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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

US health policy

Americans’ Views of Health Care Costs, Access, and Quality

Milbank Quarterly just published a first rate overview of public attitudes regarding a host of key health policy issues, written by Robert J. Blendon, Mollyann Brodie, John M. Benson, Drew E. Altman, and Tami Buhr. Check out 20 years of opinion polling on a national health plan. Click here for full free text. Bottom line: Read more »

One Cheer for the Federal Medicaid Commission Report

The final report issued by a federal commission formed one year ago to recommend changes to the federal Medicaid has received predictable reactions – praise from the right and hits from the left. Described in today’s New York Times, these are the key recommendations: Read more »

Surprise, Suprise: US Employers Agree -- All Should Pay for Worker Health Insurance

Well, whaddya know. Regular Healthly Blog readers know (because we keep telling you) that two thirds of MA residents think all employers should contribute to the cost of health insurance for their workers (65%, 67%, 69%, and yesterday's Blue Cross study -- 70%). Today we see a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a national survey of 2995 employers. Guess what? Despite fast-rising health care costs, employers that offer health benefits to their workers say they are committed to the current employer-based health insurance system. According to new survey findings, two-... Read more »

Insurers Propose Major Coverage Expansion

Robert Pear of New York Times reports on new insurance coverage expansion proposal from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national health insurance lobbying group. The plan includes major expansions in Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance. Favorable comments from Families USA's Ron Pollack indicates this was vetted with more than just insurers. The tide is rising for another national health reform wave: Read more »

"Shift Left" -- Andy Grove Takes on Health Care

Andy Grove is one of the smartest business minds in America. His 1996 book, Only the Paranoid Survive, is a business classic I have found deeply helpful. He introduced the concept of "strategic inflection points" (which I've heard Romney use several times) when the choice becomes: change the fundamental model and prosper or don't and die. Grove is now getting interested in health care, as today's Wall Street Journal column indicates. His ideas or often riveting, and whether he's right or wrong, he's definitely worth hearing.John McDonough PORTALS By LEE GOMESAndy Grove Enters New Post-... Read more »

Gruber on RAND and the Role of Co-Payments

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new report today on "The Role of Consumer Co-Payments for Health Care: Lessons from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment and Beyond." The report was written by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. Faithful followers of this blog and MA health reform know Gruber is a board member of the MA Connector Authority, the key reform entity now designing non-subsidized insurance plan offerings for release next summer. Because of this, his report especially demands attention. Read more »

FamsUSA Report: MA Premiums Rose 6.4X Faster than Earnings -- '00 to '06

New report out yesterday from FamiliesUSA -- click here to get full report. Here are press release excerpts: Health care premiums rose an estimated 6.4 times faster than earnings for MA working families from 2000 to 2006. In that six-year period, health care premiums rose by 69.2 percent, while median earnings rose by only 10.7 percent. Among the key findings: For family health coverage provided through the MA workplace, annual health insurance premiums in the 2000-2006 period rose from $7,341 to $12,419—an increase of $5,078, or 69.2 percent. Between 2000 and 2006, the median earnings of... Read more »

Health Affairs Joins the Blogosphere

If you think Healthy Blog is wonky, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Today, the esteemed national health policy journal, Health Affairs, joins the blogosphere with Health Affairs Blog. HA is the most respected journal in the nation devoted solely to health care policy. Their articles are peer reviewed and high level. Seems their blog will follow the same tack. Not for casual dippers. Welcome aboard! Read more »

Paul Levy, Single Payer and Our Mediocre System

Beth Israel Deaconess CEO Paul Levy is delighted we mentioned his blog here the other day. He also wrote regrets that comments on his site have been too non-critical. So let’s give him his wish for some non-adulatory comments. Here’s Paul’s recent post about what some consider a hot issue: should we create a Canadian-style single-payer health system (US or Massachusetts): http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2006/08/single-payer.html Read more »

Hope Springs Eternal -- Citizens Health Care Working Group Reports

Click here to get the executive summary of final report from the Citizens Health Care Working Group. The creation of the Group was authorized in 2003 by Congress in the Medicare Modernization Act. The Group has been working like crazy for 18 months to come up with consensus recommendations on reforming the US health care system. What's not to like? Nothing from what we see. Good process involving feedback from thousands of ordinary Americans. Solid recommendations for universal coverage, cost control, and quality improvement. Will it make a difference? Who the heck knows? They deserve... Read more »


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