Health Wonk Review

It’s a wonderful day in the wonkerhood, with so much health care policy fodder to chomp on. Let’s jump right in.

Regulating insurance rates and increasing competition in the health insurance industry could backfire. The Incidental Economist makes the point with a parable about a mother sending a son and daughter to buy a loaf of bread in the market. Will the seller cut the price when more buyers appear?

Big regional differences in health care utilization are much noted. Healthcare Economist analyzes a NEJM article that breaks the issue into two components: 1) rate of diagnosis and 2) intensity of treatment. Rate of diagnosis does matter.

Drug Channels reads the tea leaves and concludes that the creation of an Office of the Chairman at CVS Caremark means the company will break up as the architects of the deal fade away.

The new IRS 990s provide a wealth of information on not-for-profit finances, and Health Care Renewal is paying attention. For example, a major medical center pays 8 of its executives more than $1 million per year each and has major business dealings with companies owned by its board members.

Why is it so hard to devise a fix to Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula for physician pay? The Hospitalist Leader has some bad news for us: the US doesn’t have the money to remedy the problem.

Some states will expand Medicaid eligibility early under health reform. California Healthline is confident that the Golden State won’t be among them.

Uninsured patients don’t head to the emergency room more frequently than those with insurance, reports Colorado Health Insurance Insider. But Medicaid recipients tend to the use the ED a lot.

Managed Care Matters takes a speaker to task for overt bias in a presentation about health care reform. The speaker should have stuck to the facts and not inserted his view that people are uninsured by choice.

Wright on Health points out that even for people with health insurance health care is far from free. The percentage of people facing a high burden of out-of-pocket spending was about 20 percent as of 2006.

To make matters worse, even people with health insurance need to worry about rescission, right? Actually John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog says it’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Health reform includes a small employer tax credit. Health Affairs Blog lays out the details of implementation.

Planning to make money in the workers compensation business? Workers’ Comp Insider is not sanguine about near term prospects.

Healthcare Hacks thinks we can find a better measure of hospital quality than mortality rate.

One thing’s clear: nurse “presenteeism” is not good for patient care, says Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative.

The Apothecary frets that if insurers are required to measure Medical Loss Ratio on a per-plan rather than aggregate basis, we will see more insurance monopolies as less-established plans withdraw from various markets.

Medical Loss Ratio regulations stimulate a wider debate between “Constructionists,” who view insurance as a means of monetizing and pooling risk in a way that enables the payment of needed health care services and “Activists,” who favor using the monetizing and pooling of risk to enable the betterment of needed health care services. Disease Management Care Blog has the story.

My own Health Business Blog has a post on medical loss ratios too. I’m not afraid to explain why I like low medical loss ratios.

A Robin Hood strategy of stealing from the “rich” hospitals won’t work in Massachusetts, says InsureBlog.

OpenForum has some pragmatic ideas for those looking to control their company’s health insurance costs.

Genetic testing is coming as illustrated by recent events involving UC Berkeley and Walgreens. There are potential downsides, reports Nuts for Healthcare, but genetic testing also offers immediate benefit in individualized drug responses where drug treatments can be optimized to reduce wasteful spending and curb dangerous interactions.

Hartford Foundation reflects on the challenges and ethics involved in caring for adults with dementia who live in co-op housing and apartments.

Meaningful use conferences are a little more tolerable when held in Chocolate World, notes Healthcare Talent Transformation.

Upcoming host Tinker Ready carries news of a workshop dedicated to exploring the opportunities and challenges of designing, building and funding medical technologies for the developing world.

21 thoughts on “Health Wonk Review”

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  4. A comment on the 8 executives with salaries of a million or more: is there not public data available from the Internet to read these reports to expose the executives and their overabundant salaries?

  5. Many in the Professional Medical community have been waiting for this pathway.
    But information with-out knowledge can be dangerous
    Surely you wouldn’t want a home Nuclear bomb manual.

    Like many other finding in healthcare many will oppose these results.
    Sometimes there are good reason
    for non disclosure.
    Politics always has a price.

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  11. I am really thankful to you guys for sharing this information with us….will be looking forward to more of those!!

  12. Everyone tries to get the most out of a situation and when people feel sick, they tend to do whatever they can to take advantage of the medical system.

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