripts to conclude that having the government (or maybe Mr. Trump himself?) take over drug price negotiations for Medicare wouldn’t actually reduce overall costs. There’s utilization management to take account of, not to mention the impact of drugs on overall healthcare costs.

Image courtesy of nirots at

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


February 23, 2017

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