Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Downfall of AIG

Those of you outside of Washington, DC likely missed the Washington Post's three-part investigation of the events leading to the downfall of AIG.It makes for good holiday reading. I highly recommend the series to you.Knowing the culture at AIG from many years of activity with the company and its leadership, I can tell you the story certainly has the culture right.While this is not a health care

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"A Handshake That Made Health Care History"--A Boston Globe Expose: A "Quiet Deal" Between Mass Blue Cross and Boston's Most Powerful Hospitals

In a lengthy expose entitled, "A Hand Shake That Made Health Care History," the Boston Globe details what it called a "gentleman's agreement that accelerated a health care cost crisis" in Massachusetts. The reported deal was between Partners Health Care, the state's biggest health care provider, and Massachusetts Blue Cross, the largest state insurer.The article charges that the agreement all but

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CBO to Health Care Reformers: Naive Policy Makers Need Not Apply

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released two comprehensive papers detailing the policy and financial options for health care reform: Key Issues in Analyzing Major Health Insurance Proposals and Budget Options, Volume I: Health Care.I can't overestimate the importance of these documents to health care reform.I recently did a post as sort of an open letter to the CBO: To the Congressional

Friday, December 19, 2008

Conservatives Need to Be Part of Health care Reform

Stuart Butler, Vice President of Domestic Policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation has an op-ed in Thursday’s Washington Times, “Four Steps Can Heal Health Care.”He makes some very valuable points and proposes four steps toward reforming the health care system most people—liberals and conservatives—could agree on:Making sure every working family has access to an affordable private health

Thursday, December 18, 2008

“Irrational Exuberance” and Health Care Reform—Slow Down!!!

I think Pete Stark has it right. In a story in The Hill, Stark calls for waiting until later in 2009 or 2010 to move on a big health care reform proposal. The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair also points out that there are a number of "deferred maintenance" issues that will need to be dealt with sooner—SCHIP renewal, the upcoming Medicare physician fee cuts, and the pending health

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Expanding Coverage Without Increasing Health Care Spending: Dartmouth Institute White Paper Recommends Course for the Obama Administration"

Once again the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice has provided a valuable contribution to our health care reform discussion with their new paper, "Improving Quality and Curbing Health Care Spending: Opportunities for the Congress and the Obama Administration."In my mind the authors made two critical points:We can insure everyone without dramatically increasing national

Who's The Guy Sitting Next to You? The Obama Health Care Reform Parties and Unexpected Guests

The incoming Obama administration is getting a quick start toward health care reform.By the end of the year, they anticipate having thousands of health care discussions in homes, businesses, coffee shops, and the like.About everyone, including the Obama health care team, believe Hillary Clinton's 1993 top-down health care reform process was a big mistake. The new folks don’t intend to make that

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Best Way to Spend the Coming Federal Health IT Money: An Open Letter to the Obama Health Team

An Open Letter to the Obama Health TeamBy David C. Kibbe & Brian KlepperIt seems likely that the Obama administration and Congress will spend a significant amount on health IT by attaching it as a first-order priority to the fiscal stimulus package. We take the President-elect at his word when he recently said:“...we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Can We Accomplish Health Care Reform If Everyone Ends Up Getting More?

I doubt anyone would disagree with the statement that America’s health care costs are too high, continue to grow at an unsustainable rate, and reform is critical to control costs, get everyone covered, and improve quality.In the wake of the election, I see one positive and magnanimous press release after another coming from the health care special interests. The press is full of daily stories

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Likely Health Care Reform Will Not Reform the American Health Care System

Remember those Archway "Windmill Cookies?" They were a favorite when I was growing up.Robert Pear's article in the New York Times this weekend reminded me of that treat my mother used to buy for us kids. His article also illustrated the crisis many families are facing in what looks like it will be the worst recession of our lifetimes.Archway was a great American company--it was in business for 72

Monday, December 1, 2008

We Can Save 30% By Getting Rid of the Waste in the U.S. Health Care System—Sounds Like "Groundhog Day" To Me

As we begin the health care reform discussion in earnest, many are pointing out all of the waste in the system and the need to research what works best, provide the incentives to do it, manage the big spenders’ chronic care better, make better use of heath information technology, and encourage wellness and prevention.One of the disadvantages of being at this for more than 20 years is that I feel