Category: Policy and politics

#CareTalk: Good riddance to 2017

December 29th, 2017 by

Let’s face it, 2017 was not a great year for healthcare policy. In this last edition of 2017, CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll and I look back on the worst of the worst and the best of the worst, and look forward with hope to 2018.


(0:21) What were the best and worst things to happen in healthcare policy this year?

(3:05) Who should be afraid of Amazon’s entrance into healthcare?

(5:15) Are the hospital mergers a good or bad thing? Do they matter?

(6:41) Is there hope for healthcare policy in 2018?

(9:01) Does the election of Doug Jones for the US senate have any broader implications in the US?

(9:43) Will the Apple watch impact healthcare or is it all hype?

(10:25) David and John discuss their healthcare hopes for 2018.

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

CHIPping away at the social contract

December 20th, 2017 by
And then there were none

Long before the arrival of the Obama Administration with its explicit goal of expanding health insurance coverage to everyone, the country had achieved consensus on the need to insure all children. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), first enacted in 1997, enables relatively low income families who don’t qualify for Medicaid to get low cost, high quality insurance for their kids.

Congress let funding for the program expire at the end of September. CMS and the states have been scrambling to shift other funds around to keep the program going. But time is now running out.

Alabama looks to be the first state that will have to close its CHIP program, according to Kaiser Health News. Seven thousand kids will be tossed off on January 1 (Happy New Year!) and tens of thousands more would exit a month later. Within a few months, all 9 million CHIP-covered kids across the US will be gone.

CHIP has had a dramatic effect in lower income states like Alabama, where the childhood uninsured rate dropped from 20 percent in 1997 to under 3 percent in 2015. Prior political fighting over CHIP funding back in 2004 led to long-lasting damage to the program, and we can expect the same or worse this time.

I cheered the election of Doug Jones in Alabama, and find it notable that his first pronouncement was a plea to Congress to fund CHIP even before he is seated. If everyone looked out for their constituents the way Doug does, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.